Imagine you are a business person looking into making a long term investment and you have to choose between investing in an industry you know is on its way out and another which you know will replace the previous one. Any sane person would choose to put money into the new rather than waste money propping up what is dead-industry-walking. But not the Australian government which is doing all it possibly can to delay making the transition from fossil fuel based industry to clean, high-tech industries of the future. Just a few days ago Scott Morrison MP and federal treasurer was on television going on like a smart ass school boy about the ‘disaster’ caused by South Australia’s efforts to switch to renewable energy, mocking the idea of power storage by installing the world’s biggest battery as being just like the big banana or big prawn installed by the side of highways by struggling outback towns in an effort to attract tourists.
The truth Scotty is ignoring is that other nations are powering ahead with the switch to clean energy and well done to the British government for following the French in looking to ban petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. Should be sooner but it’s a start and is that not sufficient writing on the wall that once again – Australia will be playing catch up?
We recently lost vehicle manufacturing in this country but still have the specialised labour force, the engineering knowhow and factories that could be retooled to produce electric vehicles. Given that in this case we know the future it would make sense to create public/private partnerships and position Australia as a supplier to the emerging clean economy rather than the consumer it will become if we continue down the walking backwards track. Would make sense but not to people like Scotty and others who are prepared to spend a billion dollars of taxpayer money to provide a railway link from a proposed coal mine (world’s biggest open cut they boast) in central Queensland to a loading port slap bang in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. All that to give a few thousand low skilled people short term jobs but at a huge and permanent cost to the environment whereas the same amount invested in new and high-tech industries including electric vehicles could provide long term employment to tens of thousands when you take into account satellite industries, logistics, etc. The automobile industry themselves know what is just around the corner but as one CEO I was listening to recently said, they need help to make the transition from petrol to electric. Climate change is a disaster just starting but it is equally an opportunity to reshuffle the economy to everyone’s benefit.
If we needed, as we often do here in Australia, to look over the Equator to see what others are doing the example of Volvo and Porsche are good examples; both manufacturers have declared that from 2019 onwards they will only make hybrid and all-electric cars. Porsche apparently will also withdraw from Endurance racing I’m told because, well, there’s no point in spending millions promoting vehicles that are already things that should be displayed in a museum to horrified school children.
The fact is that climate friendly race cars will be faster and more fun than the noisy, polluting and incredibly inefficient things of today.
Below are a few related links.
Think electric is boring? Below are two vids of the Lightning LS-218 electric superbike. (218 mph at Bonneville)