Scott Morrison, electric cars: PM denies attacking EVs as he announces net zero policy


Scott Morrison’s words come back to haunt him as he denies attacking electric cars even though he claimed they couldn’t tow a trailer and would ‘END the weekend’

  • In 2019 Scott Morrison opposed Labor’s aim for 50% of new cars to be electric 
  • He also questioned the cost and practicality of electric vehicle charging stations 
  • On Tuesday he unveiled expansion of a fund to build more than 400 of them
  • He denied attacking electric cars and said he only had a problem with the policy 


Scott Morrison has denied attacking electric cars even though he said they couldn’t tow a trailer or a boat in the last election campaign.

The Prime Minister on Tuesday unveiled a strategy for electric and hydrogen-powered cars which aims to put 1.7 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030.

The announcement prompted Labor to accuse him of making a huge U-turn after he slammed former leader Bill Shorten’s push for 50 per cent of new car sales to be electric by 2030.

Scott Morrison (pictured on Tuesday) has denied attacking electric cars even though he said they couldn’t tow a trailer or a boat in the last election campaign

During the 2019 election campaign, Mr Morrison said the policy would ‘end the weekend’ because an electric car is ‘not going to tow your trailer. It’s not going to tow your boat. It’s not going to get you out to your favourite camping spot with your family.’

In fact, electric cars can tow trailers and boats with Tesla’s Model Y boasting a 1,500kg towing capacity.

In a 2019 interview with Sydney radio station 2GB, Mr Morrison also criticised the practicality and cost of electric charging stations.

‘What about all these charging stations, how much is that going to cost? I mean if you have an electric car and you live in an apartment, are you going to run the extension cord down from your fourth floor window,’ he said.

Now Mr Morrison’s policy aims to build more than 400 charging stations with an extra $178million handed to the Future Fuels Fund.

This map shows the proposed locations of the charging stations, with the vast majority in cities

This map shows the proposed locations of the charging stations, with the vast majority in cities

On Tuesday the Prime Minster was reminded of his previous position by journalists at his announcement – but denied attacking electric cars.

‘I don’t have a problem with electric vehicles, I have a problem with governments telling people what to do and what vehicles they should drive and where they should drive them, which is what Bill Shorten ‘s plan was,’ he said.

One journalist said: ‘You can’t really say you weren’t attacking electric vehicles just Bill Shorten’s policy’ and Mr Morrison replied: ‘No, I can, because it’s true.’

The Prime Minister said ‘there has been a massive change in technology’ and attacked Labor for its 2019 policy to mandate a vehicle emission standard of 105 grams of carbon dioxide per km.

‘The Labor Party was going to force you to go and move to a vehicle when the technology had not arrived… they wanted to force your choice,’ he said.

‘[Our] plan is driven by technology, not taxes. It is driven by backing Australians’ choices, not putting mandates on them and telling them what to do.’  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison tours the Toyota Hydrogen Centre in Altona, Melbourne on Tuesday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison tours the Toyota Hydrogen Centre in Altona, Melbourne on Tuesday

Mr Morrison expects $250million in Future Fuels funding will be matched by private investment, with as many as 2,600 jobs to be created.

As part of the government strategy, 50,000 households and 400 businesses would have access to charging stations, with 1,000 public stations being built.   

Some 84 per cent of the population will have access to a charging station, under the plan.

‘Australians love their family sedan, farmers rely on their trusted ute and our economy counts on trucks and trains to deliver goods from coast to coast,’ Mr Morrison said.

‘We will not be forcing Australians out of the car they want to drive or penalising those who can least afford it through bans or taxes. 

Labor has pledged to exempt electric cars from a five per cent import tariff and fringe benefits tax. 

Electric vehicles had been derided by the prime minister in the lead up to the last federal election as 'ending the weekend'

Electric vehicles had been derided by the prime minister in the lead up to the last federal election as ‘ending the weekend’

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