Time could very well prove the ACT government's decision to ban new petrol and diesel powered light vehicles in the territory from 2035 is eminently practical, sensible and affordable. However, critics will turn out in force to claim otherwise.
"But electric vehicles are too expensive," some will say. "What about towing my boat, my caravan or my dog trailer?" will be the chorus from some others. And then, of course, there will be the familiar refrains about range anxiety, whether or not the electricity grid can cope with the increased demand for power, and whether or not the power used to charge the EVs will come from fossil fuel sources or from renewables.
These concerns and opposition to efforts to get more people driving electric have been heard for years and years; and most often from conservative elements within the federal, state and territory parliaments and assemblies.
Nobody is saying this change announced on Monday will take effect tomorrow. You'll still be able to walk into your local dealership and invest in a fossil fuelled car, possibly even with a big V8 if they are still around, for a long time yet. 2035 is 12 years away and by the time it rolls around the odds are the question will be moot.
Even electric motorcycles, also mandated by the ACT government's plan, are already a "thing". Canberra's Tony Castley was featured in this newspaper when he built his own and then registered it for road use eight years ago in 2014.
Some European car manufacturers have already announced plans to cease all fossil fuel car production as early as 2025 and, as one correspondent in today's letter's pages has observed, a petrol bowser might be even harder to find by then as a rapid charging point is to locate in the outback today.
When it comes to motor vehicles, 12 years is a very long time. In 2010, for example, the second generation Prius was pretty close to peak affordable low emissions technology.
The first Tesla, the roadster, only made it into full production 13 years ago, and the first practical Tesla - which was also the world's first practical plug in EV with the ability to seat more than two people and carry a significant amount of luggage - didn't hit the road until 2012.
It is a given that come 2035 the number of manufacturers still producing petrol and diesel powered light passenger vehicles will probably be able to be counted on the fingers of one hand while there will be EVs for every market segment. These will almost certainly include heavy duty off-roaders (which will probably have hybrid drivetrain back up as well as plug-in recharging capability), tradies' utes, sports cars and whatever else takes your fancy.
Although the prestige brands, like they have always done, will take the cream off the top of the market, it is London to a brick that factories in South America, China, India and elsewhere will be churning out cheap and cheerful rechargeable EVs to meet the needs of the suburban commuter by the millions.
Without suggesting the ACT government should have set an earlier date to ban light fossil-fuelled vehicles, the fact is that progressive as this move sounds now it is likely to be overtaken by market forces.
As the findings of the 2021 State of the Environment Report indicate, its commitment is welcome in that it will help focus public interest on the EV sector and give consumers a timeline to think about when making their next vehicle purchase.
Climate change is real. The carbon dioxide being emitted as a result of human activity is contributing to it. If we don't reverse this trend the consequences will be catastrophic.
It's time for governments, and individuals, to start making sensible decisions.
This is one of them.
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