By Claire Painter, Project Manager, for ClimateWorks Australia
Transport will play an important role for Australia to meet the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement, touching on two of the four steps or ‘pillars’ that can work together to bring us to net zero emissions by 2050.
In Australia, the transport sector is one of our fastest growing sources of emissions, increasing 47.5 per cent since 1990. It accounted for 16 per cent or 92 MtCO2e of Australia’s emissions in 2013-14 and is projected to continue rising.
However transport also represents the most financially attractive emissions reduction opportunity across the Australian economy. Two pillars of decarbonisation are enacted to achieve this: ‘energy efficiency’- by improving the fuel efficiency of conventional internal combustion engines, and ‘fuel switching’ – shifting to electric vehicles.
So why EVs?
- When linked to cleaner electricity supply, EVs can provide emission reductions of 16 and 47 per cent in passenger and light commercial vehicle segments by 2030 and 2050 respectively
- Even EVs recharged by grid electricity are still projected to be less emissions intensive than the average passenger vehicle to 2030
- Electrification can also significantly contribute to meeting energy productivity targets: approximately 1/3 of the 15 per cent improvement identified to 2030 across the economy
- They’re now being deployed at scale: In 2015, EVs reached 23 per cent market share in Norway, nearly 10 per cent in the Netherlands and are past 1 per cent in seven other countries
- Internationally there are moves to ban internal combustion engines: Norway, Netherlands, Germany and India are considering bans on petrol, diesel cars by 2025 and the European Commission plans to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2050
- Australia is uniquely vulnerable to disruptions in fossil-fuel supply.
What’s stopping us?
- EVs will be cost competitive when scale is reached, however large scale consumer uptake will only occur when electric vehicles are cost competitive
- Lack of consumer knowledge around the value proposition of lower emission vehicles and fuels, concerns about vehicle range and charging infrastructure
- Australia does not currently have a national EV policy framework and overall support and incentives are weak compared to global peers
- Collectively, these challenges limit the number of models introduced to the Australian market.
- Well-designed financial incentives could lower upfront costs, increase sales and infrastructure deployment
- Non-financial incentives also encourage increased deployment, eg. priority lanes and reserved parking spaces
- Introduction of collaboratively developed, well-designed best practice standards supported by suitable complementary measures, eg. policies and incentives to increase EV uptake, Government EV bulk buys, tax breaks and government support for the development of charging infrastructure
- ClimateWorks Australia is drawing on research and evidence to help reduce emissions at national and regional levels and working with industry stakeholders on a range of activities to drive EV uptake.
ClimateWorks Australia is a leading, independent, evidence-based adviser, committed to helping Australia transition to net zero emissions by 2050.
ClimateWorks Australia was founded through a partnership between Monash University and the Myer Foundation and hosted by the Monash Sustainable Development Institute.