Road to nowhere: why Australia lags behind in electric vehicle revolution

(The Guardian, 31 Jan 2019) Report recognises urgent need for national plan, as the rest of the world powers ahead.

When the Senate select committee on electric cars released its long-awaited report on Wednesday, it announced Australia was “on the cusp” of a change not seen since the advent of the internal combustion engine.

It’s not the first time public figures have claimed an electric car revolution is imminent and while the report did not recommend brash action, it offered a moment of bipartisan recognition that a lack of government action to date has left Australia lagging behind the rest of the world.

Despite fewer cars selling around the world last year, electric cars have kept rolling out of showrooms. More than 2m electric cars were sold in 2018, with China alone accounting for 1.26m sales.

But while the rest of the world has been transitioning to the new technology, in 2017 Australians bought just 2,284 vehicles, according to the Electric Vehicle Council. Numbers are not currently available for 2018.

The organisation’s CEO, Behyad Jafari, says the good news is that this represents a 68% increase from 2016, a trend he expects to continue into 2019 as lower-cost cars like the Hyundai Ionic and new-model Nissan Leaf hit the market for under $50,000.

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The Guardian, 31 Jan 2019: Road to nowhere: why Australia lags behind in electric vehicle revolution