While industry forecasts assume electric vehicles will take over the automobile market in coming decades, they accounted for just 0.6 per cent of vehicles sold in Australia last year with 6718 sold in 2019, up from 2216 in 2018.
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics forecasts 60 per cent of new cars sales would be electric by 2046.
Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor expects to release an electric vehicle strategy by the middle of the year which he said would “focus on practical actions to address barriers to EV uptake” and support “Australians who choose to adopt new technologies”.
“The strategy will ensure a planned and managed transition to this new vehicle technology,” he said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this month a ban by 2035 on sales of new petrol, diesel and even hybrid cars.
A Senate Committee chaired by former independent Senator Tim Storer recommended the federal government set targets for commercial sales and government vehicles, coupled with stringent vehicle emissions standards and a public awareness campaign to drive sales of electric vehicles.
Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the global transition to electric vehicles was inevitable and the federal government should “set a target for electric vehicle sales”.
“This would send a powerful signal to the global industry that Australia was a suitable place in which to invest and engage,” Mr Jafari said.
Dr Davidson said his research, which surveyed 500 Australians about electric vehicles, showed the keener the driver, the less likely they were to prefer electric vehicles.
“My data showed that if driving is someone’s preferred mode of transport – as is common in Australia – they are more price sensitive and place a lower value on the attributes of electric vehicles than those who prefer other modes of transport.”
Mike is the climate and energy correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.