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Jaguar slams Australian government's lack of support for electric cars ahead of EV-only future from 2025

Jaguar will only make electric vehicles by 2025.

Ready or not, Jaguar won’t be making any more cars with combustion engines from 2025, and the Australian boss of the British brand wants to know what the prime minister is going to do about it.

Speaking at the launch of the new F-Pace, Jaguar Australia’s managing director, Mark Cameron, said with just four years to go until the company makes the full transition to producing electric vehicles, the federal government has done little to encourage Australians to adopt the greener technology.

“The pressure is mounting on the government to look at what role they play and that will clearly have an influence on what our future is, particularly for Jaguar,” Mr Cameron said.

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Other car manufacturers such as Volkswagen have balked at bringing electric vehicles to Australia because the lack of incentives and charging infrastructure doesn’t make for a good business case, therefore denying Aussies the latest EVs.

Mr Cameron has a called for a “blended approach” between the government and carmakers to prepare Australia for what he calls a raft of EVs that will come to Australia.

“At the moment, it is well reported that full battery-electric vehicles made up less one per cent of vehicles sold in Australia last year. And that has to change, and it will change as more choice comes into the market,” he said.

“We do firmly believe that the government plays a part in this as well and help consumers by providing some level of incentive for those who are seriously considering EVs to take that jump. It’s a complicated argument, but I do actually believe that ultimately there needs to be a complete review of the taxation system and the revenue generation for vehicles. Maybe a pay-as-you-go model is the right answer, particularly as the government is going to be giving up quite a lot of revenue on fuel excise duty, for example.” 

In February this year, the federal government released it Future Fuels Strategy discussion paper, which outlined a vision to create more consumer choice and stimulate industry development while reducing road transport emissions. 

Submissions for feedback on the paper closed on April 2, but the three principles the government said it hoped to focus on are identifying barriers to the roll-out of new vehicle technologies; investing in technologies to stimulate the market and drive private investment; and better inform Australians on making decisions on EVs. 

Meanwhile, the state governments are moving ahead with their own plans surrounding electric vehicles. In the case of the Victorian state government, from July a 2.5c/km charge will apply to electric vehicles (including hydrogen fuel cell cars), while plug-in hybrid will be hit with a 2.0c/km tax.    

“I really think the time to put that work into EVs is now,” Mr Cameron said. “What some of the states are proposing is the wrong timing, and we should be incentivising customers to go into greener tech – that seems a lit bit out of step. But it needs to be a combination of government and manufacturers working together to try to accelerate the uptake particularly of greener technology in Australia.”

Currently the only fully electric vehicle Jaguar has on sale in Australia is the I-Pace SUV.

Jaguar’s sister company Land Rover will also stop producing vehicles with combustion engines, but Mr Cameron says the deadline is not until 2036.

“Land Rover will have a much more gradual  transition to full EV future,” he said. 

“That’s really important for Australia right now where other propulsion technologies like petrol and diesel will play a big choice for customers in years to come.”