0543 GMT December 15, 2019
The progressive thinktank surveyed a nationally representative sample 0f 1,536 Australians about their attitudes to electric vehicles, theguardian.com wrote.
It found support was similar across all states and territories, including 52 percent in Victoria and Western Australia, 49 percent in Queensland and 48 percent in New South Wales.
Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed were opposed to the idea.
The poll was conducted online between February 20 and March 4, with representative samples by gender, age, state and territory.
Release of the polling comes at the end of a week in which the transition to electric vehicles in order to cut Australia’s carbon emissions from transport, which make up 19 percent of all emissions, has dominated debate about climate policy before the election.
Carmakers have signaled they are making the shift, with Hyundai Motor Group calling for an end to ‘fear-mongering’ over new vehicle technologies.
On Friday, the independent senator Tim Storer, who chaired a Senate committee inquiry into electric vehicles, said he was ‘deeply concerned’ by what he saw as an anti-technology scare campaign being run by some within the government and the media.
“It is akin to someone in 1990 arguing mobile phones were not going to take off. It flies in the face of fact, and the public should not buy it.”
Several countries have already announced they will ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars in coming years, including Norway, the Netherlands, India, Ireland, Israel, the UK, France, Spain and China.
In the Australia Institute’s poll, more than half of Labor voters (56 percent) supported the idea that 100 percent of new vehicle sales be electric by 2025, and 65 percent of Greens voters.
Forty two percent of Coalition voters were in favor, versus 38 percent who were opposed, with the remainder unsure.
Respondents were also asked if they would support or oppose a national program to switch to an electrically charged transport system, including public transport.
Overall, 62 percent supported this idea, including 55 percent of Coalition voters, 71 percent of Labor voters, 78 percent of Greens voters and 54 percent of those who vote for other parties or independents. Some of the strongest support for this idea was among Queensland (62 percent) and Western Australia (68 percent) respondents.
“Australians already have a strong appetite for electric vehicles, with 50 percent interested in purchasing an electric vehicle by 2025 — a full five years earlier than Labor’s EV target and significantly faster than the government’s strategy” Richie Merzian, the climate and energy program director at the Australia Institute, said.
“Australia Institute research shows that Australians across all parties support a national electric vehicle policy — all that’s missing is policy leadership.”
The major parties have clashed over electric vehicle policy this week, with the prime minister, Scott Morrison, criticizing Labor’s target for 50 percent of new vehicles to be electric by 2030.
He later backtracked to say the issue “isn’t about electric cars, this is about the fact that Bill Shorten can’t explain what his policies mean to Australians”.
Australia lags behind most other OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries in implementing clear emissions policies for transport.
Hyundai said this week the next government needed a clear policy on vehicles, including vehicle emissions standards that have driven the switch to EVs in the northern hemisphere.
Merzian said Australia could also look to countries such as Norway, which has introduced incentives such as making electric vehicles exempt from sales tax, waiving fees for road tolls and parking, and providing rebates on registration of electric vehicles.
Merzian said such targets only seemed out of reach for Australia because the country was so far behind in policy and infrastructure.
“Instead of driving Australia backwards by preserving our gas-guzzlers, any future government should look to the fine example of countries like Norway who already reached 50 percent of new car registrations as EVs in 2018 by using popular public incentives to accelerate electric vehicle uptake,” he said.