And that means electric vehicles will have to start becoming the rule, not the exception as they are now.
Prior to the 2019 May election, the Australian Labor Party offered as one of its policies a subsidy on electric vehicles. But the government that was elected had no such policy and as a result any Australian who has to buy an electric vehicle today will have to fork out from his/her own pocket.
Electric vehicles are not cheap. I recently had a test drive in the Nissan LEAF, one of the three EVs that is available for sale locally — the others are from BMW and Hyundai — and the price is something that a medium-level petrol vehicle will cost.
The front panel of the LEAF. Courtesy Blackburn Nissan
The issue of charging is being minimised slowly by more and more charging stations being built; additionally, as iTWire reported last year, global digital transformation company Schneider Electric has tied up with EV charging infrastructure installer JET Charge to provide charging equipment for the LEAF for single-storey homes.
This will add an additional $2000 to the cost; one can charge the vehicle overnight at home using stored solar power. Another charging option costs about $500 and the cable can be plugged into any domestic point.
Charging stations are being installed around the country and the fact that the LEAF can run about 300Kms on a full charge will soon not be a drawback.
But for the environmentally-conscious individual, there is a big plus: no more fumes.
The interior of the LEAF is very neat; the instrumentation panel and the rear viewer are very easily readable and clear. The software in the car is also very good, responding immediately to touch.
There are numerous safety features, as is common in most cars these days.
A subsidy from the government, as was done with solar panels, would go a long way to making these vehicles more common on Australian roads. In the long run, the EV will have to become the norm as one major measure to reducing the country's emissions and helping reduce climate change.