Skip to navigationSkip to contentSkip to footerHelp using this website - Accessibility statement
Advertisement

Bowen says making EVs in Australia an option

Matthew CranstonUnited States correspondent

New York | Energy Minister Chris Bowen said he wanted to see an EV manufacturing sector set up in Australia, as the energy crisis accelerates the country’s move to renewable power and transport.

Mr Bowen, who attended a global clean energy forum in Pittsburgh where he road-tested an electric Ford FT150, said a faster take up of electric vehicles was needed in Australia, amid predictions that at least half of all global car sales will be electric by 2030.

John Kerry and Chris Bowen meet in Pittsburgh. Β .

With Australian electric car sales at only 2 per cent and Labor’s target for 50 per cent of all new cars sales by 2030 to be electric, Mr Bowen said he wanted to see EV manufacturing take off in Australia with government help.

β€œWe can make electric vehicles in Australia. Not only do I think that, so do the electric vehicle manufacturers,” Mr Bowen told The Australian Financial Review.

β€œThere’s work to do to make that more viable in Australia, but the economics of an electric vehicle are a lot different to the economics of making internal combustion engine (cars).”

Advertisement

The last car to be manufactured in Australia was General Motors’ Holden units which rolled off a production line in 2017.

β€œWe have a range of policies which no doubt will be looked at in due course. I believe we can make key components of electric vehicles and indeed electric vehicles totally in Australia.”

β€œThis [energy] crisis underlines the fact that the transition to renewables has to happen more quickly, and in a more orderly fashion,” he said.

Labor has introduced legislation that would cut the fringe benefits tax and import taxes to help speed up sales of low and zero emissions vehicles, however Greens and Independents are against it because it includes hybrid cars.

Mr Bowen also hinted at the introduction of tougher fuel efficiency standards. β€œAustralia and Russia are the only two developed countries without fuel efficiency standards - that’s something that will be discussed.”

During his visit to the US, the minister met with US Climate Envoy Climate John Kerry to sign a pact for faster government and private sector investment in renewable energy.

Advertisement

But he said a mooted carbon border adjustment scheme, which essentially taxes imports based on their emissions, had not come up once in discussions. Australian exporters face growing scrutiny and financial costs under a potential US border adjustment scheme that US President Joe Biden has threatened to put at the centre of his fight against climate change.

Mr Bowen also held meetings with other international counterparts, including Dutch energy minister Rob Jetten and new British climate minister Graham Stuart.

Mr Bowen said he is willing to consider emergency requests from European countries for Australian gas to help ease the energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine, but says none of them have asked yet.

β€œWhen we get requests from other countries, we will consider them.”

Earlier this year, the then Morrison government said it would call upon Australian liquefied natural gas exporters to help Europe through the crisis

Last week The Netherlands, which is suffering from one of the highest rates of energy inflation, announced plans to freeze gas and electricity prices from January.

Advertisement

Germany, which is Europe’s biggest importer of Russian gas, has also been squeezed as Russia reduced supplies in the last few months, sending energy prices soaring in the lead up to the Northern Hemisphere winter.

Joining Mr Bowen at the Pittsburgh forum, Fortescue Future Industries Andrew Forrest announced that his renewable energy arm would partner with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and invest $80 million in renewable energy research.

Mr Bowen also dismissed the discussions on nuclear energy at the Pittsburgh forum, saying they were β€œnot part of the solution” for Australia.

β€œNobody has suggested to me that [nuclear] is something that Australia should be considering. It’s not something Australia has considered, and it’s not something to consider because it is much expensive for new energy,” Mr Bowen said.

Matthew Cranston is the United States correspondent, based in Washington. He was previously the Economics correspondent and Property editor. Connect with Matthew on Twitter. Email Matthew at [email protected]

Read More

  • Energy transition
  • Electric cars

Latest In North America

Fetching latest articles

Most Viewed In World