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  • John McDonnell

Mandating EV’s may cause collateral damage

PM Morrison inside an electric vehicle during a visit to the Hunter Valley on 8 November

The ACT, Tasmania, South Australia and NSW have all adopted targets for the introduction of electric vehicles, but it is unclear how they intend to implement these policies.

There are two mechanisms that are commonly used to achieve EV targets: mandated quotas for vehicle registrations or imports and mandated emission standards for vehicles. Both of these could result in collateral damage for some special groups in Australia.

Take, for example, people in regional Australia who purchased new work vehicles as a consequence of the tax incentives introduced by the government as part of the pandemic stimulus package. If the mandates are a part of the implementation policy employed by state governments, these vehicle owners will be obliged to replace their working utes with electric vehicles or alternatively buy much more expensive vehicles that comply with European emission standards.

At the moment, tradespeople, rural workers and farmers favour heavy-duty diesel vehicles that can travel 1300 kilometres on a tank of fuel. This gives them maximum flexibility to travel on or off-road away from population centres without worrying about fuel security. This is something that can’t be achieved with electric vehicles.

The other impact on this group of car owners is the destruction of the used car market. If they are obliged to buy cars that are compliant with new vehicle emission standards, then they are likely to get very little for their current models as their unregistrable trade-ins will be headed straight to the wreckers. Owners of regional businesses with fleets of vehicles on lease will be badly impacted.

Another group that will suffer is aboriginals who live in remote communities. These people are often dependent on long-wheel based Toyotas for their commutes along often near non-existent roads over rough terrain. There are not likely to be charging stations along their roads to town and the communities and those that could afford brand new Toyotas capable of handling bush conditions and still comply with emission standards will be few and far between.

What would happen to people who have to do an off-the-bitumen 500 kilometre trip to town for dialysis three times a week, hasn’t been factored into climate policy.

It is obviously easier for people who live in the city to give up their gas-guzzling, fossil-fuel polluting conveyances than it is for people in the bush. After all, Woollies' are offering free charging while they do the shopping, and if they shop frequently and don’t drive much, they will be able to use their car as a backup battery for their solar system and maybe even make a little extra money on the side pumping free Woolies’ power into the grid.

However, not everyone in the city will avoid collateral damage. Your correspondent owns a 1987 Jaguar Sovereign 3 with a V12 motor. Given the ACT government’s predilection for authoritarian mandates, he fully expects that sometime in the future, when he tries to register it, he will be directed to take it to the wreckers because it is poisoning the community.

I shudder to think of the mental anguish that will befall my fellow members of the Jaguar Drivers Car Club some of whom have lovingly restored classic models now worth more than $250,000.

The collateral damage bill could be quite expensive.


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