24 April 2023

Albanese Government needs to put the foot down on EV transition

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
Tesla car

The Tesla Model 3. Tesla is the most popular EV brand in the ACT but is still out of the reach of many. Photo: James Coleman.

Going electric is the road ahead for Australian motorists. That much is clear.

Particularly here in the ACT, which leads the nation in electric vehicle take-up and where registrations doubled between November 2021 and November 2022, and 9.5 per cent of all new cars are EVs.

READ ALSO The new Lexus RX is so refined, you (almost) don’t care about all the beeping

Nationally, EVs represented only 3.8 per cent of all new vehicle sales in 2022, well below the global average of 12 to 14 per cent.

But while many of us would love to own an EV, cost and a lack of supply remain barriers.

This is why the industry, motoring associations and enthusiasts welcomed the election of a Labor Government that would finally lift the roadblocks to Australia being able to drive into the future with adequate charging infrastructure and a diverse supply of EVs that would accelerate the transition away from the internal combustion engine.

Disappointingly, it has taken the Albanese Government nearly a year to deliver its Electric Vehicle Strategy, which points Australia in the right direction but doesn’t necessarily take us further than the previous laggards.

We will get new fuel emissions standards, which the industry says is crucial for car makers to send a proper range of new models here to provide greater choice, lower prices and develop a genuine market.

But despite nine years in opposition and a round of consultation on the Strategy, Labor will again talk to stakeholders before designing the standard it will legislate on, hopefully before the end of the year.

Australia has been an outlier on emissions standards and it remains unclear just how robust they will be, compared with the Europeans and the new US scheme which aims for EVs to be about two-thirds of new car sales in 2032.

Anything less will be seen as caving in to special interests that probably have been laying down a few speed bumps to delay change as much as possible.

The government has also been rightly criticised for not setting any targets for EV take-up, and there will be no new incentives to buy EVs, instead promising to work with states and territories for “nationally consistent principles to guide further incentives to support sustained demand across the nation over time”.

There will be no advance on already announced initiatives such as tax cuts and plans for a national charging network, and the strategy does not address trucks or heavy commercial vehicles.

So while we are supposed to accept the urgency of reducing greenhouse emissions to avert climate catastrophe, the government seems content to amble towards a transition that will be of immense importance, given transport is Australia’s third-largest – and fastest-growing – source of emissions and cars produce about half of these.

Whenever you read that a strategy “sets a vision”, it can only raise doubts about its commitment.

In contrast, the EU will ban the sale of internal combustion engine cars from 2035, although some combustion engines running on e-fuels can be sold beyond 2035.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen says the strategy will “provide greater choice for Australians to drive cars that are cleaner and cheaper to run”.

“In other countries, there’s a much bigger range of electric vehicles available for people,” he said.

“We want people of all walks of life, regardless of their income, to have the chance to consider buying an electric vehicle.”

READ ALSO Cyber strategy enters next phase after 280 submissions to discussion paper

The government needs to do more to live up to its own rhetoric.

It cannot rely on simply adjusting settings and hoping the market responds. It will require policy interventions, particularly if carmakers continue to focus on luxury models instead of turning to cheaper, mass-produced vehicles that will be within reach of average consumers.

Without clear targets for EV take-up and a transition timeline, Australian motorists wanting to make the switch will continue to be frustrated and the emission cuts we need to make will continue to fall short.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

There is no such thing as a repairable write off regards EVs. Even a small bingle would result in an EV being given the write off by insurers. Why? Because they don’t know if the battery has been damaged. So that two tonnes of battery back and metal has not been on this earth long enough to recoup the carbon offset.



Capital Retro10:46 am 28 Apr 23

I was down at Erindale Shops this morning and noticed the ACT government container deposit scheme facility belching smoke and fumes from a fossil fuel generator because the sun isn’t shining to energise its solar panels.

What a joke.

Capital Retro6:24 am 02 May 23

Same thing yesterday morning (Monday). Apparently solar panels don’t work when the sun isn’t shining.

@Capital Retro
Yet those who have solar power in their home are still experiencing lower power bills than those just reliant on the grid, CR. Go figure!

Capital Retro10:36 am 27 Apr 23

Hey chewy14, someone has challenged your irrefutable claims about climate change and the emerging EV technology. You have got to call him out, mate.

@Capital Retro
Hey, CR, where is the challenge? Seems like the article is criticising the lack of action by the Albanese govt in the EV/climate change space. So do you actually have a point to make?

Capital Retro10:43 am 28 Apr 23

I see you are rostered on today to keep the climate crisis myth alive.

@Capital Retro
Well someone has to ensure the fantasies you denialists spread don’t go unchallenged, CR

Capital Retro6:27 am 02 May 23

The source of the negative report was your beloved ABC, JS.

Are you going to challenge them too?

@Capital Retro
LOL … I’ve seen you quote far more from my (supposed) “beloved” ABC than I, CR.

Nevertheless, I did read the ABC article quoted below, and noted:
“Longer-term, Mr Buckley said the switch to electric vehicles would help stabilise Australia’s power system by providing what amounted to a giant battery spread out across the country.”

So, how does that reconcile with your assertion that the article “challenged your (chewy14’s) irrefutable claims about climate change and the emerging EV technology”?

Then only negativity about the report seems to be your blinkered view of it, CR.

There is a trillion reasons why EVs are a pointless pursuit


I’m not a negative nellie, rather unless its feasible from an engineering point of view, the EV mirage is just that – a form of greenwahsed nonsense.

The massive cost to implement green ideology , and to be really blunt – no one has conclusively proven scientifically that athropological climate change is a run away problem that could cripple or end life on earth.

Democracy demands debating such a thing – it appears “climate change” is a trojan horse to cripple our economy. Creating a price on carbon will shut down a lot of economic activity, but it appears that is the plan.

Deluded seems to be a strong word, but if you have a belief in what is in effect a mirage, but consider it real, what else would you label it? People are free to believe what they want, but seriously,make it worth your while…..

Time for the adults ot be in charge again.

GrumpyGrandpa9:06 pm 21 Apr 23

I like the concept of an EV but….I think it’s all smoke and mirrors.

The problem is there is a lot of environmental hype about EV carbon cost, but rarely do we see any acknowledgement of the “cost” of their manufacturing; both carbon and financial.

The way I see it, EV’s are like mobile phones. Once their built-in battery starts to loose it’s capacity, they are pretty much worthless.

I think the early adopters are going to end up like those who jumped onto “Beta” videotapes, rather than VHS.

I’ll wait until either batteries are longer lasting or replaceable.

“The way I see it, EV’s are like mobile phones. Once their built-in battery starts to loose it’s capacity, they are pretty much worthless”

Grumpy Grandpa’s, this is simply wrong.

“I’ll wait until either batteries are longer lasting or replaceable.”

The batteries are already both long lasting, replaceable and recycleable. And the technology improves every year.

There’s legitimate reasons to not want to buy an EV right now, but these aren’t any of them.

HiddenDragon8:02 pm 21 Apr 23

The Europeans are very good at posturing on climate change initiatives until, as we have seen recently, they get bitten on the backside by reality, and there is already dissension within the EU on the 2035 ban – 12 years is plenty of time for back-sliding and further carve outs.

The 2032 US target, and the associated emissions standards, will last until a Republican next occupies the Oval Office.

The Albanese government needs to work out what it is going to do about replacing fuel excise revenues before it starts deploying larger carrots and sticks to get more punters into EVs.

The biggest problem I can see with EVs is that the EV you buy today will be worthless as a trade-in in a few years from now, when the technology will see increased range, shorter charging times, little to no battery degradation and much cheaper. The only and most expensive EV ute (woefully inadequate for anything other than carrying a load of feathers) is only $3000 cheaper than the on road cost of a Ford Ranger Raptor.

Bob the impala4:39 pm 21 Apr 23

So, you are not an early adopter. Fine. Hold on to your ICE a little longer then change for a better EV. Many people have changed already, many more will. No-one asked you personally to be the first.

It’s a fact of life that early adopters pay premium prices. I bought a new car 18 months ago. I freely admit I didn’t go EV because of cost … but the rate at which they are coming down in price, I think my next one will be an EV or at least a hybrid.

There will be no exponential transition to EVs at their current prices. The government is encouraging Leasing arrangements for EVs, but that won’t help Granny May down the street or a burger flipping Uni student deciding on whether to pay rent or eating

Bob the impala4:37 pm 21 Apr 23

How many cars are normally purchased by people otherwise choosing between renting or eating?

Try a rational example, while explaining how EVs differ in price profile from a mass of other cars one sees daily on the roads.

Bob the impala – the working poor are not going to purchase EVs. That’s not a derogatory statement against people less fortunate than you – it’s a fact

Bob the impala9:29 am 27 Apr 23

Futureproof, so what was the point of your initial comment? Any transition to EVs will be via exactly the people who purchase vehicles now, up and down the price range, not via people who do not buy vehicles now.

There are very many cars on the road in Canberra more expensive than the common EVs, and even very expensive EVs are priced similarly to their ICE siblings. Wait for the second hand market to get moving, when people realise that the battery does not in fact fall of a cliff after eight years, while the engine is far more reliable and thus lower maintenance risk.

Or the reality that EVs are substantially heavier than normal cars….

EVs are impractical for all but dense urban environments.

EVs also need electrical infrastructure, so an EV really chains people to the grid – whereas an ICE with long range tanks can go long distances, through deep water tow a boat a decent distance, in short, EVs remove freedom of movement.

And…drum roll…..there appears to be zero scientific proof of catastrophic anthopological climate change…..and in a puff of logic, the “reason” for EVs disappears …..


“there appears to be zero scientific proof of catastrophic anthopological (sic) climate change”
Really, stevew77? You don’t sound too convinced when you use the word “appears”.

Perhaps you can point us to the published scientific articles, tested and peer reviewed, that debunks the myriad of published scientific articles, tested and peer reviewed, which confirm that anthropogenic (I think that’s what you meant) climate change is a reality.

Capital Retro9:09 am 28 Apr 23

It’s never been tested and proven in a laboratory – just computer modelled.

Bob the impala10:26 am 29 Apr 23

That old chestnut Capital Retro? Into which laboratory were you planning to put Earth? You will need a second identical planet as a control.

Do you think Black Holes exist? Our knowledge of them relies on observation, theory, and modelling yet we know that without them then the cosmos would not be as it is.

We already have proven the effects of greenhouse gasses (guess how they got their name) and mapped inputs and consequential changes. It is pretty straightforward for 80% of Australians and for 99% of the relevant scientists.

Capital Retro8:51 am 02 May 23

Black holes certainly exist where taxpayers are subsidising part-time renewables, Bob the impaler.

EVs have their place. They remove emissions from the city climate to the locations of electricity production. However, they are not a silver bullet. The lifecycle emissions of evs, including manufacturing and recycling basically nulls out any advantages of ICE vehicles.
Add to that the potentially catastrophic fires that can develop in case of battery failure tells me that we have to move carefully.
Additionally, i doubt that the power grid can handle the demands of large numbers of evs being connected for charging in the evening.

@Hest Lars
“… potentially catastrophic fires that can develop in case of battery failure tells me that we have to move carefully.”
I assume you carry a mobile phone, Hest Lars? They use the same lithium-ion battery as an EV – albeit a smaller version. Nevertheless, people have been killed from exploding mobile phones – yet over 80% of Australians carry a mobile phone. Go figure.

@justsaying. There are a few differences between ev batteries and handheld device batteries. First is the size, which during a thermal runaway can cause a chain reaction of cells igniting each other and potentially vehicles parked next to the one on fire. This happening in a car park underneath highrise, or on a ferrycan have severe effects.
Second, a car crash or other hard impact can damage the battery and cause it to ignite at a later srage. The forces thst can act on car batteries are significantly larger than on handheld devices. Ev manufacturers are however improving the protection on batteries for impact damage.

Don’t press the accelerator too hard on EV adoption, as the NEM transition may not keep up. Over the past 12 months from today, the NEM fuel mix summary shows electricity generation was 71% from fossil fuels. Over the past 12 months from today the NEM was supplied by 14% wind, 6% solar and 9% hydro. If everyone could switch to an EV tomorrow, many of those tailpipe emissions would just become power station emissions.

Bob the impala2:18 pm 21 Apr 23

… which would improve emissions. Look it up, nobody. An EV charged from a coal-fired power station is more efficient than an ICE. Emission in the intermediate phase is no impediment to transition to all or mostly renewables.

Capital Retro3:28 pm 21 Apr 23

So why are the coal-fired power stations being shut down?

Bob the impala4:25 pm 21 Apr 23

It would be improper of me to be discourteous to you, Capital Retro.

The EV scam will fall over when base-load electricity capacity falls with the closure of the coal-fired generators and the enormous amount of power required to charge an EV becomes apparent. A small EV battery requires 20 kilowatt hours of power. The average house uses less than 2 kilowatt hours of power per day. Plugging in an EV to charge is like adding another 10 houses to the electricity grid. Or more, if it’s a larger EV battery, or a rapid charger. Timing is an issue, too. Most EVs will be charged at night, when the sun isn’t shining, and the wind has dropped. And, good luck selling your second hand EV when it’s 10 years old (the average age of an Australian car) and the battery has met its use-by date.

The battery size is irrelevant, what matters is how much energy is required for the average day’s driving. The average Australian passenger car drives 30 km/day. That is about 5 kWh/day with current EV efficiency.

The average ACT household consumes 17.5 kWh/day. So it’s not “adding another 10 houses”, it’s adding another one-third of a house.

There does need to eventually be incentives for workplace / CBD parking charging so that more charging can be shifted to solar surplus times, though.

Capital Retro1:03 pm 21 Apr 23

Thirty kms. a day is average Canberra EV use? That’s about 10K in ten years when the battery is clapped out and the vehicle will be worthless. If the EV costs $100k that means depreciation is costing $30 a day!

Virtue signaling costs!

30 km/day is average Australian passenger car use per the ABS. That’s 110,000km in ten years, not 10K. There’s plenty of EVs that have gone a lot further than that without the battery being “clapped out”.

Yep…just like would you buy a car with a 10L tank

Capital Retro8:46 am 27 Apr 23

I made an error, caf and thanks for pointing it out courteously. Others would have called me all sorts of names. I meant to say 10K kilometres a year.

7 years us the average, but the battery starts degrading before that. Batteries degrade with each charge and discharge. I think a battery replacement for the Model S costs somewhere in the realm of $12,000-$15,500 USD.

EVs fail on so many logic levels.

I have driven cars up to 25 years old. (And that one was still running well and looked great.) 7 years is nothing. My present car is older than 7 years and running well.

When I bought my new car about 18 months ago, my 10yo ICE trade-in was (reasonably) valued at $6,000. A week before hand over the auto transmission died and cost was estimated at $5,000 – so I got $1,000 trade in. I therefore conclude that, in my experience, all ICE vehicles will have an auto transmission failure after 10 years.

Totally illogical, right? Yes, just as illogical as your ‘chicken little’ scarey story on battery replacement in EVs.

Read this article from carsguide on EV batteries https://www.carsguide.com.au/ev/advice/what-is-the-lifespan-of-an-electric-car-battery-86149
and actually inform yourself (radical concept I know).

As for cost? Sure batteries are expensive if you want to cherry pick. Why don’t you compare the total cost of ownership costs bewteen an EV and ICE over the life of a battery for an EV – you know, petrol V electricity costs, regular servicing of ICEs V not much needs servicing in an EV, etc.?

No chicken little here, you full well know that the life span of a battery is about 7 years.

I have a 20 year old subaru Forester with nearly half a million km on it, and its manual. Sorry to hear about the gearbox failure, but one experience doesnt define ICE reliability.

Most cars are expensive to maintain, the point is that after about 7 years, for an EV you have a significant cost.

A friend bought an EV, I suggested he buy a petrol gennie to stick in the boot, and he looked at me like id just pooped on a sacrificial altar, but most people i think have no idea about the true costs of an EV. The downside of being an Engineer is you dig deep into the tech…..

This whole ides is misguided. EV’s aren’t good for the environment, they’re good for YOUR (local) environment. You’re just outsourcing your pollution to the third world.

Nickel, Cobalt and Lithium production for EV batteries wreaks social and envoronmental havoc on a large part of the world including extreme water depletion in the South American “lithium triangle” (it takes around 2 million tonnes of water to produce a tonne of lithium – enough for about 100 EV batteries).

So go get an EV if you want to drive fast, save on fuel costs, or virtue signal your green credentials to other superficial/misguided fairweather environmentalists, but to buy one and think you’re doing something good for the environment is deluded.

And do so knowing that you’re directly contributing to the derstruction of the environment, local communities and wildlife in Congo, China, Mongolia, Cuba, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.

Non-petroluem based ICE fuels like Biodiesel seem like a better sustainable and responsible alternative but the government makes too much easy money from petrol companies to rock that boat.

Bob the impala2:01 pm 21 Apr 23

Thanks for the oil company talking points, DJ DJ, misrepresenting sources and production of lithium, not to mention apparently wanting to deny income and innovation to people in other countries. Biodiesel just keeps inefficient ICE running longer, consuming oil, at cost to other options for useful agriculture.

To take just your early point, it takes up to 2 million *litres* (not tonnes) of water for a tonne of lithium using the brining process. That is 2 thousand tonnes, not 2 million, with other non-crushing processes using down to 400 kL. You also ignore lithium recycling and industrial process development. Up to 95% of lithium batteries can be recycled to build new batteries although at the moment we are doing only 10% so opportunities are considerable, especially when you compare that we recycle 99% of lead-acid batteries.

You also completely fail to mention that about half the world’s lithium production is currently sourced from Australia (third world?), mining (not brining) spodumene from pegmatite deposits. Of the other countries you list, only China and Chile provide significant current production, and at least one Australian company is investing in more advanced processes in Chile which holds the largest known reserves. They won’t be alone.

I agree.
Hydrogen would be another renewable and low emission energy source that would be very well suited for the australian distances and climate. While further research and development is needed, we could become frontrunners on that

Hest Lars, I would be a lot more keen to buy a hydrogen powered car than an electric one.
I would though meanwhile, if I were planning to buy a new car (I’m not at present) look at hybrid cars. Enough electric power for the local trips (when not walking, cycling, or catching a bus; which are my first preferences), but then petrol for the long trips.

Capital Retro7:07 am 02 May 23

Chile has gone down the Bolivian path and nationalised all lithium extraction so you can write it off as major producer.


Capital Retro9:02 am 21 Apr 23

Existing Tesla owners must be feeling nervous after the latest financial report from Tesla who are continuing to slash prices. If they fail the whole EV fad will follow.


EV purchases are increasing exponentially.

We know you hate EVs but to ignore the reality that they will dominate the car market within the next decade is off this planet.

Capital Retro10:12 am 21 Apr 23

I’m glad you’re not my financial advisor.

I’m glad you’re not mine.

CR in 1900:

“ah, these fancy automobiles will never catch on, just look at the enormous risk in driving around with a tank of petroleum distillate. They’re literal bombs on wheels.

Give me a trusty, reliable horse and cart any day”.

Capital Retro1:10 pm 21 Apr 23

Yeah, I read that. Lots of green “visualizing”. I guess this is the same thing as climate scientists using “modeling”.

A poker machine addict once told me that “visualizing a huge jackpot” was the sole reason he kept playing them, ruining his life in the process.

BTW chewy, that link says the dreamers who run it are looking for more dreamers. They are in Canada. Why don’t you give it a go?

Capital Retro1:16 pm 21 Apr 23

You have flogged that analogy like a dead horse, chewy.

Sure, there was apprehension about the new fangled petrol cars but people like Henry Ford risked their own money to do it.

Tesla would not have got as far as it has without massive taxpayer funded subsidies and even now they are still getting them to try and reduce the sale price to remain in business.

You really are off this planet. I can give you dozens of links showing you the growth in EV sales and where the market is going but as we all know, you don’t believe anything that doesn’t support your predetermined view.

I wonder how you’ll continue to rationalise your position as the trend continues. It’ll be funny to watch you tie yourself in knots.

Did you recently see the parking garage collapse in new York city? Doesn’t look likely any EVs as nothing caught fire. Had those all been EV’s it would have been a disaster.

The safety risks for EV’s are too great and don’t give the same benefit.
Petrol cars could easily be twice as efficient.

Wow – talk about drawing a conclusion from a strawman argument.
“Doesn’t look likely any EVs as nothing caught fire.” By all means, express your disapproval of EVs, but don’t make up stories to justify your disapproval.

The news report I saw specifically said there were a number of electric vehicles within the garage – but nice try. EV’s don’t spontaneously combust when something happens, and neither do ICE vehicles. But stats do show that ICE vehicles are something like 10x more likely to catch fire per km travelled than an EV. Or per 100k vehicles sold, there are 1,529 ICE vehicles fires, yet only 25 EV fires per 100k vehicles.

devils_advocate7:42 am 21 Apr 23

Seems selfish to poison the environment with harmful rare earths batteries just to save a few bucks on petrol

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.