The transport sector offers one of the most financially attractive emissions reduction opportunities across the Australian economy. Despite this, it is one of the fastest growing emissions sectors within Australia, nearly doubling in output since 1990.
Common barriers to reducing emissions from the transport sector include lack of light vehicle emissions standards. Over 80 percent of the global automotive market is covered by such standards, yet Australia is just one of a handful of developed countries still without any.
ClimateWorks’ research has found:
Best practice standards for light vehicle CO2 emissions standards could see the fuel efficiency of Australia’s new light vehicle fleet improved by over 50% within 10 years
Improving the fuel efficiency of passenger and light commercial vehicles could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost four megatonnes (Mt) of CO2 per year by 2020 and nine Mt CO2 per year by 2025
By 2025, switching from conventional to electric vehicles could save drivers an average net annual savings of approximately $350 over a five-year ownership period as well as help produce economy-wide fuel savings of almost $8 billion per year
Australia’s fuel security can be enhanced through fuel efficiency, with fuel demand reducing under best practice standards by 40-66 million barrels per year in 2024
Increasing uptake of electric vehicles while decarbonising the electricity grid (or sourcing electricity from low carbon sources) could provide emissions reductions of 9MtCO2 e by 2030 and 27MtCO2 e by 2050
Reducing emissions from the transport sector, including improving the fuel efficiency of Australia’s light vehicle fleet, can deliver substantial environmental and economic benefits for the nation. ClimateWorks is collaborating with industry, consumer groups and government to address policy and market barriers to realising this significant opportunity.
In 2018 ClimateWorks Australia worked with local governments in Victoria to increase uptake of electric vehicles in their fleets. Electric vehicles will be vital in decarbonising the transport sector, to help Australia achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Working with the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and the Electric Vehicle Council, ClimateWorks ran workshops and webinars to help local governments to better understand electric vehicles. These workshops also provided an opportunity for local governments already using electric vehicles to share their learnings. ClimateWorks also collected data on demand for electric vehicles across local government fleets, and liaised with electric vehicle manufacturers on vehicle pricing. This enabled the development of tailored advice for individual local governments comparing the total cost of electric vehicles with traditional petrol vehicles. Over 100 individuals from 43 different local governments across Victoria have engaged with the project. This report highlights key findings from the project and recommends further areas of work.
On the back of global trends, media interest and growing consumer awareness at home, Australia’s electric vehicle industry grew slightly last year, according to this new report, released by the Electric Vehicle Council and ClimateWorks Australia. But this second ‘State of electric vehicles’ report also notes Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world and there are several opportunities to improve uptake, including a supportive policy environment through regulatory, financial and non-financial policies and incentives; and the introduction of light vehicle CO2 emissions standards (over 80 per cent of the world auto market already has such standards; Australia is one of few developed countries that does not). It also notes government at all levels could use their greater purchasing power to encourage broader uptake of EVs.
In 2017 and following the national launch of the Electric Vehicle Council, ClimateWorks Australia collaborated with the EV Council to present ‘The EV Insights Webinar Series’ - three webinars open to industry professionals and policymakers, where EV experts shared their experiences to help inform Australia's electric vehicle uptake. The EV Insights Webinar Series was supported by ARENA.
Private transport is likely to be markedly different in the years ahead, driven by a number of technological disruptors currently under development such as battery driven, autonomous (driverless) vehicles and the rapid advancement of care-share and ride-share vehicles.
Predictions are that these disruptions will lead to massive changes in the global vehicle industry, government regulation, and even urban design of our cities by as soon as 2030, yet little research to prepare for how these changes will be met and accepted by users and society generally.
This report by ClimateWorks Australia is one chapter of a broader project by a collaboration of Monash Research partners. It was developed to examine current knowledge and identify gaps in research we need to address if we are to better understand the challenges and opportunities that future transport may present.
The State of Electric Vehicles in Australia report provides an up-to-date assessment of Australia’s electric vehicle industry. While electric vehicles currently only make up 0.1% of the Australian vehicle market, our analysis of electric vehicle uptake, policy and consumer attitudes shows that momentum is building.