Federal Government launches inquiry into transition to EVs

by Petrol Mum
MG4 XPOWER charging info

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water has commenced an inquiry into the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia.

“Australian motorists are increasingly choosing EVs when purchasing a new car. The percentage of EVs sold is growing every year, moving to 7.2 per cent of all new cars sold in 2023 up from less than 3 per cent in 2022. The inquiry will consider the necessary resources, systems and infrastructure for this transition and the impacts of moving away from traditional vehicles,” said Chair of the Committee, Mr Tony Zappia MP.

“The Committee will also explore opportunities such as fuel savings and affordability for residents in outer regions to make this shift beneficial for everyone. Our focus will also be on the future of EV battery manufacturing, and we will consider challenges on electricity consumption and demand and our limited EV supply compared to other countries,” added Mr Zappia.

The Committee is made up of nine Members of Parliament the majority being Labor MPs, with two Liberal MPs, one Nationals MP, and one Independent MP.

Written submissions providing recommendations relating to any or all of the below inquiry terms of reference are being sort by Friday, 22 March 2024. The Committee’s Terms of Reference are:

  • the establishment of resources, systems and infrastructure required to support transition to EVs
  • the impact of moving from internal combustion engine vehicles, including fuel excise loss, existing auto industry component manufacturers and the environment
  • the opportunities for fuel savings, such as by combining EVs with other consumer energy technologies and savings for outer suburban and regional motorists
  • the impact on electricity consumption and demand
  • the opportunities for expanding EV battery manufacturing, recycling, disposal and safety, and other opportunities for Australia in the automotive value chain to support the ongoing maintenance of EVs
  • the impact of Australia’s limited EV supply compared to peer countries, and
  • any other relevant matters.

Further information about the Committee’s inquiry is available on the inquiry webpage. On the site, you can make a submission to the inquiry, read other submissions, and get details for upcoming public hearings. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track this Committee’ button.

The Climate Council recently released data showing that Australians can potentially save hundreds of dollars on a family road trip between Sydney to Melbourne or Sydney to Brisbane. But looking closer at the methodology of their findings I noticed some potential flaws in their calculations:

  • The electricity price used for calculating the cost of ‘filling up’ was the grid electricity price per kWh, which is less than what you will pay at EV charging stations,
  • The extra time taken to reach the destination was not costed, an eight hour drive to Melbourne could potentially blow out to more than 12 hours with charging times and waiting for a charging station to become available.
  • Plus the longer a road trip takes the more stressed passengers become and the more ‘bribes’ that need to be paid to keep children happy. This could quickly add up, thereby negating any potential savings made by driving an EV.

When I questioned the impact of increased waiting times during peak holiday periods Climate Council Head of Advocacy, Dr Jennifer Rayner said, “As we see more and more people deciding to switch to an EV, it’s important that both government and industry are working together to identify where enabling infrastructure, like charging, is most needed.

This will help make a road trip in an EV even more convenient by reducing potential wait times at popular destinations. We’re already seeing the infrastructure improve rapidly, such as through reduced reports of long waits at key holiday spots this summer compared with last.”

I have previously raised concerns that EVs are not as ‘green’ as consumers are led to believe and I think that the true environmental impacts of EVs need to be understood before the Australian Government commits to the phasing out of internal combustion engines.

Photograph by Driven Women Magazine.

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