Australia is “well behind” other countries in the uptake of electric vehicles, senators have been told.
Clean Energy Finance Corporation CEO Ian Learmonth says there are about 7000 electric vehicles on Australia’s roads and sales amount to about 0.1 per cent of new cars.
“It’s certainly no secret we’re well behind in terms of the uptake of EVs,” he told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Monday.
“We are significantly behind the uptake of EVs in this country relative to what we might see as comparative markets.”
CEFC sees EVs as important in reducing emissions across the transportation sector, he added.
“There needs to be more affordable models available to Australians, potentially support from government in terms of duties and taxes and also addressing the issue of range anxiety,” Mr Learmonth said.
He said CEFC – which has about $5 billion left in the kitty – has been approached to support a number of recharging infrastructure projects.
“We’re active in the market and we continue to try and stimulate projects, companies and proposals to increase EV uptake,” he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken aim at Labor’s target of 50 per cent of all new car sales being electric vehicles by 2030.
Mr Morrison described it on Monday as Labor’s “war on the weekend”, preventing Australians from buying vehicles “with a bit of grunt”.
Labor says the government is engaging in a scare campaign, pointing to previous comments by senior ministers endorsing a greater take-up of electric vehicles.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor’s policy is based on the best research and won’t prevent anyone from buying vehicles they want to.
“We believe it’s a good idea to set a goal, a target,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
“That doesn’t mean that we’re going to confiscate someone’s ute in 2030. It doesn’t mean that.”