Battery manufacturing opportunities in Australia will be a focus of a new parliamentary inquiry into the transition to electric vehicles.
The House Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment, and Water opened the inquiry on Thursday, accepting a referral made by Climate Change and Energy minister Chris Bowen last month.
The inquiry will consider the resources, systems and infrastructure necessary for transition as the sale of electric vehicles (EVs) accelerate, as well as the impacts of moving away from traditional vehicles.
It follows two other parliamentary inquiries into ‘Australia’s transition to a green energy superpower’ and ‘developing advanced manufacturing in Australia’ last year that also explored manufacturing opportunities across the battery value chain.
Opportunities for “expanding EV battery manufacturing, recycling, disposal and safety, and other opportunities for Australia in the automotive value chain to support the ongoing maintenance of EVs” are among the six highlighted areas of focus for the inquiry.
Other considerations include the impact on existing auto industry component manufacturers on the shift away from internal combustion engine vehicles, the impact on electricity consumption and demand, and the “impact of Australia’s limited EV supply compared to peer countries”.
Labor member for Makin and the chair of the Senate Committee, Tony Zappia, said the new inquiry was timely given the growing uptake of EVs in Australia.
“Australian motorists are increasingly choosing EVs when purchasing a new car. The percentage of EVs sold is growing every year, moving to 7.2 per cent of all new cars sold in 2023 up from less than three per cent in 2022,” Mr Zappia said.
“The inquiry will consider the necessary resources, systems and infrastructure for this transition and the impacts of moving away from traditional vehicles.”
The inquiry comes nine months after the release of the National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which flagged establishment of “the resources, systems and infrastructure to enable rapid EV uptake” as a key objective.
While the strategy called for an increase in local manufacturing across the EV components and battery supply chain, no additional support or initiatives were included.
The inquiry also begins nearly a year after the federal government began public consultation for a National Battery Strategy, which sought views on how to “create and support a sustainable, thriving end-to-end battery supply chain”.
Last July, the Productivity Commission warned that an Australian industry for EV battery production would not be competitive. In response, the battery industry that argued the Commission failed to consider the full battery production value chain rather than just the final production of cells.
Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.