Australia reaches a turning point in sustainable mobility

Adopting more electric vehicles than the fossil-fuel-powered kind, Australia has reaches a pivotal point in automotive sales with EVs taking the lead

The country has been dealt with some of the worst hands from a sustainability perspective. Australia is known for being prone to the rising heat and the effects thereafter, which impact livelihoods and habitats across the country. 

As a result, there is more consciousness around the climate and how it affects what we see happening on the ground, and while we imagine it can be difficult for many to truly understand the effects they have on the environment, Australia’s automotive scene is evolving to reduce them. 

New electric vehicle (EV) policy in the country will back the use of more efficient vehicles and represent the support given through bipartisan support, led by the Labour party government. 

According to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) EV Index, during the first quarter of 2023, 7,866 battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) were sold in the medium vehicle category, which accounts for 58.3% of the total automotive sales for the quarter. The cars leading in industry sales of BEVs include Tesla, BYD, Volvo, and MG with 21 brands selling across the country. 

The country also saw 1,451 sales of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) in the same quarter. 

While internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles dominate the market overall, this marks a huge step in adoption as the country shifts to more sustainable mobility solutions. 

Australia is known for taking action by various means, such as reducing plastic waste in its oceans, implementing regenerative agriculture strategies, and conserving its wildlife for generations to come. Both its public and authorities have recognised the importance of action in the present moment and make it happen through legislation and activism. 

“We encourage political parties to work together to put all Australians in the best possible position to adopt low- and zero-emissions technologies that best suit their lifestyles, household budgets and consumer needs,” says the Managing Director of the Australian Automobile Association, Michael Bradley. 

“We need collaborative national leadership to manage our environmental challenges, maintain consumer choice, and ensure we can sustainably pay for safer and less congested roads.” 

Is electrification enough to develop Australia sustainability? 

While the current efforts for emissions reduction can be seen in the consumer automotive market, the country must also focus on some of its other industries. As a dependent of extraction and export of natural resources, Australia’s economy is built largely on mining. Electrification will manage the emissions related to driving, but the country must also consider alternatives to coal production as one of the highest producers of the fossil fuel. 

The likely direction for the country will be towards producing some of the crucial materials required to enable EV production, such as lithium, bauxite, cobalt, copper, iron ore, nickel, and rare earth metals.

According to Bain & Company at the end of 2022, 90% of business leaders believed the country to be lagging behind in sustainable development and only 35% of them found there to be opportunities for value creation as a result of the country's industrial actions. 

Overall, sustainable action is an expectation among business leaders and current sale of EVs marks a further step in the right direction. With automotive acceleration, according to Bain, the industry is expected to reach maturity alongside the country’s mining sector and the most critical industry for the country—energy. 

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