Australia Losing Millions ($$$) From Slow Electric Car Transition


A new report has found that Australia is set to lose about $350 million over the next 20 years from not having many incentives stimulating a faster shift to electric cars.

Currently, just about 1,000 electric cars are driving the road in Australia (or 0.01% of the market), and policymakers aren’t doing much to speed up adoption.

EV Policy

The new report, commissioned by the Energy Supply Association of Australia, highlights incentives such as access to priority lanes during rush hour, dedicated parking spaces with charging facilities, and requirements from the Australian government that auto manufacturers make plug-in cars available in Australia.

“Interestingly, the report said that to achieve optimal economic efficiency, Australia should aim to have 4 million EVs over the next 20 years, with interim targets of 900,000 EVs by 2025 and 2.3 million EVs by 2030,” Sophie Vorrath writes.

A lot of the cost to the Australian economy that would come from moving slowly to adopt electric vehicles comes from the import of fossil fuels, which the report estimates to be 30,000 terrjoules higher without a concerted effort to incentivize the EV and natural gas vehicle markets.

Of course, driving cleaner vehicles would also boost the health of Australians a great deal, a matter that wasn’t quantified by the report. Reducing premature death, countless cases of cancer, and all the suffering that comes with that are huge benefits that shouldn’t be forgotten and probably trump the savings from not importing so many fossil fuels.

“We expect this technology to be like solar PV, which, after a slow start, has accelerated significantly over the past decade to a point where we now have the highest penetration rates in the world with 1.4 million homes with solar panels on the roof,” Energy Supply Association of Australia’s Chief Executive, Matthew Warren, says.

“In the same way, once there is a critical mass in the domestic market for alternative fuel vehicles it will bring down costs, support widespread development of charging stations, increase the level of after-sales support and create a re-sale market that will encourage more drivers to buy one.”

Of course, the story is quite similar for countries across the world. Most places import an insane amount of fossil fuel, wasting their own money, and most places suffer from an insane number of premature deaths, cancer, and suffering due to the pollution from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. But once the electric car markets in these places start to take hold, I’m convinced they will grow exponentially due to the many benefits of electric cars.

About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.
  • Objective

    This article is just another puff piece. Germany has the most PV electricity… and the highest electric rates of any continental country because they have to tax thermal electricity in order to prop up PV with subsidies. EV’s are heavily subsidized, too. There are feasible ways of electrifying transportation, but EV fanatics don’t want to hear about them. If I were to mention a particular good concept here, it would likely lead to me being banned from posting here (as happened on ‘CleanTechnica’). Too bad that so many are happily mislead by these websites.

    • super390

      Fossil fuels are subsidized too. America spends more on war than the rest of the world put together; and its active wars have all been in the Middle East for the last quarter century. The Carter Doctrine explicitly tied its interests to the movement of Middle Eastern oil. Its Navy is entirely premised on protecting oil tankers – or attacking them if we don’t like you. And Germany, like all NATO countries, has let its military be turned into an annex of the Pentagon, so its costs are being distorted by America’s military commitments.
      Of course, Europeans could always embrace the costs of fracking at home. No subsidies. Just externalities.

      • Objective

        Damn near fifty cents per gallon tax, which then finances public transit and electric cars, and you say oil is subsidized? Grow up.

  • Christopher Thomas

    I am not sure what “Objective” is trying to say, the article is about the lack of incentives for the Australian EV market and “Objective” seems to be talking about the German overhaul of their power generation mix. Australia (thanks to Tony Abbot) has virtually no subsidies for PV, yet has a very high market penetration of domestic solar installs. Also being coy about how transport could be electrified without involving EVs is a very strange way to sway our opinions toward an argument.

    In the interests of disclosure I am a very happy Nissan Leaf owner which I bought after a huge amount of research into the financial and environmental benefits of EVs,I was not “happily misled” by websites like this in fact I used science and common sense in my choice. I would argue that all the other car websites on the internet “mislead” their readership by failing to mention the thousands who die or are made seriously unwell by vehicle particulate emissions in major cities.

    The Subsidy was not an influencing factor when I bought my Leaf, I would happily have bought it without the subsidy and have saved far more than that financially in the two years I have owned my Leaf.

    Lastly why choose the name “Objective”? In my experience used car dealers who refer to themselves as “Honest John” are usually nothing of the sort and I think the same may well be true here.

    I recommend reading the excellent “Masters of Doubt” for further details on paid internet posters spreading misinformation and factual obfuscation

    P.s. “Objective” is being very patronizing, I have a Masters degree in mechanical engineering which is one of the reasons buying an EV was such an easy decision for me

    • He’s lost. Hopefully he finds his way home and to bed soon.

      • Objective

        Hey Zachary,

        Posting an snide and derogatory personal insult like that is extremely hypocritical of you, considering I’ve seen your admonishments of others for less. People have been banned from posting on some of the sites you contribute to for things far less offensive than that. Of course, the nature of propaganda machines is not to promote open discussion, but to ascend to the bully pulpit and push an agenda. You promote electric cars and solar in your puff piece. Neither is economical. Both rely on heavy public subsidy. Urban legend is that oil is subsidized but the truth is that it is heavily taxed, in part to pay for these ridiculous wastes of resources. Without oil, people would literally begin to starve. Without solar or electric cars, people would burn a little more fuel.

        In your complete devotion to electric cars, how can you know whether or not there are any better approach to electrification of surface transportation? Certainly not by ignoring information on the topic. And if there is a better approach, and if that approach is receiving no public support in part because funds are already earmarked for and consumed by electric cars, then, under those circumstances, isn’t total and blind support of electric cars actually counterproductive to the ultimate environmental goals that electric car advocates seek to achieve?

        When you go to bed, perhaps think about that just for a moment.

    • Objective

      Christopher Thomas,

      If the subsidy was not a factor, then don’t take the money. Otherwise… it is a factor.

      must be very proud of your degree in mechanical engineering to brag
      about it so. Good for you. It means you finished a course of study.
      It doesn’t prove anything other than that.

      I suppose you aren’t
      sure of what I am trying to say, in spite of the fact that what I said
      was in clear and plain English, because you are so prejudiced in favor
      of the fantasies of solar power and electric cars that you are incapable
      of rational investigation comparing the merits and drawbacks of those

      Your indirect accusation that I am paid to post simply because you disagree with me borders on paranoia. What sort of argument is that? News anchors are paid to deliver the news, aren’t they? Does that mean that nothing they say is true? Or only the things they say that are at odds with what you would like to believe?

      I chose the screen name Objective because it was available, and because I evaluate the facts without bias. It would be a misnomer for you though, as your post clearly demonstrates.

      Good day sir.

      • Christopher Thomas

        German PV subsidies.

      • Chris Coza

        “Youmust be very proud of your degree in mechanical engineering to brag
        about it so. Good for you. It means you finished a course of study.
        It doesn’t prove anything other than that.”

        It actually means he is capable of successfully completing a course requiring above average intelligence.

        • Objective

          As opposed to the Benjamin Franklin, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Edison, and Steve Jobs, none of whom completed a course of study requiring above average intelligence. So… what point are you trying to make?

          • Chris Coza

            Thanks for confirming the point.

  • Christopher Thomas

    I am still waiting for objective to engage with any of the points raised here. The cognitive dissonance approach being employed by “objective” will, I feel, fail to sway any of the people who regularly read and post here.