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Scott Morrison’s electric vehicle goal ‘too low’, says Trevor St Baker

Energy billionaire and long-time Liberal donor Trevor St Baker has questioned Scott Morrison’s new electric vehicle strategy, believing the goal to have 1.7 million electric vehicles on Australian roads by 2030 is unambitious.

Mr St Baker has made millions from his stake in a coal-fired power station as well Tritium, one of the world’s largest electric ­vehicle fast-charging companies.

He said the government’s projection that 30 per cent of all new cars sold by 2030 would be either electric or hybrid was low.

“Australia will have to follow the world,” he said. “Most countries and even auto manufacturers have set higher targets for zero-emissions vehicles alone.

“At least it is a start and I think the market will increase faster than that anyway.”

Mr Morrison on Tuesday unveiled the “future fuels strategy”, committing to spend $250m on electric vehicle charging infrastructure as part of the government’s push to net zero by 2050.

New public charging stations, accessible by up to 84 per cent of the population, will help cut transport emissions by more than eight million tonnes by 2035.

Mr St Baker, a part-owner in the Vales Point coal-fired power station in NSW, said the uptake of electric vehicles was “essential for net-zero emission and public health”. “Everyone you speak to is wondering if their next car is going to be electric so they need the charging stations,” he said.

“Now that there are more $35,000 EVs coming on to the market, I think we have arrived at the break-even tipping point.

“More people are looking at the savings. Home charging costs 3c/km, public charging costs about 6c/km, and the typical gasoline cost is about 15c/km.”

EVs make up fewer than 2 per cent of all new ­vehicle purchases in Australia, compared with 15 per cent in Britain, nearly 11 per cent in China and more than 70 per cent in Norway.

Mr St Baker said Australia would soon catch up as global manufacturers phase out internal combustion engines and there is “mass uptake” of electric vehicles.

“I think it will ramp up very quickly as all of the world goes electric,” he said. “A lot of people turn over cars every four to six years and there will be a lot of people making that choice between now and 2030.”

Some states, including Victoria and NSW, have introduced financial rebates for new electric vehicle purchases, while other jurisdictions have ­offered to waive stamp duty and registration fees.

Source: The Australian