Electric Vehicle Council slams government in response to GM announcement

A year on from finishing up Holden in Australia, parent company General Motors has announced it is going all-electric.

The timing of the news, according to the Electric Vehicle Council, is not coincidental.

It comes just 12 months removed from GM’s controversial decision to retire the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand.

The automaker this week confirmed its plans to completely phase out vehicles using internal combustion engines by 2035 as it moves to a carbon neutral model across the entirety of its global facilities.

This would also involve the development of clean technology for heavy-duty trucks.

Earlier in the week GM announced it will provide fuel-cell technology for Navistar International Corp and also explore other applications of the hydrogen technology it is investing in as part of a joint venture with Honda.

“General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world,” GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said in a prepared statement.

“We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.”

In Australia, Electric Vehicle Council Chief Executive, Behyad Jafari said the move underscored just how out of step Australia currently is with the rest of the world on electric vehicles.

“It’s no coincidence that GM decided to pull out of Australia shortly before making this announcement,” he said.

“The rational view for GM to form is that Australia is a low priority nation for its all-electric future,” said Jafari.

“Not only are we one of the only countries not to enforce fuel efficiency standards, we are the only nation proposing brand new punitive taxes on electric vehicles instead incentives.”

State and federal politicians, according to Jafari, had been exposed for an unimaginative and cynical approach towards electric vehicles in recent years.

Australia on current policy, as the rest of the auto industry zooms ahead, had been left behind.

“GM’s announcement underscores how fallacious the argument is that we can sit on our hands and just let the electric vehicle revolution happen to us. Other nations will jump ahead and capture all the benefits of the electric vehicle revolution and Australia will be left languishing decades behind,” said Jafari.

“We need our politicians to wake up now and start investing in stimulating and encouraging the transition to electric vehicles before it’s too late.”

(Image: GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra).

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