The British government has announced diesel vehicles, the main cause of pollution in London, will be banned in 23 years, from 2040.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove says new petrol vehicles will also suffer the same fate.
“We have to get rid of petrol and diesel cars off our roads if we’re going to make sure not only that we deal with the health problems that air pollution causes but, also, that we meet our climate-change targets.”
France has the same target as Britain, while Norway’s is just eight years away, in 2025.
But in Australia, News Corp motoring analyst Josh Dowling says Australia would be a longer way off.
“I think it’s extremely unlikely for Australia to follow Paris and London down the electric-car path. We don’t have the infrastructure, we’ve got completely different geography and a (different) set of circumstances, and we have much greater distances to travel.”
But Beyond Zero Emissions’ Michael Lord says he disagrees, suggesting Australia could make the change in less than 10 years.
“Australia’s the ideal place to switch to electric cars and to run them on renewable energy, because we’ve got some of the best renewable-energy resources in the world and we know that, already, one in five Australians have solar panels on their rooftops, so they could be charging their cars for free.”
But there are challenges with the size of Australia, and the fact not many people are buying electric cars.
Last year, almost 1.2 million new cars were sold in Australia.
More than 1.1 million were petrol or diesel.
Only 12,800 were hybrid or electric — just 1 per cent of the market.
Josh Dowling says that does not suggest people are ready.
“Forcing Australians into electric cars is a bit like fighting the obesity epidemic by only selling small T-shirts. You need to create customer demand, you can’t just change the rules.”
The Queensland government is trying to create that demand, announcing 18 fast-charging stations will be installed from the Gold Coast to Cairns.
It will be the longest electric-vehicle super-highway in the world and will be installed over the next six months.
Early usage is expected to be low — there are only 700 fully electric vehicles registered in Queensland.