The government has dropped the ball on electric vehicles but Australia can still catch up, says the country’s first report into the sector.

The Senate Select Committee on Electric Vehicles has made 17 recommendations that could light a rocket under Australia’s lagging EV uptake – but first the federal and state governments must pull their collective fingers out.

Widespread use of EVs in Australia would deliver significant economic, environmental and health benefits to Australian consumers and society, according to the report.

It would also create new opportunities for Australian industry.

But those who responded to the committee’s call for submissions related worries about higher upfront costs, driving range, lack of charging infrastructure, and limited model availability.

These are the key factors hindering consumer uptake in Australia, the committee heard, and without appropriate regulatory settings Australia’s near-term EV uptake “is likely to be modest”.

The first recommendation is basic: prioritise the development of a national EV strategy and an inter-governmental taskforce to lead its implementation.

Other recommendations include:

  • National EV targets for light passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and metropolitan buses (including Government fleets)
  • More stringent vehicle emissions standards and a new CO2 standard, “informed by those implemented in other developed countries”.
  • A consumer education campaign to raise awareness of the capabilities and benefits of EVs.
  • A comprehensive 10-year EV manufacturing roadmap, also covering R&D, vehicle and system design, and battery and component manufacturing.
  • National training for automotive service technicians in relation to EVs.
  • Funding of apprenticeships and traineeships in the local EV and associated manufacturing sectors.
  • A 10-year plan detailing priority electricity network infrastructure upgrades needed to manage demand from EVs.
  • Make amendments to the National Construction Code to render all new dwellings ‘EV charger ready’.

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