The Shadow Minister says 'it’s time for Australia to get back in line with what the rest of the world is doing on electric vehicles', proposing sales targets and proper emissions standards.
The car industry has expressed caution over an "ambitious" plan to have 50 per cent of all new car sales electric by 2030.
Peak body for carmakers in Australia, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), said Labor's proposal for electric vehicles and emissions standards is "ambitious" but "anything's possible" – provided the required infrastructure and buyer incentives are put on the table.
"It's about getting that broader environment right," said Tony Weber, FCAI CEO.
"It's just a question about marrying the incentives to a high enough level to meet the ambitions of the policy," he later added.
"To achieve that level [electric vehicle] penetration that quickly – and it is quickly – requires government support. That support could be direct financial incentives, it could be taxation, or it could other things," he told CarAdvice, calling for private buyers to be considered in the policy as well."
Government fleets would be 50 per cent electric by 2025 under the plan, and the party has promised a 20 per cent depreciation deduction for businesses which buy EVs worth more than $20k for their fleet as part of a climate change policy plan laid out this morning.
Labor's plan also includes mandating emissions standards at 105g/km for light vehicles, although it hasn't laid out a timeline just yet. The standards more closely match those of the USA, not Europe, in a nod to our preference for larger vehicles.
Weber said there's still "a lot of work to be done" preparing to introduce emissions standards, with proper consideration for the vehicle sales split in Australia.
The Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) has also voiced concerns about the proposal, arguing "the company that makes the product should be responsible for meeting the standard," not the dealers.
Mark Butler, shadow minister for climate change and energy, this morning tweeted about "Oz's first national electric vehicle policy" and a push to "make the cost of driving a car cheaper".
“Australia is now the country with the lowest take up of electric vehicles in the OECD," he told ABC News Breakfast.
"We’re the only country without fuel efficiency standards, this means that pollution is rising on our roads and that pollution is rising faster than it should be."
The plan has been lauded by electric vehicle advocates, with Scott Nargar, director of future mobility at Hyundai Australia, describing it as a "big step in the right direction".
"This is really the start of the process," he said. "We need a national strategy."
Labor is the first of the two major parties to lay down concrete plans for the rollout of electric vehicles in Australia, and the first to put in place plans for emissions standards.
The Coalition has promised to develop a "National Electric Vehicle Strategy" but hasn't released any details of what that might entail, with EV Council CEO Behyad Jafari labelling the plan "underwhelming to say the least".
"On the eve of a federal election, we hear the government committing to nothing more than the creation of a plan about a plan," Jafari said.
Meanwhile, The Greens have called for all passenger and light-commercial vehicles to be electric by 2030.