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.
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.