21 July 2022

Federal Labor should plug into ACT's example to recharge its EV policies

| Ian Bushnell
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Shane Rattenbury and Andrew Barr in an electric car

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury are leading the EV charge. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

The ACT has thrown down the gauntlet to the Albanese Government to get moving on Australia’s transition to a zero-emissions transport system.

The Territory further polished its credentials as a world leader on climate change and energy policies this week with its announcements on electric vehicles (including hydrogen) and charging infrastructure.

It is fast becoming the little jurisdiction that could.

READ MORE Full charge ahead! ACT overhauls rego system to drive EV take-up

After meeting its 2020 goal for 100 per cent renewable generated electricity, the ACT will now ban new fossil fuel vehicles from being registered in the ACT from 2035 onwards and prohibit new fossil fuel cars from being introduced to the taxi or rideshare system by 2030 – an Australian first.

It is also overhauling the registration system, extending stamp duty exemptions, and will legislate for new apartment buildings to have electric chargers and provide 180 public chargers in the ACT by 2025.

You can even get an interest-free loan to defray the admittedly exorbitant cost of EVs.

In short, the government is doing its best to push the start button on the era of zero-emission transport.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr put it neatly when he said an internal combustion engine vehicle would soon be as quaint as black and white TV.

But compared with other parts of the world, Australia remains a laggard.

The states and territories can only do so much.

READ MORE New petrol cars to be banned from 2035 as ACT waves goodbye to fossil fuels

What is needed is practical national leadership, starting with a vehicle emission standard that would make Australia an attractive destination for the car makers to introduce more new models and develop an Australian marketplace where an EV is not a luxury vehicle beyond the reach of most drivers.

Volkswagen Australia publicly lobbied for the change last year but to no avail.

Labor dumped its vehicle emission standard policy late last year ahead of the election but Energy Minister Chris Bowen hinted earlier this month that the government could do more in this area.

“We will consider all viable ­options to build on the policy ­announcements we’ve already made,” he told the National Press Club in response to specific questioning on the issue.

The demand is already here. Anyone who drives one wants one, but not necessarily at the current prices.

And the oil shock has shown Australians just how vulnerable they are and how tantalising the alternative is.

While most charging can be done at home, fast-charging infrastructure between and across cities must be ramped up.

READ ALSO Let’s get real: how easy is it to drive an EV from Canberra to Sydney?

The Morrison Government was focused on co-funding charging infrastructure with the private sector under its Future Fuels policy, but all the targets of the previous government need to be reviewed to accelerate take-up and the infrastructure required to support it.

Many argue the electricity grid is ill-prepared for a sudden surge in EV ownership and increased renewable generation, something Labor’s Rewiring the Nation policy aims to address.

But smart chargers that take up power during the cheapest and quietest times of the night should ease the strain, as well as two-way EVs that can also feed power back into the grid, in effect becoming a home battery.

The new government also promises tax cuts to make EVs a little cheaper as part of its national electric-vehicle strategy.

But supply, and therefore cost and lack of a second-hand market, remains the stumbling block.

Federal Labor says its modelling shows 89 per cent of new car sales will be electric by 2030, and 15 per cent of all vehicles on the road will be electric. It has also pledged a government fleet target of 75 per cent new electric cars by 2025 and 1800 public charging stations.

But it needs to be more ambitious.

The Albanese Government need only look to its little cousin down the road in Civic for inspiration to set a similar target for the phasing out of fossil fuel vehicles and give the nation the fuel emission standard it needs to power the clean transport revolution.

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The world measures EV’s as emissions free because they have no tailpipe.

Funny thing is that if battery production and recharge CO2 emissions are taken into account, EV’s have a larger CO2 footprint than a petrol car over a 250,000 life.

But we all know this – right?

No, I don’t know this Gary, so a reference to your source(s) for evaluation would be most useful. What, for example, are your assumptions around your two ‘if’ conditions?

Does “the world” measure EVs as emissions-free? Most of what I read considers total fuel or product cycles, or has obvious bounding assumptions.


We are retired and in our 70s. We will not buy an EV until it makes sense. IE when the Return on Investment aka ROI is good enough.

Frankly, I doubt that will happen in our time here. Our SUV which we bought in 2015 still has
< 90k km on it.

We have done more than most on minimising emissions. IME&O.

Beginning in 1981 after the 70's oil shock, when we bought a potentially efficient & small-ish BV house. It's quite efficient now.

I would put it to you that buying an EV will run up against ROI issues for most people for quite a long time to come.

Relevant taxes, bonuses, rebates, and rego fees will never be a big factor.

Tim Bailey

There is plenty of evidence. Here is one link that is easily and quickly understood.


The point is that EV’S leave a greater C02 footprint, and voters are hoodwinked by politicians promoting EV’s as better for the planet.

I’ll send you more info if you’d like though its sort of common knowledge and we should all do our own research. Its just that people don’t dig deeper and ACT politicians lie to sell their own ideology.

Gary, in response to my request for supporting references you supply a tedious TED talk to an audience in Texas. Videos, quite apart from the fact they are not in any respect a reference, are invariably low in information, pitched at people who might have trouble understanding a subject.

Around minute 7, your bloke says that over the lifetime of an average ICE vehicle (I will take his word for it that it is 180,000 mi, 290,000 km) total emissions are 30 tonnes. This was an early opportunity fo check his veracity. The claim proves to be garbage, as the simplest analysis would have shown you.
If it were true, then average emissions would be about 104 g / km / car (he illustrates a slide with a Ford F150 truck, > 300 g/km). Even a Honda Civic is over 117. Average emissions of the Australian vehicle fleet* are 149.5 g/km for light vehicles and 217 g/km for heavier SUV / light commercial (utes). That equates to 43-63 tonnes of emissions, not 30.

Your “source” tripped and died at the first hurdle. Please try another. I’ll wait.

Or you might like to check some of your claims here:
or here:

* source:

HiddenDragon7:20 pm 23 Jul 22

“It is fast becoming the little jurisdiction that could.”

……do everything except a solid job of its day job in health, education, policing, housing, transport and municipal services – because pandering to dimwits who like shiny new things is so much easier, and so much more fun.

The federal government might take some note of EV policies in the ACT, but a PM with a pooch named Toto might understand that looking to the ACT for ideas for the other 98+% of Australia would be like looking to Oz for ideas for dustbowl Kansas.

Like many, many residents – I’d think – we two do NOT intend to buy an EV.

We are well into retirement and live on our super and pensions.

We do have an AWD SUV which we use to shop, visit, and the occasional trip and bush-bash, it has < 90k km on it. We are keen bush-walkers and use our mountain reserve weekly.

See ROI below.

We do not drive it very often, </= 3 times a week, locally – plus the very occasional trip to Sydney or regional bush-walk sites. There are two other reasons – i) ROI – aka Return on Investment.

ii) We have been doing our bit for energy consumption and emissions since 1981, when we bought our house. The <15 Sq house runs due East-West and faces Nth. The latter a factor in its purchase, thanks to my attendance at Senate SC'ttee hearings on the 70s oil-shock / energy crisis.

It is fully insulated. R3 to R4 in the ceiling. Plus rock-wool inside all exterior walls – topped up a while back. All the timber tongue & groove floors are insulated. Either by thick 80/20% wool carpet or by the addition of T&G wood-laminate over sealed-foam sheeting.

When we are short of a few items – between shopping days – we walk down to the local 'village'.

There's a long and deep Nth'n deck that shades the house in Summer but can let the sun IN for Winter, when we can take the huge L-Shaped sheet of 91% shade-cloth down.

We think we've done enough.

LBNL these articles are becoming tire-some. Add some numbers on the ROI from energy savings and you MIGHT increase your impact.

If you think I'm being harsh, I do get it, I'm a Management Scientist.

You can all thank me for not having to queue at Medicare/C'link /your Private fund for yr rebates.

Tim Bailey

When it comes to change, why do conservatives not understand time? First they delay, denying the need for change, then panic when change starts, as if it were all needed yesterday (albeit some of it was but, guess who).

Why do “progressives” keep making regressive decisions? The first thing they want is change and so they chase every new shiny thing that attracts buckets of tax payers money. Then they panic cause the money runs out. So they up our rates to be the highest in the land. That pays off the shiny thing credit card – but they want more. The next move is to up GST and repeat “change” cycle.

Unfortunately for you, Gary, you can not find a fact. Elsewhere, you are repeat-posting known gibberish. Your comments here are of the same standard.

As I recall, some on the right wanted to increase the GST a little while ago, and still favour it? Do you even understand Federal and State taxing capabilities and responsibilities, or did you hear something on a TEDx talk from TX again?

Right left – it does not matter to me. “Taxing Capabilities” – don’t complicate yourself any further I’d just like a government that supports:

– Lower taxes and rates. Why would anyone, especially when so many are struggling, support higher taxes?? It’s a bizarre position. Barr is leading the National Labour party charge for a GST rise and is also pushing the Federal Gov to raise rate limitations for all state and territories. He is quite open about this.
– More honesty and less ideology . My example is Electric Vehicles. In this article they make us believe they are greener then a petrol car. Not once do they inform you of their real C02 footprint. I am concerned that so many of us don’t understand this. I think I’d go as far as calling this a lie.

I encourage you to find out more info for yourself. If you give an activist real information that does not agree with their point of view – they won’t read it. I’m just putting forward a small piece of easily understood information for those hell bent on EV’s to think about, research further themselves and understand that EV’s have a no better CO2 footprint then a petrol car. There is more info put out by Mercedes Benz which that you can easily source that states, they are dropping further development of the full EV for the same reasons – but do your own research please.

The preservation of environment and the slowing of climate change is more important then the government telling all us dummies that EV’s are emissions free.

This talk is worth a listen – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1E8SQde5rk

Lets all just keep them honest.

Gary, after failing to respond at all to the facts in my post of 5.01 pm on 26 July you here link again the same drivel which I debunked above. I provided references for you to “do your own research” as you say. You keep offering a TEDx talk debunked far more extensively by others than I bothered with here, once I had proven one of its principal claims absurd and false. It could help if you knew what research was and how to evaluate it.

Your claim that the life cycle CO2 emissions of a typical EV are greater than those of a typical ICE is, to use your own chosen word, a lie, pure and simple.

Also utter rubbish is your claim that Mercedes have dropped development of full EVs. They are developing three different EV platforms, have brought electric motor technology in-house, have ceased new ICE engine design, dropped hybrids to focus on BEVs, and will comply with EU directives to sell no new ICE cars by 2035, the same date as for Canberra.

Please stop generating tripe.

Where is the electricity coming from? Where are the plans to build more base load power stations? An electric car uses something like 50 times the electricity of a refrigerator. How are we planning to run an additional 50 refrigerators per household when we are already having power supply issues across the country?

limestonecowboy12:26 pm 22 Jul 22

From a fully distributed network. It won’t be coming from a coal powered power station because they are breaking down. The “concept” of baseload is dead. No one will finance a fossil fuel power station because it will a stranded asset in 10-15 years.

From a fully distributed network? What fully distributed network?

TheSilver’s concerns are the concerns that many of us have. Are we going to be reliant on building more coal power stations to power all of these predicted EVs?

Hi Ken, I guess it wouldn’t take too much of a stretch of the imagination to think what it must have been like changing over from horse and cart to motor vehicle transport….huge amounts of infrastructure cost to make roads suitable for cars and vehicle access via road to each and every household in Australia….sounds almost impossible eh! But it happened all the same. Changing over from petrol to electricity is quite a small change in comparison so it’s funny that some people get upset about it (probably just like some horse and cart proponents did all those years ago.)

85% of our power is from baseload fossil fuel – which in Australia is the only technology we have other than the forbidden nuclear option. It would be nice to have other fuel sources – but we don’t.

Yes investment traditional power stations is not popular but is extremely cheap. I blame progressives who want change without understanding what to change to. Hydro, wind and solar is not the answer. We could pin our hopes on battery technology we don’t have yet and that’s all this new gov have.

I think its funny how the Labour gov are now in and they they no answers except to keep burning coal and keep suppling gas. Currently the east of Australia is 85% powered be fossil fuels and Chris Bowen’s only plan is to build more transmission infrastructure for future technology.

We are a dumb country sometimes.

Gary blabbed: “85% of our power is from baseload fossil fuel”

False. Where did you pull that one? It is currently less than 70% and falling, Look it up, not from some movie or Sky.

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