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Will Emissions Reduction Targets Make A Difference In Australia?

No, I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, I think Australia needs strong emissions reduction targets (ERT), but I think the unstoppable juggernaut that is the electric vehicle rEVolution will steam in anyway. Conservatives must think that the ERT will make a difference, because they are pushing FUD about it.

Later this year, Australia will hit the 5% that heralds the “inflection point” in a major tech transition. The mega trend will happen whatever Australian politicians do.

Five years ago, a strong ERT would have sent the right signals to the companies that bring us our cars. Now, they are coming anyway. Australia is at the mercy of vehicle manufacturers in South Korea, Japan, Europe, and now China. The big boys are bringing in electric cars, but very slowly. We have electric BMWs, Mercedes, Polestars, Hyundais, but they are imported in such small numbers that they don’t make much difference. Please note: I am not criticizing the quality, only the quantity — maybe an ERT will influence them? Maybe Toyota will stop pushing mild hybrids and send us a BEV? Look out, there goes a flying pig!

The only legacy carmaker saying that emissions reduction targets will make a difference is Volkswagen. However, it is not having trouble selling everything it can make in Europe. I doubt it has much excess capacity to export to Australia’s minuscule market.

Some carmakers are bringing in reasonable quantities of EVs. Tesla is expecting to double the number of its cars on the road by the end of the year. We are starting to see the Y on the roads now. BYD is importing its Atto 3, to be followed by the Dolphin early in 2023. MG has refreshed its HS ZS EV and is selling them in record numbers. And now we hear MG is bringing out the MG 4 as a right-hand-drive electric car. Currently these are being road tested in the UK, but rumor has it they will come to Australia soon. 

Japanese carmakers have lost the plot, Korean and European carmakers seem to be preoccupied with the EU market (and why wouldn’t they be?), while China is sending us some of their electric vehicles. I am hoping for some price cutting at the lower end of the market as MG and BYD compete further.

Walk through any carpark and this is what you see: Toyota, Hyundai, Mazda, Honda, Holden (GM), Nissan, a Ford, Subaru. Not sure if an ERT will influence the Japanese carmakers. Toyota may benefit with its mild hybrids. The Chinese automakers may stop sending us petrol LDVs, MGs, GWMs, etc. But that was probably going to happen anyway.

As the OEM’s in South Korea, USA, Japan, and Europe move more and more production to EVs, internal combustion engine vehicles will become less profitable. Whatever the government decides — more and more EVs will be imported.

I mean no disrespect to the highly intelligent and motivated people lobbying for a federal emissions reduction target. I just wonder if it is necessary at this point. Through years of inaction, the Australian government has made itself irrelevant.

Featured photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth | CleanTechnica.

 
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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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