Electric vehicles (EVs) assist in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from transport. Supply is not the biggest problem to increasing the share of our fleet (all cars) that are EVs. Greater still is that we keep our cars so long that internal combustion engines (ICE) vehicles will take decades to phase out.
ACT has more EVs than any other Australian city (Shane Rattenbury) but as with most things related to climate change, Australia is at the back of the pack compared to other countries, particularly in Europe. In Denmark, EVs are the norm. Despite the gains with EVs, Australia struggles to reduce emissions from vehicles.
EVs reduce GHGs but SUVs cancel out any gains
The sales of electric vehicles (EV) are booming around the world. EVs are great but they do not solve the congestion problem in our cities where space is of a premium. Electric vehicles, though, reduce emissions of green house gases (GHG) and contribute to climate change mitigation. The sales of SUVs are also booming, which is unfortunate, as these vehicles are so big and heavy to cancel out any gains we have achieved from the sales of electric vehicles.
A recent analysis found the emissions saved from electric cars have been more than cancelled out by the increase in gas-guzzling Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs). Around the world, SUVs alone emit more carbon pollution than Canada or Germany, and are causing a bigger increase in climate pollution than heavy industry.Kimberly Nicholas, 12 best ways to get cars out of cities ranked by new research, The Conversation, 14 April 2022.
A divided world of EVs
On one hand we have announcement to phase internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.
To date, around 34 countries have announced policies that set a future deadline for banning new registrations of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. This has been accompanied by announcements from automakers such as Ford, Volkswagen and General Motors of plans to phase out ICE cars from their production lines.Laura Cozzi, Apostolos Petropoulos, Global SUV sales set another record in 2021, setting back efforts to reduce emissions, IEA, 21 December 2021.
On the other hand, SUVs sales are growing.
Global SUV sales have proven very resilient throughout the pandemic, growing by over 10% between 2020 and 2021. In 2021, SUVs are on course to account for more than 45% of global car sales – setting a new record in terms of both volume and market share. The growth of SUVs continues to be robust in several countries, including the United States, India and across Europe.Laura Cozzi, Apostolos Petropoulos, Global SUV sales set another record in 2021, setting back efforts to reduce emissions, IEA, 21 December 2021.
It would seem that Australia belongs to the later group.