A difficult period of transition for Australia, as petrol/diesel vehicles become unsustainable, while alternatives are either unavailable or unaffordable.

BRIDIE SCHMIDT in The Driven writes of the pain Australia is feeling as the ubiquitous ‘ute’ faces a turning point. In a nation left behind by the global EV revolution, there is no viable EV alternative currently available to this much-loved and hugely popular vehicle.

The ute (short for utility truck for overseas readers, also known as a pickup in the US) is so firmly embedded in Australian culture that is often cited as the reason that a transition to zero emissions transport is not feasible here.

The irony is that there are plenty of electric options out there, but they are all overseas: Both General Motors and Ford (the Hummer EV, the Silverado EV pickup and the F-150 Lightning) are making them, as well as startups like Rivian (the R1T) and of course Tesla (the Cybertruck – well, it will start making them next year).

There just aren’t any electric utes for sale here yet, and will likely not be for at least a few years, despite research showing there is a huge amount to gain from electrifying utes.

Football, meat pies, efficiency standards and electric utes: Can we have it all?

Hugely, interesting article, and even more interesting to see the ‘debate’ in the comments – which, sadly, could be the first signals of an ugly culture war, the flames of which, no doubt will be fanned be those with political agendas. Australia sits, right at this minute, at a difficult point of transition.

Globally, and strategically, diesel vehicles have no future – manufacturers are simply going to stop making them. Tactically, and practically, they are becoming hugely more expensive to buy (re: Toyota Tax, even if you can find one) and to run (fuel cost – even with more efficient engines); but, and here’s the catch – there *is* no alternative at the moment.

I have a 2009 diesel Prado I’d like to replace – but what can I replace it with? What will give me the range to go bush camping and tow a camper trailer?

I’d love a Rivian, but when are they going to be available in Australia, and how much are they going to cost? What are the alternatives? What are the alternatives for all the grey nomads out there who tow a big van? Their fuel costs are going to rise, Govt. policy is going to (rightly) favour EVs, and they’re going to be stuck between a corrugated road and a hard place. What about Australians (including Indigenous Australians especially) who live outside major metropolitan areas, who can only afford to drive older ICE vehicles – are they going to be penalised when alternatives are neither available or affordable? There are some difficult problems here which need to be considered carefully.

Australian ute.
Australian ute, Umina Beach, 2022. Some are more loved than others!

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