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Tesla Revs Out of Australia’s Auto Lobby Group Over Emissions Dispute

Published 8 March 2024

Tesla, the world’s leading electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, has announced its departure from Australia’s main auto industry association, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). The move comes amid a growing rift between Tesla and the FCAI over the country’s proposed stricter fuel efficiency standards.

A Scathing Departure

Tesla did not mince words when it announced its departure. In a scathing letter to the FCAI, Tesla accused the group of making “demonstrably false claims” about the proposed standards. A Tesla spokesperson further emphasised their disapproval, stating:

“The FCAI has repeatedly made demonstrably false claims about the impact of the government’s proposed fuel efficiency standards,” the Tesla spokesperson said. “These claims mislead consumers and undermine the efforts of policymakers who are working to address climate change.”

The Divide Deepens: EVs vs. Legacy Cars

The core of the disagreement appears to be the FCAI’s stance on the new regulations. The FCAI has lobbied for a watering down of the proposed standards, arguing they would make cars less affordable for Australians. Tesla, on the other hand, strongly supports the stricter rules, believing they are necessary to accelerate the transition to EVs and reduce emissions.

This isn’t the only departure. Polestar, another EV maker, recently followed Tesla out of the FCAI, citing similar reasons. Polestar argued that the FCAI’s position would turn Australia into a “dumping ground for old technology vehicles“.

The contrasting views highlight a growing divide within the auto industry. Legacy car manufacturers, with a wider range of powertrains including gasoline and hybrid options, may be concerned about stricter emissions standards impacting sales of their traditional vehicles. EV manufacturers, like Tesla and Polestar, see the regulations as a crucial step towards a greener future.

The Road Ahead

Tesla’s exit from the FCAI is a significant development. It remains to be seen how the FCAI will respond to the criticisms and whether other car companies will follow Tesla’s lead. The situation underscores the ongoing debate about how to balance affordability with environmental goals in the transition to a low-carbon transportation sector.

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