Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten thinks half of all new car sales in Australia can be electric by 2030 and has promised millions to make it happen.
The movement could help rescue Australia’s car manufacturing industry and tackle climate change, but not everyone thinks it’s such a good idea.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was quick to attack the idea, saying Australians should be afforded “choices about the transitions they want to undertake”, while Minister for Skills and Vocational Education, Michaelia Cash, suggested Australia should push back against the proposal and “save the utes” of tradespeople and apprentices.
Shorten’s proposed policy would also see new vehicle carbon emissions reduced to 105 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, a move which Energy Minister Angus Taylor said would leave owners of a Toyota HiLux – the top selling car in Australia last month – stranded.
“I don't know what tradies are going to do under Labor's policies because there is no car that can do what they need it to do that they can drive,” Taylor said.
But Toyota Australia seemed to contradict this when it confirmed it was looking to offer electric versions of all its vehicles by 2025 and sell 5.5 million electric vehicles by 2030.
Hyundai also confirmed it has a target of “38 new eco models by 2025”.
It is estimated that electric cars currently make up around 0.2% of car stock in Australia.
Labor’s electric vehicle policy will also offer an upfront tax deduction for businesses that purchase electric vehicles and would see 50% of government vehicles be electric by 2025.
Social media has its say
On social media, Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes – who recently announced Atlassian’s plans to shift to 100% clean energy by 2025 – brought the matter to the attention of one of the leading figures in the world of electric vehicles.
“I’m pretty sure Elon [Musk] wouldn’t think 50% of new vehicles sold being electric in 11 years is in any way “ambitious”. As for our prime minister’s comments that EVs will “end the weekend” for consumers? Batshit insane! @elonmusk ?,” Cannon-Brookes tweeted.
In response, Musk pointed out Norway, which has so far achieved 50% electric vehicle sales for 2019, and said there was “no question” Australia could achieve the goal of 50% electric vehicles in the next 11 years.