In 2019 on the old Cat I submitted a guest post about electric vehicles. I was neither pro nor con towards electric (or other zero emission vehicles) and merely pointed to their inevitability. Part of that post said:
We will notice a profound change over the next few years on the roads, and in the showrooms. Some basic research found:
• Toyota – minimum 10 electric vehicles by 2022-23. Minimum US$13 billion on battery development (excludes vehicle development).
• VW – 50 EV models by 2025/6 (aspirational of 80 models!). Investing US$40 billion in vehicle technology and battery development.
• Hyundai/Kia – 31 to 38 EV models by 2026/7.
• Ford – Offering 16 EVs by 2026.
• Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi Alliance – 12 new EVs by 2022/3.
• PSA Alliance (Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, Vauxhall) – 15 new EV’s by 2024/5.
I went on to detail Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Volvo and others, plus the massive investments of those companies in zero emission vehicles and the planned vehicle releases. I noted that heavy vehicles were an entirely different issue and electricity supply was a concern.
In view of the recent announcement that US President Joe Biden has signed an Executive Order that targets (not mandates) 50 per cent of all new vehicles sold in the US be zero emission by 2030, I thought it was timely to re-visit the issue.
To recap, Biden said: “The future of the auto industry is electric – and made in America. Today I’m signing an executive order with a goal to make 50 per cent of new vehicles sold by 2030 zero-emission – and unveiling steps to reverse the previous administration’s short-sighted rollback of vehicle standards.”
I don’t know whether that target is achievable in the US by 2030 but Ford have already developed the Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle and the soon to arrive electric F-Series pick-up truck. The F-Series is the bestselling vehicle in the US and one of the highest selling vehicles in the world.
Believe it or not, General Motors is bringing back the Hummer as an electric vehicle. The Hummer will be reborn as an all-electric adventure machine in 2023. Using triple electric motors, the Hummer will reportedly launch from 0-100km/h in about 3.5 seconds, which is quicker than the current BMW M3.
Those vehicles are just part of the combined $63 billion Ford and GM will invest in electric vehicles over the coming decade. I’m sure they’re expecting a return on that investment.
The choice of zero-emission vehicles on offer in Australia will increase substantially over the next five years. Based on manufacturer offerings, I expect there will be relatively few new internal combustion engine cars for sale in Australia by 2030/31 and by 2035/6, they will be rare. By 2040, forget it. Australia is too small a market for a manufacturer to justify offering the same model with electric and ICE variants.
What remains unclear is the extent of incentives offered by the federal and state governments to prompt changeover. NSW and Victoria offer modest incentives on registration and vehicle charging costs whilst the federal government offer a very modest concession of the Luxury Car Tax that principally benefits top end Tesla buyers. However, most state governments are also considering a usage charge on owners to offset the forecast loss of fuel tax revenue.
If I may be allowed a prediction, I doubt that incentives will be significant. Governments will be well aware of the inevitability of electric or other zero emission vehicles – after all, at a federal level, they voted for it in the UN.
Therefore, if the world’s manufacturers are headlong changing to zero emission vehicles and the consumer has no choice, why offer incentives? If I was a deceitful tax greedy government with huge debt, I would pay mere lip service to your grumblings. What makes you think our actual government(s) are any different?