Auto industry slows down electric vehicles amid inventory shortages, references debate

Despite Australia’s growing interest in electric cars, the auto industry has warned customers of lengthy delays for the hi-tech vehicles – and pointed to other low-emission options better suited to local conditions.

The Australian car industry says it is struggling with an unprecedented demand for electric cars and is urging customers to be patient as such vehicles require three times as many conventional semiconductor cars.

In the same breath, the industry leaders last week redoubled their stance that electric cars are not necessarily the environmental savior in Australia they are being called.

Speaking to the Australian Automotive Dealers Association conference in Brisbane last week, industry veteran and AADA chairman, David Blackhall, said: “Not everyone understands that battery electric vehicles are not necessarily the answer to (emissions reductions) depending on how you measure it.

“If you take all the carbon that an electric car generates in its manufacture, in batteries and in the use of electricity, then clearly the winner (in this comparison about the 180,000 km long life of a car) is not a purely battery electric vehicle. , not for our country.

“The winner is actually a hybrid vehicle,” said Mr Blackhall.

He noted that given the mix of Australia’s predominantly coal-fired and gas-fired power grids, “hybrids make sense” and have so far proven to be the most effective in reducing vehicle emissions on local roads.

Japanese car giant Toyota has sold more than 250,000 hybrids in Australia in the past 20 years, cutting emissions from those vehicles in half.

“I’m not saying electric vehicles are bad,” said Mr Blackhall. “I’m just saying we’re rushing down a rabbit hole here without stopping to think about where it might take us.

“Electric cars need massive cooperation and investment from the government and others to even meaningfully attack the (energy) grid.”

Electric car sales in Australia are already growing at a record pace, but demand is expected to increase further following the announcement of proposals to provide further tax exemptions or rebates.

James Voortman, head of the Australian Automotive Dealers Association (AADA), said in a separate speech at the conference: “While we as dealers would like to sell every Australian a new electric vehicle, we need to be realistic about the challenges involved.

“The supply chain problems we are currently experiencing with cars apply equally, if not more, to electric vehicles, which require even more semiconductors than traditional (gasoline or diesel) vehicles.

“Electric cars also require a range of crucial minerals, which will require ramping up mining activities.

“This is great news… for Australia, which is a mining superpower.

“However,” said Mr. Voortman, customers and policymakers “need to be realistic about when battery-powered electric vehicles will become affordable – and more widely adopted.”

Referring to hybrid vehicles, Mr. Voortman also said it is important for customers and policymakers to note “what other technologies, which are not purely battery-electric, can help us (lower) emissions.”

Amid the hype and fascination with electric vehicles, the auto industry is currently working to alert policymakers to the importance of giving Australian car buyers a choice between low- and zero-emission vehicles.

“The outcome of the federal election has highlighted climate change in a way that has never happened in this country before,” said Mr. Voortman. “And our industry, quite frankly, will be asked to do more with regard to emissions reduction.”

An auto expert for research firm Deloitte, Lee Peters, told the conference, “Right now (electric vehicles) account for about 2 percent of (total new car sales). All reports say it will be about 40 percent by 2030. to be.

“For all the fuss and all the media (attention), 40 percent seems like a lot,” says Peters.

“What does that mean? By 2030 there will be about three million (electric vehicles) on the road and 15 million vehicles (petrol or diesel).

“So we’re still going to be a predominant (gasoline or diesel) car company for the next five, ten or twenty years, but we’re going to make sure we integrate (electric vehicles) into everything we do.”

Lee said the auto industry and new car showrooms “have to become the educators to make sure the market is aware.”

“(Dealers) can become charging stations,” says Peters. “We want to ensure that the dealer plays an integral role in this step towards electrification.”

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for over 20 years, spending most of his time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as a motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice/Drive at the end of 2018 and has been a World Car of the Year judge for 10 years.

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