Zero-emission racing: who’s the cleanest of them all? | Climate Council

As the federal government develops its national electric vehicle strategy and plans to introduce fuel efficiency standards, the Climate Council has taken a look under the hood to find out where the top-selling automakers rank in the race to zero emissions.

Leaving their competitors to dust, Polestar and Tesla are already at the finish line – exclusively manufacturing fully electric vehicles today. Volvo, Ford and Volkswagen are leading the pack of traditional automakers with targets to fully electrify their fleets (for all battery electric vehicles (BEVs)) between 2030 and 2040. Volvo recently committed to selling all electric cars in Australia by 2026, four years ahead of its global commitment! The midfield is a tight contest, with Mazda, Hyundai and Kia setting targets to go all-electric between 2030 and 2040, with partial BEV targets. Honda aims to be all-electric by 2040 despite not having a BEV target. Behind, Nissan and Mitsubishi only aim to electrify 50% of their fleet by 2030, with no BEV objective. The latest are Toyota and Isuzu, two companies that have yet to commit to making their fleets fully electric.

Several major automakers have already committed to 100% of their new vehicles being fully electric by 2030. Still others will reach that milestone by 2040. But some are still running their engines on the starting block, and risk being overtaken by the competition.

Some automakers have already turned their electric wheels on. So what?

Plans like those drawn up by Volvo, Ford and Volkswagen prove that a rapid transition to sales of new all-electric vehicles is realistic and achievable. This means that the new energy efficiency standards for Australia should be able to follow the path already taken by forward-looking manufacturers.

The Climate Council is calling for tough fuel efficiency standards that will put Australia on track for 100% of new cars to be zero emissions. Looking at how major international automakers are already reorganizing their fleets shows that this should be entirely possible within a decade or so.

Some automakers made bad bets on different vehicle technologies that didn’t pan out (like hydrogen for light-duty passenger vehicles), or simply failed to seize the electric opportunity. Either way, Australia’s national policies should not be decided by those at the back of the pack.

Strict energy efficiency standards will mean that more clean and affordable electric vehicles (EVs) will be available in Australia, so that more families can afford to drive them. Right now, the cheapest EV available in Europe costs just AUD$18,000, compared to almost AUD$50,000 for the cheapest here at home. With more manufacturers transitioning their fleets and the right policies in place, we can get more Australians behind the wheel of cheaper, cleaner new cars.

What are the energy efficiency standards?

Energy efficiency standards aim to limit the greenhouse gas (CO₂) emissions produced by our cars, vans and other vehicles. To do this, they set a maximum average level of CO₂ emissions authorized for all of a manufacturer’s new vehicle offers, with financial penalties applying if this average is exceeded.

Fuel efficiency standards incentivize automakers to provide low- or zero-emission vehicles by penalizing them financially if they fail to do so. The CO₂ limit can be gradually reduced over time, so car manufacturers must produce increasingly efficient vehicles and/or increase the share of zero-emission vehicles they produce. In international markets where energy efficiency standards have already been put in place, this has had the effect of dramatically increasing the supply of electric vehicles (EVs) while driving down their price.

Not all electric vehicles are created equal.

Race to zero infographic 3

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are the only “true” 100% electric vehicles. Other types of electric vehicles — including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and hybrids (HEVs) — still rely in part on dirty gasoline and diesel. Our scorecard accounts for this difference, and the top-ranked automakers have a near-term goal of 100% new EVs and a strong BEV target. Going all-electric will help free Australians from high and volatile prices at the gas pump, while reducing harmful CO₂ emissions from our cars.

After Tesla and Polestar, Volvo has already committed to 100% of its fleet being BEV by 2030, while Ford has set a target of 100% battery-electric cars, including vans, by 2035 – in line with the introduction of robust fuel. efficiency standards. The second, Volkswagen, is aiming for 100% BEV by 2040, while Hyundai, Kia and Mazda have set partial targets until 2030 (36%, 30% and 25% respectively). Lagging behind are Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Isuzu which have not set explicit BEV targets.

The bottom line?

As technology improves, we’ll likely see even more automakers offering all-electric fleets. Australia needs policies that build on this momentum, not ones that try to hold back so that a few lagging companies can catch up.

Race to zero graph 3


Ranking methodology This list has been ranked according to the strongest and most ambitious EV targets, taking into account battery electric vehicle (BEV) targets as a percentage of fleet production and carbon neutral commitments.

Methodology: list curation Brands Included: Brands identified as top selling in Australia as of August 2022, are popular new car brands or are significant/notable brands in Australia.

Unless otherwise specified, net zero refers to a commitment to carbon neutrality across the company’s operations and the life cycle of its vehicles.

*In major markets ** In China, North America and South Korea *** In China, Europe, Korea and the United States

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