Mr Taylor argued a “fleet first” strategy for new technology passenger vehicles was the smartest way to help Australia’s transition.
“We are optimistic about how quickly the technology cost will reduce for other electric vehicles compared to traditional cars, making it an easier choice for consumers,” he said.
Many readers were impatient and wanted more done sooner to support a greater uptake of such vehicles.
Mal: “Bring on a future with clean air and no noise, sounds great to me -:) I guess the hoons could record their big noisy pollution machines and crank it up on a PA as they drive by.”
Smarts64: “As someone who has been driving electric since 2009 and wouldn’t go back to clunky ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles, it is so annoying to hear all the nonsense that was debunked a decade ago. Truly we are ruled by dinosaurs.”
Panaitan: “Why should we continue to hand over billions of dollars to the Middle East oil cartels. Keep the money in Australia by charging cars on Australian-produced electricity or hydrogen. That is just economic sense.”
Several readers remembered Scott Morrison’s claim that Bill Shorten wanted to “end the weekend” for Australians and their 4WD-powered pastimes, with Labor’s election pledge that half of all new cars sold in 2030 would be electric.
Harris said the cars we drive in another 10 years are likely to be very different from today’s.
“Electric cars became politically charged during the last election but the Coalition’s victory meant they became their problem to deal with,” he said.
“While it sounds like something out of The Jetsons to many people, the trend around the world away from combustion engine cars is undeniable.”
Harris pointed to Britain’s plans to ban petrol cars by 2030 and the commitment of many leading manufacturers to cease making them by then.
“We have debated coal, gas and renewable energy for a long time but the argument has more or less finished in that space. Transport emissions are a big chunk of the world’s greenhouse gas levels and there’s little doubt it will need to be addressed for Australia to meet its international obligations.”
Readers shared many ideas of how the government could encourage a faster transition to the newer technology. Several looked towards Norway, which leads the world in electric vehicle ownership.
Wilson: “The cheapest way of supporting national take-up of EV is to set a phase-out date for petrol and diesel car engines. A ban would increase demand and reduce the cost structures associated with production of EV. A ban provides certainty for the existing industry to plan for an orderly change over – eg. petrol stations adopting EV charging points. A ban would not apply to existing vehicles, just new vehicles.”
Ministry of Commonsense: “Great, so instead of incentives, the average consumer has to wait 2 years so that they can buy a second-hand EV. My wife and I were in Oslo/Norway 3 years ago. Walking down the streets every other car was electric with charging stations every 50 metres. Public charging infrastructure was first introduced in 2011. The Norwegian government incentivises EV use with 1000s of free charging stations in cities, a minimum of 2 fast chargers every 50km on main roads, 50 per cent off car ferries, reduced parking fees, reduced company car tax, free tolls, 0 road tax, 0 import duties and 0 GST.”
Marcus Aurelius: “The LNP could easily waive the luxury car tax completely for EVs and eliminate any import taxes. A sensible move to try to get critical mass for EVs and encourage investment in charge stations. Also how about investment settings to encourage EV battery manufacturing here in Australia? The lithium is here, why can’t it be refined and turned into batteries?”
LeChatBlanc: “I find myself in the rare position of largely agreeing with Angus Taylor. Incentives for private purchase of EVs wouldn’t give us good bang for buck. BUT … at the bare minimum, our ‘government’ needs to move their own fleet entirely to hybrid or EV. And they should be helping the burgeoning EV vehicle manufacturers in Australia. There are some already in both Melbourne and Adelaide, and they should be fostered. Likewise, the Victorian and SA governments should abandon their nonsensical usage tax on EVs. Yes, petrol excise will need to be replaced, but … do not disadvantage EVs in the meantime!!!”
LeChatBlanc wasn’t the only reader who backed the government on the point that subsidies for private-use electric vehicles weren’t the right move.
The Rabbit: “Good call by the Morrison government. Those who are wealthy enough to afford an electric car should not be subsidised by me, for goodness’ sake.”
OC: “Electric vehicle subsidies are hideously expensive per tonne of carbon abatement. We need to seriously ask ourselves do we want to virtue-signal and make wealthy people able to afford their new Tesla or spend our limited funds abating carbon at MUCH lower cost in the agricultural, industrial and electrical sectors???”
Leonardo: “Good to see the government staying out of further subsidies to green ideology. If they are so good, let them compete on a level playing field. Taxpayers’ dollars should not be used to slant the pitch. EVs are expensive, impractical for many nd will make absolutely no difference to natural climate change. They don’t deserve government market manipulation and subsidies.“
However, several readers were quick to interject on the point of there needing to be a “level playing field” for all energy and technology subsidies.
DVA wrote: “Fine, so long as they also stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry as well. The government should be encouraging green energy industries with the same tax breaks the fossil fuel – particularly coal – industry is enjoying.”
Marradin: “I have no problems with this – as long as they reinstate all fuel excise on mining projects and remove every other policy that is or could be considered a subsidy for any fossil fuel project. They keep talking about making a level playing field for energy sources. Well, then, make a level playing field!!”
Chookman: “Perhaps we could start by removing all subsidies surrounding fossil fuels including the diesel fuel tax rebate.”
Online readers of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age made 35,464 comments on 520 stories in the past week.
Most-read by subscribers in the past week
Sydney Morning Herald
Orietta Guerrera is the Reader Editor for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WAToday. She was previously Federal Political Editor for the mastheads.