Australia discusses future fuels, however, a new paper neither includes policies to make purchasing an EV more affordable nor a phase-out plan for fossil fuel vehicles. Instead, the government wants to focus on building charging and hydrogen infrastructure.
Critics of the paper have denigrated it as being a “nothing” paper, that has little effective action, instead aiming to “encourage” businesses to switch to emissions-free fleets and giving Australians “access to the right information to help them make informed choices”. The byline of “Powering Choice” says much. Even further, the title page also adds: “Supporting economic growth and job creation for all Australians”. The lack of technological development and environmental protection behind the thought is apparent from the cover already.
A large focus is given to consumer choice, rather than environmental friendliness. This odd prioritization is also reflected by emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, who said the government’s policy was based on the principle people should be empowered to make decisions about new technologies. His statement: “Australians should be able to choose the type of car they drive.”
In focusing on allowing consumers to choose the electrification path through purchasing behavior, little is expected to come of the initiative. The Electric Vehicle Council said the discussion paper was a “flaccid, do-nothing document”. This is also mirrored by Richie Merzian, director of climate and energy programs Australia Institute: “This is a climate policy that will ensure emissions continue to rise”.
Interestingly enough, the paper leaked last December and found similar criticism. The chief executive of the Electric Vehicle Council, Behyad Jafari, said the leaked document showed the industry had been working with the federal government on the strategy over the past 18 months for no result. “It’s been pretty clear that their ambition has been to end up with a paper that says ‘EV strategy’ on it and now they have one. But there is nothing in there.”
As the paper stands, it seems the Australian government cares little for saving their environment. The paper does include measures to install charging infrastructure as well as hydrogen fuelling stations, however it lacks any specifics here too. The idea is to eliminate entry barriers for the technology, here focusing on range anxiety, so that commercial investment will take off. At least a consultation round is available for the paper until April – perhaps it will grow some teeth by then.
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