If we had fuel standards today, we could bring in electric cars tomorrow

German car maker Volkswagen says ambitious fuel standards in Australia would have an almost immediate impact on the supply blockage of electric vehicles in Australia.

“If we had standards today, we could start bringing in (electric cars) tomorrow,” Paul Sansom, the head of VW Group in Australia, told the EV Summit in Canberra on Friday, where the Labor government has called for submissions to an upcoming discussion paper on the issue.

“That’s a game changer. It really is. Not just for Volkswagen but for all car makers. It will open up the door for more affordable EV, there’s no doubt about that.”

VW is the second biggest car maker in the world by volume, and is one of a number of major car makers that either hasn’t bothered bringing EVs to Australia, or has brought in only limited suplplies because of the lack of fuel standards and other incentives.

Their focus is on markets that do have standards, encouraging car makers to supply more EVs to lower their company wide emissions from the majority fossil fuel fleet.

In VW’s car, this is despite VW having a number of EVs for sale in Europe and elsewhere, including the popular ID.3, ID.4, and ID.5, and with an electric Kombi, the ID.Buzz, also on its way.

VW’s board has given approval, in principle, on the manufacture of the ID.3, ID.4 and the ID.5, for the Australian market, but that has yet to be put in place. VW is coy when it will do, although the betting is on some time in 2023. The ID.4, an electric SUV, is most likely going to be the first on offer.

Sansom made it absolutely clear why there had been a shortage of EV offerings in Australia, and why some car makers like VW had ignored the market for its EV products.

“The supply issue is entirely from the lack of policy leadership,” he said.

“This is why it’s so important. I’m sitting here representing probably 180 dealers around the country and with 1000s of customers, and half of them are walking into our showrooms every day asking for an electric vehicle.

“And we can’t satisfy that demand because we haven’t had leadership and policy. So these these (fuel emission) targets that we’re talking about are incredibly important, because the conversation I had with five different headquarters across Europe.

“And they said well, what’s the situation in Australia for the legislation we’ve got to adhere to, are there some potential penalties that we need to be aware of? I say no and they move on to the  next market?

“And those other markets are getting all the supply and that’s why our consumers here in Australia have been getting shortchanged with the latest, safest technology, the lowest carbon emissions.”

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