28 March 2023

Pocock sends off Canberra's first electric ute on tour of Australia

| James Coleman
Join the conversation
ACT Senator David Pocock at the Electric Ute Roadshow with Solar Citizens national director Heidi Douglass

ACT Senator David Pocock and Solar Citizens national director Heidi Douglass at the launch of the Electric Ute Roadshow. Photo: James Coleman.

The ACT’s independent senator has again called for national fuel efficiency standards while sending off Australia’s first pure electric ute on a months-long tour of the country.

Senator David Pocock joined the community-based organisation Solar Citizens and a vinyl-wrapped electric LDV ute on the lawns of Parliament House on Tuesday (28 March) to launch a new campaign on the benefits of ‘Recharging Australia’.

“Australians are currently getting dudded when it comes to the range and price of electric vehicles that are available to us,” he said.

“We are getting sent the world’s clunkers. And in large part, that is because we don’t have fuel-efficiency standards. This is something policymakers need to get on with. The solutions are there.”

READ ALSO Behind the scenes: why this major car brand chooses Canberra for its official promo shots

It comes as the Australian government works on a National Electric Vehicle Strategy and considers calls to follow the European Union, UK, US, New Zealand and other developed countries in mandating a minimum standard for fuel quality and vehicle emissions.

At the moment, our cars are required to meet the Australian Design Rules, with some additional limits set on harmful emissions such as oxides of sulphur and particulates.

According to data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), new passenger cars and light SUVs sold across Australia in 2021 had average CO2 emissions of 146.5 g per kilometre, while heavy SUVs and light commercial vehicles were up at 212.5 g/km.

Over in Europe, average CO2 emissions need to be below 95 g/km across a car company’s entire range to meet the current Euro 6 standard, with the even stricter rules of Euro 7 on the way. In practice, this means that for every high-emitting model, a car brand also needs an EV.

Senator Pocock said it’s time for Australia to “crack on to world best practice”.

“The EV industry is no longer in its infancy. Starting with fleets, we have to ensure fleets are electrifying now to ensure that in a few years’ time there is a second-hand market that people can afford to buy into. At the same time, we need more models and more competition.”

Solar Citizens is made up of millions of solar energy users from across Australia and describes the Electric Ute Roadshow as “a community campaign to unlock the benefits of affordable electric vehicles for the regions”.

The chariot of choice for the journey is the Chinese-built LDV eT60, the first pure electric dual-cab ute to come to Australia. Prices start at $92,990 and its range is quoted as “up to 330 kilometres”, although that figure is likely to drop by at least half when towing or carrying large loads in the tray.

READ ALSO Parked in an EV spot but not charging? That’ll cost you, according to little-known ACT road rules

“It’s got an okay range, but we can get utes that are better than this that are already available overseas if we fix fuel efficiency standards,” Solar Citizens campaigner Ajaya Haikerwal said.

“We’re taking this ute around regional and rural Australia over the next few months, and showing these people they can really save the most, because they pay more for fuel, they drive further, and their cars are older. They have more to gain from this policy.”

The accompanying ‘Recharging Australia’ report analyses data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to reveal what’s likely to happen if Australia adopted the current Euro 6 standard of 95 g/km, gradually dropping the limit to zero grams by 2035.

“Fixing Fuel Efficiency Standards would see car makers send us more efficient petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles – and Australians could choose vehicles that are cheaper to run and pollute less,” Mr Haikerwal said.

As car makers bring in more EVs to make up for their higher polluting models, Australia would end up with a wider range of EVs – many less than $40,000. This, in turn, means there are more buyers, which the report estimates would cut Australia’s transport emissions by up to 35 per cent each year and save motorists a total of $11.2 billion in fuel costs over five years.

“The cost-saving benefits will be greater for regional drivers, relative to city drivers, because they typically spend a higher per cent of weekly earnings on transport costs,” the report reads.

“When the standard comes into effect, it should send a strong market signal to car makers that they must prioritise a variety of low and zero emission vehicles that suit all Australian motorists – including vehicles suited to regional Australians and for trades, such as utes.”

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

“Solar Citizens is made up of millions of solar energy users from across Australia”. Please validate these stats.

Capital Retro5:47 pm 11 Jan 24

More disinformation from the EV lobby:


The much heralded LDV e-ute only went to the three eastern states, not all over Australia.

Pay $92,000 for a piece of rubbish – tell them they’re dreaming.

@Capital Retro
Why is “$11 billion worth of electricity” needed, CR? In your mind, is that to replace the reported $11.2 billion savings in fuel costs over five years? If so, you really do need to find a new energy provider.

Capital Retro9:22 am 31 Mar 23

And where is $11 billion worth of electricity coming from, Mr Pocock?

Send it around Australia (up to NW Western Australia and back) and do 300 to 500 kms every day. Around the edge of Australia. It’s a big car and big cars pull caravans when travelling in the outback, so add one of those too. Free camp as many do. No power. Will that be a problem!
Give it a real test.

Bob the impala10:47 am 31 Mar 23

Maya123, why are you so obsessed with the minority scenario you paint, to be achieved today? You have mentioned it often. Do you think many people care about your obsession? Do you think it is relevant to the value or development potential of alternatives others might consider useful? Should all development cease because an early example doesn’t suit you?

I will let people choose by their need and see change occur.

Bob the impala, Your comment goes both ways. I am also tired of being ‘obsessing’ suggested to that I should be driving an electric car, and being told that one can go anywhere. I make these comments because of this. If people were more realistic in the comments I would likely not have made my comments. Great for urban areas, and main east coast routes say, if you don’t need to get somewhere too quickly. I agree with that. It gets tiresome; people saying they can go anywhere with an EV car; inferring that if they can, others can too. You can’t, and they haven’t gone ‘anywhere’.
I’m far from being alone with finding that an electric car does not meet my needs, and sick and tired of the ‘everyone should be driving an EV’ attitude being shoved down our throats. Recently I was out in the country and speaking to some local country people and they felt exactly as I felt. An electric car at present can’t meet their needs. They brought this issue up, not me. As for locally here in Canberra, I mostly cycled to work, or caught a bus (with a 2km walk at the work end, as my bus didn’t go to my work). I rarely saw the need to drive. More people could consider other ways to get to work than driving, especially with E bikes. An electric car takes up just as much room on the road and needs as much parking as a petrol car, and doesn’t solve traffic congestion. Too many appear to think that people must have a car to get to work, as if no other means of transport exists. (I’ve known some with an almost door to door bus service, still drive.) One example, Ride to a main route bus, leave the bike there. You don’t need to ride the whole way, etc. When buying a house, take into consideration of where you work and how to get to work. Don’t for example, buy in Gungahlin and then complain about getting to work in Tuggeranong. (I did not say everyone, but “more” could consider other ways to get to work than drive, before someone inevitably comes in and says they can’t carry their plumbing gear, etc on a bike. More could consider other ways to get to work than a car. Electric cars will not solve everything.)

Excerpt from Statement of Patrick Moore, Ph.D. Before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight February 25, 2014. ‘When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time. There is some correlation, but little evidence, to support a direct causal relationship between CO2 and global temperature through the millennia. The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming’. 

‘Over the years the media have largely ignored the scientists and organizations that remain skeptical of human-caused global warming and climate change. The public has been inundated with alarmist headlines about catastrophic climate change and many governments have bought into the belief there is a global emergency that must be addressed quickly and decisively. As with fear of chemicals, fear of climate change results in a convergence of interests among activists seeking funding, scientists applying for grants, the media selling advertising, businesses promoting themselves as green, and politicians looking for votes. It may not be a conspiracy, but it is a very powerful alignment that is mutually reinforcing’.

Most experts agree that 1,500 ppm is the maximum CO2 level for maximum plant growth, although any CO2 level between 1,000ppm and 1,500ppm will produce greatly improved results. Current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are around 400ppm, nowhere near the optimum level of CO2 for plant life.  We are being sold a very expensive lemon that our CO2 levels are a problem. 

“There is some correlation, but little evidence, to support a direct causal relationship between CO2 and global temperature through the millennia.”

This is just complete BS, there is strong correlation between global temperatures and CO2 levels going back millions of years. This claim has been thoroughly debunked.

@Mark R
This would be the same Patrick Moore PhD, who after the World Health Organization released a study concluding that glyphosate (the active ingredient in a herbicide) is probably carcinogenic, told a French filmmaker that glyphosate is safe to drink? Yet when offered some glyphosate to try, Moore refused to take up his own suggestion, ending the interview and telling the filmmaker, “I’m not an idiot.”
While you might find Patrick Moore PhD to be a credible source, Mark R, apparently he doesn’t even believe himself.

Capital Retro9:20 am 31 Mar 23

Debunked by whom?

Actual scientists doing research on the issue. Who else would give you accurate information in the area? Certainly not paid lobbyists like Patrick Moore.

Capital Retro12:10 pm 30 Mar 23

If they can make an E-ute then maybe an E-hearse too?

Could kill two birds with one stone as it could double as a crematorium as well.

@Capital Retro
I’ll bet that had them in stitches at the Anti-EV Club Meeting, CR.

Pocock demonstrating just how out of touch he is… but he’s not a Green, remember?
“We’re taking this ute around regional and rural Australia over the next few months, and showing these people they can really save the most, because they pay more for fuel, they drive further, and their cars are older. They have more to gain from this policy.”
And they’re also the people for whom an electric toy won’t suit their purposes – a range of “up to” 330km which drops to half when loaded OR towing (what about when it’s loaded AND towing?) is not even going to get you to the next town in many cases, and that’s when the batteries are still new (before they’ve copped a few months of abuse of high charge rates to get people moving again on the same day).
Most diesel Landcruisers can get over 1000km between refuelling (which only takes 5 min), and only drops to 3/4 when heavily loaded/towing – come back when you’ve got something comparable (and isn’t carrying its own weight in batteries).

How is Pocock out of touch when he is calling for Australia to adopt world’s best practice on fuel-efficiency standards, so we don’t get the dud EVs the rest of the world doesn’t want, Bob?
You do understand that not all politicians who have a platform on action on climate change are members of the Greens, don’t you. Perhaps it’s time to retire the ‘Green’ cliche, Bob, you just sound like a broken record.

I’ll retire the so-called “cliché” when he demonstrates he’s other than a Green – if he could identify just one of their party policies that he differs on.

You never let the facts get in your way do you, Bob? From Pocock’s page on the official aph.gov.au website (https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=256136) “Party Independent”.
What’s your next irrelevant falsehood?

PS The Greens didn’t have Territory Rights in their 2022 Election Platform, whereas Pocock did. If you actually bother to do some research, instead of engaging in grand standing for the right, you will find other areas of difference.

I’ve yet to see an electric vehicle carrying a load of more than one or two people.

You need to get out more and open your eyes on the road, Bob.

We’ve taken our electric car from ACT to Sunshine Coast and back, twice, with our family of 4 and a boot full of suitcases, gifts, kids games and a full esky. Just because you haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

suomynona, And you manage to travel 500kms every day, and off main routes, places where there are no chargers. Well done. Or do you limit yourself and mostly stick to the busy main roads and not go anywhere too adventurous, where chargers might be hard to find?

Capital Retro7:38 am 30 Mar 23

More irony being the fact that the vehicle is made in China which is the biggest polluter in the world but of course, being a developing country it has UN license to be that.

I wish someone would ask Pocock if he is comfortable about China’s human rights issues. He could then chain himself to the ute in protest.

@Capital Retro
If you actually cared about the human rights issues in China, CR, rather than using it as a fillip to pursue your denialist agenda, your comment might actually be credible.

Capital Retro8:12 am 31 Mar 23

What I said is fact no matter what spin you put on it.

@Capital Retro
Right, CR, so you never buy products made in China and don’t use any products or services of Australian companies that deal with and/or export to China? Or do you only apply your ‘human rights’ standards to politicians you didn’t vote for?

Capital Retro11:11 am 31 Mar 23

Do you work for the PRC?

@Capital Retro
That’s the best you can come up with? No I don’t work for the PRC. I just have a real issue with your selective morality.

Agree 100%, Capital. Pocock is a watermelon (a pretend green on outside and red in the middle)

Ironically, this dog and pony show parked in front of a furphy for their photo while in Shepparton.
$100K for a 2 wheel drive ute with 1 tonne towing capacity and 150km range when loaded. No thanks.

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.