Climateworks Centre welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to developing a National Electric Vehicle Strategy (NEVS) at this critical time for decarbonising transport.

The NEVS is especially timely given the limited window to keep global warming within 1.5 degrees
Celsius.

Our recent report Accelerating EV uptake sets out six policy areas to support the electric vehicle (EV) transition in Australia. A holistic approach to the EV transition will allow the country to enjoy the beneficial impacts and avoid adverse effects.

A strong NEVS would orchestrate, focus and accelerate the range of work required to accelerate EV uptake in Australia. Implementation of fuel efficiency standards to unlock supply is particularly critical, along with improvements to data reporting and monitoring to understand the impact of actions. Climateworks also highlights the importance of achieving emissions reduction across the transport sector to contribute to the government’s legislated emissions reduction targets.

Climateworks recommends that the NEVS:

  1. Sets out a comprehensive EV policy package for Australia that increases supply, sets strong uptake targets, stimulates demand and plans ahead for a smooth transition for individuals, businesses and fleets while maintaining a fair and efficient transport system. There is scope to expand the objectives of the Consultation Paper to ensure the EV transition enables a fairer and more efficient transport system. National coordination is a must take step in order to hit emissions targets.
  2. Implements government-led data collection with mandatory reporting from manufacturers and importers on EV uptake and emission reductions.
  3. Prioritises ‘zero-emission’ vehicles and excludes ‘low-emission’ vehicles in the form of hybrids, only including plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) as a short-term option until 2026, because of the benefits of a rapid transition to zero emissions where technically possible. The government should investigate the impact of hybrids and PHEVs on reaching emissions reduction targets. Inclusion of PHEVs in the NEVS could be complemented with policies to maximise emissions reduction, such as driver charging behaviour rewards being explored in Europe.
  4. Includes the introduction of federal fuel efficiency standards, as part of measures to unlock EV supply in Australia. Standards should be set at a level ambitious enough to shift the market. To be consistent with Australia’s net zero goal, the standard should ensure that all new vehicles sold from 2035 are zero emissions and provide manufacturers and importers with a clear roadmap towards reaching 0g C02/km by 2035, including interim targets.
  5. Revisits parallel import restrictions to to support import of second hand EVs, which will help address EV supply issues and bring more affordable EVs to the Australian market.
  6. Develops a fleet action plan that addresses barriers for EV purchasing by fleet managers, sets targets and incentivises turning over fleet EVs into the second-hand market. To meet the Australian Public Service’s commitment of net zero emissions by 2030, ensure that fleet purchase and leasing to 2025 is in line with a least-cost approach prioritising ‘zero-emission’ vehicles for a rapid transition wherever technically possible.
  7. Establishes national EV uptake targets in line with emissions reduction targets, including interim targets, to provide confidence for the market and gain immediate cost savings.
  8. Explores structural pricing changes such as Fringe Benefit Tax, asset write-off programs or a feebate scheme to shift buying behaviour. Further, the NEVS could help enable national consistency for vehicle pricing by providing guidance for reducing registration fees or stamp duty, which currently vary by state.
  9. Supports national processes to oversee EV-grid integration issues and ensure EV roll out supports the grid and the energy system transition optimally. A nationally consistent approach to regulatory standards and compliance requirements for EV charging infrastructure in Australia, aligned with international best practice charging standards, will be critical for a smooth uptake of EVs.
  10. Prepares for the National Construction Code’s (NCC) 2025 review to require all relevant buildings to be fully EV-ready.
  11. Focused low-income households policy for EV uptake, including means-tested incentives and guaranteed government fleet turn over to the second-hand market directed to lower-income households.
  12. Coordinates federal and state jurisdictions to investigate and design an effective, nationally-consistent road user pricing scheme that will support demand management and reduce emissions without disincentivising EV uptake.
  13. Provides the first piece of a National Net Zero Transport Strategy that looks beyond EVs to looking at mode shift, public transport, low carbon freight and fully decarbonise transport to contribute to Australia’s emissions reduction targets.