Australia is ready to become a sustainable EV-making global powerhouse, the Australia Institute’s Carmichael Centre reports.
That’s provided the federal government acts swiftly and decisively, according to the centre’s latest research in its 60-page report Rebuilding Vehicle Manufacturing in Australia: Industrial Opportunities in an Electrified Future.
It says Australia has advantages to attract and retain EV manufacturing and rebuild the nation’s car-making capacity, but that potential will not be met without major government action.
“When it comes to creating an EV manufacturing sector, Australia enjoys advantages other nations would die for: rich reserves of lithium and rare earths, strong industrial infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce, powerful training capacity, abundant renewable energy options, and untapped consumer potential,” report lead author Dr Mark Dean says.
“And contrary to popular belief, we wouldn’t be starting from scratch. Thanks to the resilience of our remaining automotive manufacturing supply chain, a surprising amount of auto manufacturing work – including components, specialty vehicles, and engineering – still exists here.”
But Dean says his research found Australia’s advantages would count for little without significant government support.
The report’s recommendations include establishing an EV Manufacturing Industry Commission, using tax incentives to encourage firms involved in the extraction of key minerals – primarily lithium and rare earths – with local manufacturing capabilities, especially emerging Australian EV battery industries; and introducing a long-term strategy for vocational training, ensuring the establishment of skills to service major EV manufacturers looking to set up operations Australia.
Other include offering major global manufacturers incentives (tax incentives, access to infrastructure, potential public capital participation, and more) to global manufacturers to set up – especially in Australian regions undergoing transition from carbon-intensive industries.
Local procurement laws for the rapid electrification of government vehicle fleets should also be introduced, the report suggests.
“No nation builds a major industry without its government taking a proactive role. Our new research shows there’s no excuse for inaction, because there are a huge range of powerful levers our government could be pulling,” Dean says.
“If we capture the moment we’ll capture abundant benefits; creating tens of thousands of regional manufacturing jobs, reducing our dependence on raw resource extraction, reinforcing our accelerating transition toward non-polluting energy sources, and spurring innovation, research, and engineering activity in Australia. We just need our government to act.”
Australian e-mobility innovator SEA Electric supports the new report.
“SEA Electric commends the work of Dr Dean and the Carmichael Centre in preparing this report, and the light it shines on the potential for the EV manufacturing space here in Australia,” SEA Electric Asia Pacific Region president Bill Gillespie says.
“Since the closure of the Australian car manufacturing industry, there remains a sophisticated skills base locally, as evidenced in our local design and engineering team.
“The strong local uptake of electric cars in 2021 points to the possibilities, but in commercial vehicles, companies need to see a pathway from governments to be assured that they are investing in a sustainable emission technology for their fleets,” Gillespie explains.
“With around 20,000 diesel light and medium-duty trucks currently sold annually, Australia’s net-zero emissions goal by 2050 will not be met unless all governments take action to support the purchase of electric trucks.
“We back a framework from the various governments to incentivise Australian companies like SEA Electric to invest in what we know is a bright future.”
Read the full article at Auto Talk published on February 8, 2022.