Australia bumps up investment in EV chargers, shuns sales targets

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SYDNEY/MELBOURNE, Nov 9 (Businesshala) – The Australian government on Tuesday pledged $178 million ($132 million) to scale up the rollout of hydrogen refueling and charging stations for electric vehicles, but did not offer an EV rebate or did not set a phased target. petrol cars.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Future Fuels Fund provided “an Australian way” to reduce transport emissions, reiterating a slogan recently introduced to describe the country’s middle ground on climate change policy. Happened.

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Morrison said in a statement, “We will not force Australians out of the car they want to drive or penalize those who can least afford it through restrictions or taxes.” “

“Instead, the strategy will work to reduce the cost of low- and zero-emission vehicles.”

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The additional investment, which adds to the existing $72 million commitment and will be spent by the end of June 2025, will also aid in the purchase of electric cars and buses for government and commercial fleets.

However, industry groups and green activists said the exemptions and tax breaks were necessary to encourage the purchase of clean cars in a country where transportation is the third biggest source of carbon emissions.

Ken Thornton, Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, said: “The federal government intends to support the choice for Australian motorists, but in fact its strategy is too much for Australia to attract a wide selection of battery electric vehicles to the market. makes it challenging.”

The federal funding is little more than a separate commitment by the country’s most populous state, New South Wales, to spend $171 million on EV chargers over the next four years. Victoria, the second most populous state, plans to spend $29 million on charging infrastructure in regional areas and replacing government cars by 2023.

The federal government said its plan should reduce carbon emissions by more than 8 million tons by 2035, based on its own projection that battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles account for 30 percent of annual new car and light truck sales by 2030. Will make %.

Morrison in 2019 rejected a proposal by the opposition Labor Party to aim for half of all new car sales to be electric by 2030, saying the policy would be a “weekend end” for Australians who go to camp. Want to tow your trailers and boats.

However a recent survey by the Australia Institute think tank found that 64% of Australians supported the need for government subsidies for all new car sales in the country to be zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 and 71% supported electric cars.

Battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales in Australia were a record 8,688 in the first half of 2021, but only 1.6% of total light vehicle sales. In Norway, the global leader in EV uptake, battery electric vehicle sales accounted for nearly 80% of new car sales in September.

fast charger priority

The Future Fuels Fund will focus on expanding the coverage of fast-charging stations in regional areas, investing with private firms in 1,000 public charging stations, and charging infrastructure in businesses and homes.

According to the Electric Vehicle Council, Australia has around 3,000 public chargers installed across the country. By comparison, there are more than 73,000 public and shared chargers in California alone.

The Electric Vehicle Council said that at least fuel efficiency standards should be included in the national plan.

“If Australia continues to be one of the developed countries without fuel efficiency standards, we will continue to be a dumping ground for the dirtiest vehicles in the world,” council chief executive Beyhad Jafari said in a statement.

The transport infrastructure funding was announced just weeks after Morrison adopted a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050, after international criticism that major coal and gas producers were not doing enough to address climate change.

($1 = 1.3517 Australian Dollar)

Reporting by Renju Jose and Sonali Paul; Editing by Jane Wardell

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