Big names given failing grades as emissions targets falling out of reach

Ten of the world’s biggest automakers have been given a failing grade on electric vehicles in a report that estimates the world is still not on track to meet its transport emission targets.

May 14, 2024, updated May 14, 2024
GWM Ora electric hatchback is now Australia's cheapest EV. (AAP Image/Supplied by GWM)

GWM Ora electric hatchback is now Australia's cheapest EV. (AAP Image/Supplied by GWM)

Global data firm InfluenceMap released its analysis on Tuesday, giving passing marks to Tesla, Mercedes Benz and BMW but poor ratings to popular car makers including Toyota, Honda and Suzuki.

Australia’s peak automotive lobby was also singled out for criticism in the report, with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries receiving a D+ that placed it below industry groups in the UK and Europe.

The findings come as the federal government prepares to legislate Australia’s first fuel-efficiency standard that will set emission limits on vehicle fleets likely from January next year.

The InfluenceMap report, called Automakers and Climate Policy Advocacy, analysed electric vehicle lobbying efforts from 15 of the world’s biggest vehicle brands across seven markets including Australia, Europe, Japan, the US and UK.

The report found all brands but Tesla had lobbied against at least one electric vehicle policy, and 10 out of the 15 brands received a grade of D+ or below for their lobbying efforts or low electric vehicle forecasts.

Only three vehicle brands – Tesla, Mercedes Benz, and BMW – were on track to reach the International Energy Agency’s target of 66 per cent electric, plug-in electric or hydrogen vehicles by 2030, and just five brands scored a C- or above, including General Motors and Ford.

Japanese automakers received the lowest scores in the study, with Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki earning D grades at the bottom of the rankings, and all three companies were forecast to produce 30 per cent or fewer electric cars by 2030.

InfluenceMap director Ben Youriev said corporate lobbying against electric vehicle policies was slowing down the industry’s transformation and limiting consumer access to the technology.

“Automakers’ substandard electric vehicle plans and negative advocacy strategies are driving the climate crisis,” he said.

“Without an immediate gear change from them and their industry associations to reform their climate policy engagement, they will continue to weaken and delay climate rules globally.”

The report also found automotive associations were among the strongest voices lobbying against electric vehicle policies, and singled out Australia’s FCAI as an example.

The motoring organisation argued for changes to be made in Australia’s fuel-efficiency standard, including lower emission cuts and lesser penalties.

The report gave the group a D+, ranking it below industry organisations in the UK and Europe, but above lobby groups in the US, India and Japan.

The final design for the federal government’s proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standard reflected some changes suggested by the FCAI and vehicle brands, including a lower emission target for light commercial vehicles and large SUVs, as well as a six-month moratorium on penalties.

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