Electric vehicle uptake in Australia “lags behind” other countries “due to a relative absence of overarching policy direction from Australian Governments”, according to a report released earlier this month by the Senate Select Committee on Electric Vehicles.

The report makes 17 recommendations which aim to help Australia accelerate electric vehicle uptake, including:

  • Development of a national zero emission vehicle strategy
  • Introduction of zero emission vehicle targets, including for government fleets
  • A coordinated plan for the roll out of zero emission vehicle infrastructure
  • Introduction of a CO2 standard to encourage the uptake of zero emission vehicles
  • Development of a roadmap to support Australian-based electric vehicles manufacturing and R&D

The industry association representing zero emission hydrogen (H2) fuel cell electric vehicles, Hydrogen Mobility Australia, has welcomed the recommendations put forward, describing them as “the kick-start the zero-emission vehicle sector urgently needs to accelerate the advent of clean transport”.

CEO Claire Johnson said it’s now up to government and industry to work together to implement these recommendations to ensure Australia enjoys the full benefits of zero emission transport – environmental, economic and social.

“The findings of the Senate inquiry are consistent with industry’s calls for governments to take action on the green revolution taking place in the transport sector, and to facilitate the electric vehicle transition in a strategic and coordinated fashion,” she explained.

“Measures such as a coordinated approach to national infrastructure deployment are very much welcome and can be strengthened through initiatives such as the removal of the luxury car tax and import tariffs to support the uptake of the range of zero emission technologies available in the marketplace today, that is H2 fuel cell electric and battery electric vehicles.”

“With an upcoming federal election, the time is now for both parties to commit to a zero-emission vehicle future and deliver to Australians the decarbonisation, air quality and fuel security benefits of this technology, as well as jobs and investment through the development of a new manufacturing and R&D sector.”

The recommendations of the Senate inquiry are also consistent with the National Hydrogen Strategy, which was endorsed by the COAG Energy Council in late 2018 and will be developed throughout 2019.

The strategy will explore the opportunity to build hydrogen refuelling stations in every state and territory as part of a coordinated approach to infrastructure roll out to support the introduction of H2-powered transport. This work will be undertaken in partnership with Hydrogen Mobility Australia.