AAlmost half of Australians support banning petrol and diesel cars by 2030, according to a new poll.
For electric vehicle brand Polestar, a global study of 18,000 people, surveyed buyers across Australia (1000 people, considered a statistically valid sample size), as well as Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. found that 34 percent of consumers support a ban on internal combustion engines (ICE) by the end of the decade.
This number increases to 47 percent by a little later in 2035, and specifically to 48 percent in Australia.
Polestar does not specify the lifestyle of its Australian respondents, but the results indicate a predominantly urban distribution.
Could Australia Ever Really Consider Banning Internal Combustion Vehicle Sales?
Currently, Australia has no timeframe in mind for phasing out ICE sales, although the ACT has set its own target of 2035.
Following the Labor election in May, Australia pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, but as the year did not have a legalized fuel efficiency standard for cars it launched a consultation this month to rectify that .
Polestar Australia head Samantha Johnson acknowledged Australia still has a long way to go to meet its goal of reaching net zero by 2050, but the Government’s recent passage of the Climate Change Bill signals a new direction .
“With the introduction of the law, Australia will have more certainty, more transparency and a clearer path to reducing emissions,” she said. “A low-emission vehicle strategy is the obvious next step and we welcome the opportunity to help shape that strategy with the release of the government’s discussion paper later this month.”
In June, the European Council of Environment Ministers agreed that by 2035 new cars put on the EU market must be zero-emission vehicles.
Similarly, at COP26 late last year, a number of automakers signed the Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans – a commitment to phase out fossil fuel vehicles between 2035 and 2040.
But Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath argues that a global ban on ICE vehicles needs to come sooner.
“With only 1.5 percent of vehicles on the road today being electric, it’s clear we’re living in an EV bubble, not an EV boom,” he said.
“This decade is the most critical we’ve ever faced in terms of not breaching the Paris Agreement. We need governments to be at the forefront with robust policies, both on infrastructure and on electricity prices, so drivers can safely switch to electric, but more importantly, automakers need to act now, not policy changes waiting.”
The new study also revealed that three-quarters of respondents believe society needs to consume differently to preserve the climate and environment for future generations.
“With climate leaders meeting in New York this week and COP27 just around the corner, it’s clear that climate meetings are getting tired,” added Ingenlath.
“Businesses and consumers can become the antidote to this. While we don’t write policies, we have the power to act now and drive real change. We have a responsibility and it’s up to us to send a signal and show we’re ready.”
The forgotten buyers
Unlike many overseas markets, particularly Europe and the many densely populated urban areas of North America, Australia is a vast island content with a much smaller population spread across distant, smaller capital cities – and an even more sparsely populated cluster of regional cities and towns.
For Australia to consider the idea of banning internal combustion engine cars, a federal government brave enough to set a date would also likely need to pour billions into renewable energy and high-speed charging infrastructure along the country’s many regional roads that most city dwellers can barely visualize .
It would also need billions in incentives to make larger electric vehicles more affordable, since most options suitable for families’ needs are currently priced in excess of $60,000.
Any sales ban would also likely need to include a number of caveats to support buyers and businesses in regions until that investment is complete, so sales of new ICE models can continue in some areas.