On Tuesday, Australia’s prime leader revealed plans to encourage people to buy electric vehicles, just weeks after his government was accused of being a climate change laggard at a United Nations summit in Scotland.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that the cost of the technology would come down over time and that no subsidies would be provided to consumers of electric vehicles.
“As technology costs fall, the options open to Australians and people all around the world become more accessible, and our plans are all about supporting those options,” Morrison said.
“Our proposals do not include transferring a large amount of government money to large multinational corporations in order to reduce costs. They’ll take care of it themselves. He went on to say, “They’re quite interested in accomplishing that.”
The AU$250 million ($185 million) initiative would work with private companies to speed up the installation of 50,000 charging and hydrogen refuelling stations.
By 2030, the conservative government anticipates battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to account for 30% of new passenger and light commercial truck sales in Australia.
Electric vehicles account for less than 2% of new vehicle sales in Australia, and the transportation industry is a major reason why Australia is one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters per capita.
The proposal has been criticised by electric vehicle advocacy groups.
The strategy, according to Behyad Jafari, chief executive of the Electric Vehicles Council and an advocate for the Australian electric car industry, is a “fizzer” that lacks efforts to encourage uptake.
The opposition center-left Labor Party campaigned in 2019 with the goal of having 50% of new cars be electrified by 2030.
Morrison claimed at the time that Labor’s strategy would “put an end to the weekend” since electric vehicles could not tow boats or caravans, nor could they replace SUVs.
If Labor wins the May elections, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says his government will reduce tariffs on electric vehicles, making them more affordable.
“During the last election campaign, the administration stated that electric vehicles would ‘end the weekend,’ and now, in the run-up to an election campaign, they want you to believe that electric vehicles are now all right and that they want to boost uptake,” Albanese added.
“Well, they can’t have their cake and eat it too. He went on to say, “This is an administration that is afraid of change.”
Morrison pledged Australia to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, known as COP26.
However, he was heavily chastised for keeping Australia’s 2030 target unchanged, which was set at a modest 26 percent to 28 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels. Other governments have made more stringent pledges.
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