ScoMo Apparently Forgot His Government Already Funds Electric Car Fast-Chargers
The Liberals keep saying that the fast charging tech Labor's proposing doesn't exist. They already fund it.
Scott Morrison has yet to even call an election, but that apparently hasn’t stopped him from deciding that the policy hill he’ll die on this year is…electric cars.
You might have noticed the Coalition’s increased fixation on electric vehicles in the past week. The panic started when Labor announced its climate policy last Monday, which includes a target aiming to have electric vehicles making up 50 percent of new car sales by 2030.
Things really ramped up, though, when Bill Shorten was asked how long it takes to charge an electric car. In a radio interview last week, he estimated that “it can take eight to ten minutes, depending on your charge. It depends how flat your battery is.”
That’s all it took for the government to absolutely go off. Right away, the Liberal Party started putting out ads rubbishing Shorten’s claim. “Fact: electric cars ‘will tend to charge between eight and nine hours overnight'”, one such ad reads, citing motoring expert Trent Nikolic, quoted in the Daily Telegraph. Scott Morrison went a step further, telling media that Bill Shorten is trying to “end the weekend” by denying Australians access to cars that can pull caravans, or reach their favourite camping spots.
Bill Shorten can't accurately answer simple questions about his new electric car policy.
Yet he's pushing a plan that would drive up the cost of some cars by thousands of dollars. pic.twitter.com/waPwitugq3
— Liberal Party (@LiberalAus) April 5, 2019
“I don’t have a problem with electric cars — in fact, I’m happy for people to go and buy electric cars,” Morrison said on 2GB radio on Sunday. “My problem is with the leader of the Labor Party, who wants to be the Prime Minister in a couple of months, who doesn’t understand his own policy.”
Problem is, Scott Morrison doesn’t seem to understand his own policies very well either. If he did, he might realise that they’re very, very similar to Labor’s. He might also realise that technology that comes pretty close to Shorten’s “eight to ten minute” charge claim exists — because his government funds it.
Let’s take that attack ad, for example, which cites motoring expert Trent Nikolic. What Nikolic actually said, in the interview the ad references, is this: “if you spend two and a half to three thousand dollars, and you get your wall box set up at home…the car will tend to charge between 8 and 9 hours overnight”.
That’s totally right — at this stage, if you’re charging your electric car at home, it’ll take about that long. But when Bill Shorten mentioned an “eight to ten minute” charge, he was talking about “a network, on the national highway, of charging stations” (here’s the full clip, if you’d like to hear it for yourself). While eight to ten minutes was perhaps a bit optimistic, charging stations already exist where you can charge a car in 15 minutes. They exist because Morrison’s government funded them.
Hi Minister here is a charging station your government funded that can charge a car up in 15 minutes. And 200km in 8 minutes. I know because I'm one of the co-founders you funded. pic.twitter.com/AiLQQmhIue
— Tim Washington (@EVTimOZ) April 5, 2019
The founders of the companies behind those charging stations have taken to Twitter to gently remind the government of that fact, which isn’t the only one it seems to have forgotten. There are entire Twitter threads collecting all the times the Coalition has funded electric cars, posed with electric cars to look hip ‘n environmentally friendly, and otherwise fallen over themselves to spruik electric cars as a Great Idea.
In fact, less than six months ago energy minister Angus Taylor put out a press release announcing funding for a network of ultra-rapid charging stations from Brisbane to Adelaide via Sydney and Melbourne. In that very press release, he specified that charge times would be around 15 minutes, and added that “electric vehicles have the potential to lower transport costs, enhance fuel security, and increasingly create more sustainable cities with less pollution and better health outcomes for our communities”. He’s not alone, either — just last week Josh Frydenberg was busy mailing his electorate about how great the Coalition government’s investment in electric vehicles is.
Look what Josh Frydenberg is mailing the whole electorate about pic.twitter.com/XVkhpxXdUV
— Tim Beshara (@Tim_Beshara) 7 April 2019
Cut to this week, though, and Scott Morrison seems to have completely forgotten about this. “That’s new technology, not existing technology,” he said yesterday, when he was asked about Taylor’s claim that government-funded charging stations could charge a vehicle in just 15 minutes.
This is going to be the longest election pic.twitter.com/ZngnPIE6tj
— Josh Taylor (@joshgnosis) April 7, 2019
In short, Bill Shorten’s not that wrong: while charging stations are just beginning to roll out, it will increasingly be possible to charge an electric car in under 15 minutes. What’s more, as recently as last week, the Morrison government was all for the idea. Its own forecasting assumes that electric vehicles will make up between 25 and 50 percent of new car sales by 2030 — almost the same as the target Labor’s proposing.
Basically, Scott Morrison and co seem to have forgotten that the policies they’re criticising are pretty much their own policies: until this week, they were pretty keen on electric vehicles. Oops?
Morrison Govt 2018: "Electric cars, how good are they?!"
ALP 2019: "We should have more electric cars"
Morrison Govt 2019: "The ALP want to make you marry an electric car and then let it kill you"
— Greg Jericho (@GrogsGamut) April 7, 2019
delete all photos of us standing with electric cars promoting they good
— Aus Gov Just Googled (@GovGoogles) April 7, 2019