The world’s biggest automakers will build 400 million more vehicles than the 1.5C climate target will allow

According to a study, the world’s largest automakers plan to build about 400 million more diesel and gasoline cars than is sustainable to contain global warming.

Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Bergisch Gladbach University of Applied Industrial Sciences and Greenpeace Germany compared the speed at which the world needed to adopt zero-emission vehicles with the speed at which major automakers planned to produce various models.

The report, which looked at 12 carmakers around the world, showed some of Australia’s most popular brands – Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai/Kia – were on track to make far more petrol and diesel cars than t is only sustainable if the world is to limit global warming to the Paris Climate Agreement target of 1.5°C.

The researchers calculated the global carbon budget – how much carbon the world can still emit and stay within a 1.5°C envelope – using a climate model developed by UTS and arrived at a figure of 53 Gt.

“The carbon budget of 53Gt allows the sale of 315 million additional ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles from 2022,” the report said.

“At the same time, however, projected ICE sales vary between at least 645 million and 778 million vehicles. This represents a 105% to 147% overrun of the number of sales of ICEs compatible with 1.5 °C.”

Automakers around the world are turning to electric vehicles, with companies such as Volvo, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz planning to stop making gasoline engines, some as early as 2025.

But Toyota was expected to produce 63 million more petrol and diesel cars than was sustainable, followed by Volkswagen with 43 million and Hyundai with 39 million, the report said.

Sven Teske, associate professor at UTS and co-author of the report, said research has shown there is a need for a global ban on new gasoline-powered vehicles beyond 2030.

“By 2030 at the latest, all new vehicles sold on the market must be electric,” Teske said.

Dr Robin Smit, director of Transport Energy/Emission Research who was not involved in the report, said Australia had become a market for heavy, thirsty SUVs.

“The sustained and growing proportion of large and heavy passenger vehicles in on-road fleets around the world and particularly in Australia is having a detrimental effect on fuel efficiency and global greenhouse gas emissions,” Smit said.

The worst performer was Australia’s most popular automaker, Toyota.

Lindsay Soutar, campaign manager at Greenpeace, said the company had lagged in adopting zero-emission vehicles and its global lobbying efforts had blocked policies aimed at encouraging change.

“What the report shows and what we found is that Toyota is the worst performer of the lot,” she said. “The report shows they are the least on track of all the big four in Australia.”

Satour said other companies like Volkswagen had campaigned for better policy in Australia “which is positive”, although she still needed to do more.

A Toyota Australia spokesperson said in a statement that the company was Australia’s “largest supplier of hybrid vehicles with over 300,000 sold since 2001”.

“Toyota is not limited to a single technical solution,” the spokesperson said. “We remain absolutely committed to providing our customers with a diverse range of vehicles and technologies, including [battery electric vehicles]that will help them on their journey to zero tailpipe emissions based on their individual automotive situation, ensuring that no one is left behind.

The spokesperson said Toyota Australia would “welcome” the introduction of a mandatory CO2 emissions standard for new vehicles that “works to support the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement”.

Speaking of Australia specifically, a Volkswagen Group Australia spokesperson said the company plans to bring several new models of battery electric vehicles to Australia.

“While Volkswagen Group Australia has obtained production approval for a range of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles this year, these are coming from Europe, where demand exceeds supply,” the spokesperson said. .

“While progress is finally being made, Australia remains a considerable distance behind other developed countries in creating the conditions for electric vehicles. Putting in place an emissions target for auto importers will ensure greater supply of affordable electric vehicles and will enable mass market importers to meet demand.

Hyundai Australia has been contacted for comment.

Behyad Jafari, from the Electric Vehicles Council, said the demand for zero-carbon vehicles was “absolutely there” but customers were forced to buy petrol-powered cars due to a lack of supply.

“The reality is that every EV that comes here was sold out and sold out six months before it landed,” Jafari said. “Automakers will flag all of their gas-powered vehicles as an indicator of customer demand, but they won’t tell you that people are walking into their dealerships and asking for electric vehicles every day.”

Jafari said that since Australia had delayed converting its car fleet to electricity and the average lifespan of a vehicle is nearly 20 years, the government must act quickly to meet its international obligations. of emissions.

“The question is, what burden are we placing on all the other sectors? ” he said. “How much more will farmers, industry and other sectors have to cut emissions more to compensate for the fact that some automakers want to make more money now?”

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