Australia steps up deployment of electric car charging stations

SYDNEY / MELBOURNE, Nov. 9 (Reuters) – The Australian government on Tuesday pledged A $ 178 million ($ 132 million) to speed up the deployment of hydrogen refueling and charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs), a move that , critics say, falls far short of global best practice.

Environmental activists and electric vehicle advocates have called for tax breaks and sales targets to boost adoption of cleaner vehicles in a country where transportation is the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the investment offered “an Australian way” to reduce transport emissions, reiterating a slogan he recently introduced to describe the country’s common ground on climate change policy .

“We will not force Australians out of the car they want to drive or penalize those who can least afford it with bans or taxes,” Morrison said in a statement.

“Instead, the strategy will work to reduce the cost of low-emission, zero-emission vehicles.”

The strategy is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 8 million tonnes by 2035, the government said, based on a projection that battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will account for 30% of annual car sales. new vehicles and light trucks by 2030.

However, the Electric Vehicle Council called the strategy a “fizzer”, saying it should at least have included fuel efficiency standards and discounts on electric vehicles to give Australians more choice.

“If Australia continues to be one of the only developed countries without energy efficiency standards, we will continue to be a dumping ground for the world’s dirtiest vehicles,” said Council Director General Behyad Jafari , in a press release.

Morrison in 2019 slammed an opposition Labor Party proposal to target half of all new car sales to be electric by 2030, saying the policy would “end the weekend” for Australians who wish tow their trailers and boats for camping.

Sales of battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in Australia hit a record 8,688 in the first half of 2021, but only accounted for 1.6% of total light vehicle sales. In Norway, the world leader in the switch to low-emission cars, sales of battery-electric vehicles accounted for nearly 80% of new car sales in September. Read more

The funding for transport infrastructure was announced just weeks after Morrison adopted a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 amid international criticism that the major coal and gas producer was not doing enough to fight against climate change.

($ 1 = AU $ 1.3517)

Reporting by Renju Jose and Sonali Paul; edited by Jane Wardell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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