In the last decade, Australia has been lagging behind in the global race towards electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Despite the many economic and environmental benefits EVs can bring to our cities and communities, EV sales have been low with only a few, very expensive models available to Aussies. However this is starting to change.
In recent years we have begun to see the industry and policy leadership required to drive EV uptake in Australia. State governments are introducing upfront incentives and investing in charging infrastructure, and the Federal Government has released its National EV Strategy and announced its intention to introduce Fuel Efficiency Standards (FES).
Uber is a strong supporter of FES. Globally we have seen it is one of the most effective climate change mitigation measures, and it is the last missing piece of the Australian EV policy puzzle. However it will not be enough to just introduce a FES, we need a strong FES that is comparable to global counterparts and will catch Australia up by the end of the decade. A robust and ambitious FES will have three main outcomes for Aussies:
- Cheaper and more affordable cars for Australian drivers
- More choice and variety of EV models, and
- Higher volumes of EVs to expedite Australia’s transition to sustainable transportation
Why is this important to Uber? Uber has a global ambition to become a zero-emissions platform by 2040. EV rideshare also presents an enormous opportunity to accelerate emissions reduction. By promoting the EV transition for high kilometre users, like rideshare drivers, we can have an outsized impact and realise four times the emissions reduction benefits when compared to average car owners.
Two-thirds of Uber driver-partners tell us they want to make the change to an EV, but less than 1 in 5 driver partners think their next car will be an EV. The number one barrier at present is the high upfront cost of EV models in Australia. A FES which encourages automakers to prioritise their affordable EV models for this market is critical to ensuring an equitable and just transition to electric transport.
Uber’s submission to the Government emphasises how rideshare can accelerate EV adoption, particularly for rideshare industry drivers who spend significant time on the roads and face associated costs. We are also clear that to be effective, and achieve the policy outcomes Australia needs, the FES needs to be ambitious and work to align with global counterparts like the EU and US by 2030.
Uber has already taken steps as a business to help drive EV adoption, such as the introduction of reduced service fees for drivers using battery electric vehicles, but Australia’s transition will require a whole-of-economy effort.
Making EVs more economical for existing drivers and aligning with overseas commitments are crucial steps. Currently, EVs remain prohibitively expensive for many Australians.
Ambitious targets and rigorous fuel efficiency standards, coupled with government support, offer hope for catching up with peer countries. Achieving a sustainable mobility future requires the government’s active participation.