Solar Citizens' path to New Vehicle Efficiency Standards

Solar Citizens' path to New Vehicle Efficiency Standards

It's been a long journey and taken several years but on the 16th of May the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) legislation passed Federal Parliament. This legislation will bring more affordable electric vehicles, and more efficient fuel vehicles, into the Australian market from January 1st 2025!

 

What follows below is a timeline of the journey we've been on to achieve this monumental result. A big thank you to all the staff and solar citizens like you who have contributed along the way.

  • EV experience community events in Brisbane, Townsville, Cleveland, Springwood and Samford (Peter Dutton’s electorate) - including celebrity chef Alistair McLeod cooking up a storm on an induction cooktop powered by an electric car! 

Celebrity Chef Alistair Mcleod cooking on an induction cooktop powered by an EV at our Samford EV experience day.

  • We joined forces with more than 100 companies, coordinated by the Electric Vehicle Council, on a double-page spread in The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald calling on the Federal Government to implement Fuel Efficiency Standards (FES, later renamed New Vehicle Efficiency Standards).
  • On a trip to Canberra to have our first meeting with the new Energy and Climate Minister Chris Bowen MP, we delivered our solar citizens’ petition for Fuel Efficiency Standards alongside a petition from passionate community advocate, Debi Thornton, who set up her own petition for Fuel Efficiency Standards, collecting 8,000 signatures.

Solar Citizens CEO Heidi Douglas and community advocate Debi Thornton about to deliver petitions for Fuel Efficiency Standards to Energy and Climate Minister Chris Bowen MP in Parliament.

  • We launched our EV savings calculator that helps people see how much they could be saving on fuel if they switched to an EV. We coincided the launch of this tool with a release of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, giving an exclusive to the Guardian.
  • From our supporter base, solar citizens made more than 600 detailed community submissions to the National Electric Vehicle Strategy consultation, run by the Federal Department of Infrastructure, totalling the majority of community submissions gathered by the Department. 
  • We increased the pressure on the key decision maker for Fuel Efficiency Standards, Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Catherine King MP by getting supporters to write to her about Fuel Efficiency Standards, with over 600 people writing in. Subsequently, her office organised a meeting with us.
  • We put up a giant billboard in Ballarat, the electorate of the Federal Transport Minister Catherine King MP,  focusing on savings for the region from Fuel Efficiency Standards - as this is the home of the Federal Transport Minister Catherine King MP.
  • We launched our Recharging Australia report and Electric Ute Roadshow with Federal Transport Minister Catherine King MP in Ballarat!

Left to right: Clean Transport Campaigner Ajaya Haikerwal, Transport Minister Catherine King MP and Clean Transport Organiser Ben Lever at our Electric Ute Roadshow Launch 

  • We did a second launch of our Recharging Australia report launch with Senator David Pocock: which detailed $11.2 billion in fuel cost savings available if we as a country embrace a strong, Europe-aligned Fuel Efficiency Standard. 
  • Our Electric Ute Roadshow Drive Day in Canberra engaged a cross-section of MPs at Parliament House, briefing them on our Recharging Australia report and taking them for a short ride in the electric ute. Watch the video series from the event here.
    • MPs included Kylea Tink, Fiona Phillips, Rebekha Sharkie, Andrew Wilcox, Monique Ryan, Dan Repacholi, Andrew Bragg, Sharon Claydon, Jerome Laxale and Andrew Barr MLA.
  • Our Electric Ute Roadshow hit the road from Ballarat to Brisbane, engaging with 33 ministers, in 29 communities, with 74 media hits.

Photo taken at Recharging Yackdandah event as part of the Electric Ute Roadshow

  • Throughout the Electric Ute Roadshow, we released our Recharging the Regions Series of reports which brought home the cost benefits of cleaner transport options to local and regional communities. 
  • Hundreds of solar citizens took action to write to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) - the collection of state-based motoring organisations like the RACV, RACQ and NRMA - to ask them to support strong Fuel Efficiency Standards.

Western Sydney electrician Jacob Kennedy being interviewed in our Electric Ute by news outlets about the savings he could access with Fuel Efficiency Standards.

  • We ended the roadshow with a big national media splash, releasing our report Five Recommendations for Accelerating Clean Transport in Regional Australia. With support from the Climate Media Centre, our final media event for the electric ute roadshow generated TV appearances on Nine and SBS News; radio appearances on ABC Sydney, ABC Tamworth, 2GB, 2SM, FIVEaa, 3AW, and many others through syndication; and print appearances in The Australian, The Driven, and an AAP piece that was syndicated in 86 outlets, including the Guardian, the Canberra Times and the Ballarat Courier, an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, which was syndicated to the Age, Brisbane Times, and WA Today. This media coverage was important and timely because it helped to prime the media and the public for the significant fuel cost savings that will come from a strong, mandatory Fuel Efficiency Standard, ahead of the government publishing the submissions to the FES consultation process. 
  • Leveraging our Five Recommendations for Accelerating Clean Transport in Regional Australia report, we met with government representatives from the Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales to unpack our recommendations from the Electric Ute Roadshow. A main area of discussion was enabling vehicle-to-grid technology so that we can use “batteries on wheels” sooner rather than later. 
  • We held a jointly run EV Bulk Buy with the Good Car Co. in Adelaide, where most interest was from people with solar wanting to buy a secondhand EV to use as a “battery on wheels”. 
  • The Federal Government had promised their Regulatory Impact Statement for the Fuel Efficiency Standards in late 2023. When this failed to eventuate we kicked off an Affordable EV campaign, in partnership with BYD, to promote the cost of living savings from EVs, especially when tied with domestic solar.  We launched this campaign with a bang in Canberra where we led a Parliamentary Friends of EVs national press conference and Parliamentary Roundtable event. 

Solar Citizens CEO Heidi Douglas with members of the Parliamentary Friends Of Electric Vehicles group around an affordable BYD Dolphin

  • We then took MPs and Senators of all political persuasions behind the wheel of a BYD Dolphin, where we interviewed them about their experience driving the car and the relevant concerns of their electorate. The videos from these drives are edited together and shared on social media through our own channels and via the MPs and Senators channels.
  • We have since held MP EV drives in Canberra and Sydney with Assistant Minister for Climate Change Jenny McAllister, Bert van Manen MP, Michelle Ananda-Rajah MP, Josh Wilson MP, Sen Brigid McKenzie, Monique Ryan MP, Libby Coker MP, Zali Steggall OAM MP, Peter Khalil MP, Alicia Payne MP, Dai Le MP, Allegra Spender MP, Sally Sitou MP and Jerome Laxale MP. 
  • During the drives, we captured professional social media content of the leaders talking to Solar Citizens CEO Heidi Lee Douglas about how a NVES will provide improved access to a bigger range of affordable EVs, and how this will positively impact their constituents. 
  • Our supporters sent 762 emails to their MP asking them to support a strong New Vehicle Efficiency target. Emails were sent from every state and territory, right across the country.
  • We were privileged to attend the announcement of the draft New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (renamed from FES) at Parliament House. This was a historic moment with FES Toyota shoulder to shoulder with Tesla welcoming a strong standard. CEO Heidi’s social media video response to this press conference was widely shared by allied groups.

New Vehicle Efficiency Standards being announced by Transport Minister Catherine King MP and Energy and Climate Minister Chris Bowen MP

  • Our media response to the announcement of draft NVES standards generated  68 media hits (including syndication) covering Heidi’s reaction to the announcement:  77 online/print, 97 radio and two TV news stories. 
  • With attacks from the LNP on the standard still ongoing though, we have kept campaigning on the ground to create grassroots awareness of the benefits of these proposed standards. Recent community events for this campaign have included stalls and events across Blacktown, Ryde and Wentworth Point, with more to come in the coming weeks. This has included our CEO Heidi Lee Douglas featured on a panel with Assistant Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Jenny McAllister at an EV drive event hosted by Bennelong MP Jerome Laxale. At our Affordable EV stalls, we invite members of the public to look inside the BYD Dolphin and learn about the benefits of electric vehicles, and in some cases also test drive the car. 
  • Leading on from our Electric ute roadshow, we organised an EV ute and a new model electric delivery van displayed on the floor at the Smart Energy Conference in Sydney. 
  • We have been active supporters of a strong New Vehicle Efficiency Standard in earned media and social media. Our media commentary has run across national, state and local media, and had a cumulative reach of more than 317 million. Organic social media reach and digital advertising had a cumulative reach of more than 230,500.

 

Now that NVES has passed, our next priority is ensuring the influx of electric vehicles into Australia next year includes vehicles capable of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) two-way charging technology, so our EVs can also serve as batteries on wheels. Read more on our (V2G) campaign here.