EVs could restart Australian vehicle manufacturing through processing lithium for batteries – report

EVs could restart Australian vehicle manufacturing through processing lithium for batteries – report

Australia could revive its automotive manufacturing industry in an “environmentally and socially transformative” way by tapping into the country’s rich mineral resources for the manufacture of electric vehicles, The Guardian cited a report by the Australia Institute’s Carmichael Centre.

There are 34,258 people still employed in the vehicle manufacturing sector for the production of components for the global supply chain, and with sections of old factories still intact, Australia remains in a strong position to restart its automotive industry, according to the report.

Even if Australia is unable to restart its automotive manufacturing industry to a point where it can produce an electric vehicle from scratch, there will still be many benefits to be gained from expanding into parts of the automotive supply chain such as batteries, the report said.

In 2017, the extraction of crushed raw lithium was worth $1.1 billion (RM4.61 billion) on its own, however the processing of the raw lithium into precursor materials for the manufacture of batteries could create an industry that is worth $22.1 billion (RM92.6 billion), The Guardian noted.

EVs could restart Australian vehicle manufacturing through processing lithium for batteries – report

The Hyundai Kona Electric was among the best-selling EVs in Australia last year

During this time, Toyota halted its manufacturing operations in the country in Altona, Victoria, wile Ford closed its own production sites at the end of 2016.

“For decades, the [automotive] industry was the glue that held communities together; it provided security and good standards of living, said lead author of the report Mark Dean. “We need people to mine these commodities, process them, and we need them to be transported so they can be manufactured; [that way] everyone along the way benefits,” Dean continued.

The report also recommended that a commission be set up with representatives from the government, businesses and unions in order to chart a course for the creation of a new industry, The Guardian wrote. Among the recommendations are for any new industry to be powered by renewable energy and to have clear incentives to encourage its take-up such as fuel efficiency standards.

EVs could restart Australian vehicle manufacturing through processing lithium for batteries – report

Producing electric cars offers a “once in a generation opportunity” to create a virtuous cycle of growing employment and innovation while reducing emissions, said Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) national president Andrew Dettmer. “As far as we’re concerned this is a great opportunity to rebuild from the bottom up a new vehicle industry in Australia, but we need to see government take it up and be bold,” he said.

Meanwhile, Beyhad Jafari from the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia said that the country “absolutely has the opportunity to do large-scale manufacturing,” but warned that it would not come easily. Demand for EVs in Australia is strong, and the biggest challenge facing the industry in Australia is supply, The Guardian noted.

“We know that when someone buys a car, that will stay on the road for 15 years. If we plan to reach net zero emissions by the next decade we need to to done with petrol and diesel,” Jafari said.

“Building electric vehicles here mean we could ensure we’ll have a supply of electric vehicles available for us to buy, which would be a really big boost to decarbonising our entire market,” he added.

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Mick Chan

Open roads and closed circuits hold great allure for Mick Chan. Driving heaven to him is exercising a playful chassis on twisty paths; prizes ergonomics and involvement over gadgetry. Spent three years at a motoring newspaper and short stint with a magazine prior to joining this website.


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