“Strong vehicle emission standards will incentivise manufacturers to bring their EV models to Australia and prioritise their sale, and encourage greater uptake of more efficient petrol and diesel vehicles,” the Greens say.

It’s all well and good to want overseas manufacturers to bring their EV or Hybrid vehicles to Australia for sale, but The Greens miss one important point.

The new car market in Australia (circa 1.3 million last year) is miniscule compared to the sale of new vehicles worldwide. And the majority of these sales are Left Hand Drive.

The cost of building RH drive vehicles is higher and given, that design and build complexity, transit to Australia, and our tax regime (gst and LCT) the RRP price of that vehicle here is always going to be higher.

John Button (1933-2008) Had a Plan

I think it was John Button (1933-2008) who first proposed a pollution measuring price matrix for Aussie cars. Back then, when climate pain was a distant issue, Button suggested targeting a co2 rate of around 200. His take was to force manufacturers to average out their polluting vehicles. In other words it was ok for Chrsyler to have a stonking V8, but other cars in the range must bring the average pollution rate donw to 200.

The greens are proposing a rate of 105g CO2/km. And whilst that level is certainly achievable in say 20 years, it must transition to that figure from our current average.

Australia is a unique country – 75% of vehicles sold are light commercial and SUV. And in the legendary words of Dorothea Mackellar:

“I love a sunburnt country.  A land of sweeping plains. Of ragged mountain ranges. Of droughts and flooding rains”. I love her far horizons. I love her jewel-sea. Her beauty and her terror. The wide brown land for me”

What electric vehicles can cope with our Australia?

Now they don’t have “Australia Conditions”  in Europe, the UK, China, Japan or even the USA.

The latte sipping urbanites may think that everyone should be driving an EV or low emission vehicle, but they’re not out in the country, working on building sites, on rural property or traversing lands such as The Great Sandy Desert, Moreton or Frazer Islands or anywhere in the Northern Territory.

Hyundai Kona EV – $65,000 in Australia V $30,000 for the ICE model

There just isn’t a viable Electric Vehicle choice for any of these categories of new vehicle buyers – yet.

And then there’s interstate, intrastate, or local road transport. Sure Elon Musk has Semi on the drawing boards, but it’s a long way off being available here in Australia if at all.

Tesla Semi won’t get here any time soon

So whether it’s The Greens, Labor or any other party or group of politicians, the bottom line is that any plan needs to be sensible and not just a wacky idea.

Pick a date and then work towards achieving a particular goal – one that may be a big, hairy and audacious goal, but achievable if everyone pulls in the same direction.

We as a country must discuss this sensibly. The Greens seem to be too radical, The Left seems to follow The Greens and the conservatives don’t seem to have a real plan at all.

Let’s have a discussion on achievable goals with all interested parties – manufacturers, consumers, politicians should discuss the issue and create a plan. And the ‘working group’ shouldn’t have any political sway from one side or another.

People from the auto industry, intelligent people from the political spectrum (a Barry Jones type of person, or a John Howard – heck I’d even cop Julia Gillard or Malcolm Turnbull) who can formulate a go-forward that will engage all levels of the community seeking an outcome.

But don’t put Richard De Natalie or Sarah Hanson-Young in front of me. I’m sure that they and their cohorts just don’t get it.

I Love a Sunburnt Country, A Land of Sweeping Plains