Nissan Australia CEO Puts Government on Blast – Aussies “Only” Country Not Promoting EVs

APR 18 2015 BY JAY COLE 40

Nissan Australia Boss Has Some "Choice" Words To Say About His Country's Stance On EVs And Fuel Cells

Nissan Australia Boss Has Some “Choice” Words To Say About His Country’s Stance On EVs And Fuel Cells

Richard Emery, CEO of Nissan Australia, has taken his government and its industry minister Ian Macfarlane to task over its apparent love of hydrogen – the “fuel of the future”, and Mr. Macfarlane’s promotion of the new Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell.

75% Of All Plug-In Sales In Australia In 2014 Were The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

75% Of All Plug-In Sales In Australia In 2014 Were The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

In so doing, the Australian minister also took some serious shots at electric vehicle technology, perhaps attempting to justify his governments complete dis-regard for the technology and not making it more accessible in the country:

“Some people say that solution lies in electric cars. I don’t drive an electric car. Some people say we will have enough fossil fuel to last us for centuries. I don’t agree with that either.

“The reality is if you drive an electric car the chances are it’s being fuelled by fossil fuel-generated power; out of sight and perhaps out of mind but it’s not the solution.  The ultimate solution surely is something that in the full cycle starts with water and ends with water and that to me is what this vehicle represents today; the next generation of environmentally friendly vehicles.” – Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, reported by

The Nissan Australia CEO didn’t just make a few off handed comments to rebut, he sat down and penned his own press release (below).  Last year, Nissan sold 173 LEAFs in Australia, 2nd only to the Mistubishi Outlander PHEV (895 sales) for top spot.  58 Holden Volts, 33 BMW i3s and estimated 25 Tesla Model S sedans were also sold.

We have to say, we like Mr.Emery’s passion for electrification.

The future is here. It just needs to be switched on.

A statement from Richard Emery, Managing Director & CEO, Nissan Australia

The way governments treat the Australian automotive industry is frustrating. Time and again they fail to take the time to properly consult those who have the facts. And it’s especially annoying when governments make knee-jerk comments and short-term decisions.

2015 Nissan LEAF Charging

2015 Nissan LEAF Charging

Earlier this month I was surprised and concerned about comments by the Federal Government that question the role electric cars will play in Australia’s future motoring landscape. The Federal Minister for Industry and Science, Ian Macfarlane, who has suddenly expressed great support for the idea of hydrogen-powered cars after declaring they “could place Australia in a leadership role for the introduction of zero emission vehicles within the Asia Pacific rim,” has again shown a lack of understanding and appears to have not consulted with the wider automotive industry and his own government colleagues.

Consider this: On one hand, Minister Macfarlane talks of the need for tighter emissions targets for new vehicles, yet on the other he pulls the rug from under the future of zero-emissions electric cars in Australia. In the meantime, one of his Federal colleagues talks about the possible free importation of new and used vehicles from overseas, with the potential for negative impacts on road-user safety, consumer protection, and the environment from higher exhaust emissions. None of this makes sense.

Minister Macfarlane has said Australia has long been behind Europe and other countries when it comes to vehicle emissions standards. This is true. But the automotive industry has been leading the way here by importing ever-cleaner new cars for the Australian market.

The good news is that some of the best new vehicles that can help overcome this environmental challenge are already here. And with the right government support, I’m confident more will come.

Firstly, our company already has a zero-tailpipe-emissions vehicle solution in the Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling electric car, with more than 158,000 sold globally. It’s a five-seat hatchback and it’s a genuine zero-emissions car – it doesn’t have an exhaust pipe – and it’s been on sale here for almost three years. Nissan Australia even manufactures parts for its electric engine. It’s the ideal ‘green’ car, especially when you partner it with solar technology to power its battery recharger. As for the Nissan LEAF placing Australia in a leadership role for zero emission vehicles, it already does this in many parts of the world, including Europe, the USA and Japan. It could do it here, too. It just needs some government help, the same kind of assistance that governments in Europe, the USA and Japan provide.

The Nissan LEAF is a pioneering electric car. It’s the top-selling electric vehicle both globally and in Australia and continues fighting the challenge of being accepted by consumers. The two barriers to its local acceptance are the same two it has faced everywhere else in the world, and they aren’t marketing or so-called ‘range anxiety’: they are the lack of publicly available battery recharging infrastructure and the absence of government-driven incentives for consumers to buy a zero-emissions car. These two facilities are behind the success of electric vehicles in Europe, the USA and Japan. And we need them here.

Ever-tightening emissions regulations overseas have brought about the need for electric cars like the Nissan LEAF. Vehicles that have lower emissions, to the point of zero, are very much the future of car-making. It’s why we’ve remained committed to this important vehicle, despite the fact every Nissan LEAF sold in Australia costs our company significant money – they don’t make any profit. Yes, we want to sell more of them here. Our competitors want to do the same with their own models. But we can’t do this alone. The Australian government only has to help with two things, the same two things some of the world’s biggest economies have been doing for years:

– Give Australian buyers sufficient incentives to buy zero-emission vehicles, and;
– Help provide vehicle battery recharging infrastructure for the public to use.

Our Federal Government wants cleaner vehicles on our roads, ideally ones without exhaust emissions. And with relation to zero-emission vehicles, Minister MacFarlane has said: “what we’ve seen in the United States and Europe is that the consumer demand creates the opportunity”. He’s absolutely right. But the only way this will occur is with government input. The Nissan LEAF is sold in 43 markets on four continents and, frustratingly, Australia appears to be the only one without any significant government incentives for a consumer to buy a zero-emissions car. Minister MacFarlane can change this. But if it is a whole-of-government view that electric vehicles are not an option for Australia then we will need to seriously consider our position on the Nissan LEAF electric car.

Richard Emery
Managing Director & CEO
Nissan Australia

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40 Comments on "Nissan Australia CEO Puts Government on Blast – Aussies “Only” Country Not Promoting EVs"

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“The reality is if you drive an electric car the chances are it’s being fuelled by fossil fuel-generated power;

Who cares, its still way more efficient to operate And maintain. Who are these retards that keep saying this and where are they from?

And like the energy to make H2 from water magically pops out of thin air. How does he assume that it takes fossil fuels to power EVs with electricity, but not for the creation of electricity to make H2? As Yoda might say: Nonsensical he is!

Unfortunately, it’s always been more than apparent that the brain waves of scientists and politicians never cross. I suspect you could explain in excruciating detail to them why we call them Fool Cells and they still wouldn’t grasp it. Or… it’s because they _do_ grasp it and so do the folks that are lining their pockets with petro dollars.

I rarely see any solar powered electrolysis ‘stations’ mentioned when discussing hydrogen. Has anything new been developed?

Coal powered grid means up to twice more deaths from pollution then gas powered ICEs would cause.

Big assumption is that pollution reach human settlements.

..and where is this coming from?

For God’s sake! Do you have ANY idea how many people die from respiratory diseases *alone*, caused by living in built-up areas subjected to ICEV tail-pipe emissions all day long? Let alone all those killed in wars that are pretty much all about securing oil?

Bottom line – put 2kW of PV on your roof and you can totally offset all the electricity an ‘average’ EV uses. You can bleat your Big Oil nonsense all you like but you cannot deny that one simple fact and that makes EVs 100% the right direction for us all to be moving in – away from the festering boil on humanity that ICEVs are, at long, long last! MW

Australia has pretty diffuse cities near the coast so is quite fortunate in that it has relatively few deaths that can be directly linked to urban air pollution. If you live somewhere else in the world then you are likely to be facing worse stats.

The WHO estimate that around 2,500 deaths are directly linked to air pollution in Australia, that’s about 7 per day.

This number, as far as I can see, does not include late term miscarriages or deaths of young children from ailments that the developed due to exposure to urban pollution before birth (i.e. childhood asthma or complications cause by premature birth).

I am personally of the belief that we should tax the balls off anyone who drives an unnecessarily polluting car in a built up area.

You don’t even need to install a PV system. Just by charging at night you will reduce the impact of your EV, since coal plants have to run through the night regardless.

That said, installing a PV system will reduce or eliminate your daytime demand, and that will have an impact on fossil fuel use by utilities by lowering the need to operate peaking plants.

I’d prefer my drive to start with some sunshine and end at my destination. Save the water for a car wash.

It is sad that an “industry minister” apparently believes that hydrogen just magically come from water, or that the source of energy has much of anything to do with whether a car uses a battery or hydrogen to store that energy.

My thoughts exactly… Exactly how do you get hydrogen from water? Hint: it takes a lot of energy!

It takes MORE energy then it produce.

So if one would use solar (to be pollution free)….

Then one loose some of that energy in production. Some more in delivery. Some more in engine while converting to electricity.

With EV You cut out all the middle mans. Sola panels -> grid/house circuit -> EV.

I don’t think it’s magical unless you spell magical, “$$$$$”.

Nissan should stop wienning and start to widespread 24/7 DC Fast Chargers by themselves, as Tesla is doing.

It’s interesting that companies are always trying to evade taxes, but always demand that the big investments be made by the States.

“A basic principle of modern state capitalism is that costs and risks are socialized to the extent possible, while profit is privatized.” ― Noam Chomsky

Really too bad that Nissan’s response didn’t point out the ridiculousness of criticizing EVs based on well to wheels emissions and promoting H2 vehicles while ignoring that they in fact have even worse well to wheels emissions.


Wow! Those are astonishing comments from the Minister of Industry and SCIENCE. My condolences to the Australian board members here. Small comfort may be that some U.S. congressional committee chairs are not tfar behind and my home state of Florida’s current admin has a clandestine policy sensoring language about climate change.

Pretty scary stuff.

Considering that the Australians over-invested into their electricity generation, transmission, and distribution system; you’d think they would do what they can to support new products that will use that that electricity generation, transmission, and distribution system.

But expecting logical behavior from that waner Tony Abbott is kind hopeless.

I recently was in the position to buy an affordable family car. Nissan Australia had the 0% interest $39990 36 month with balloon payment deal. When I calculated all expenses this would have worked out if I had solar fuel. It still worked out well but couldnt compare to a salary sacrificed $25,000 ICE Camry.

The last Australian government assisted Toyota to make hybrid Camrys and led tbe way with renewables. The current government has short sightedly closed the Aussie car industry by 2017 during the mining boom and now that the boom is over and our dollar is dropping it makes no sence.

Bring in the plug in V8 Commodore. EV for commute, combi ed PHEV for performance, sound and feel.

Re my last. I wanted a Hybrid Camry but the $10000 difference didnt add up and the salary sacrifice company woild not touch cars with a battery.

The Au government will be in for a shock when solar and battery allows Aussies to get off the grid.

Sad also because Australia’s renewables generation strategy is flawed, as per this independent assessment: Their target is a modest 20% renewables by 2020, despite Australia’s vast desert and coastal winds. And their strategy is also flawed by not replacing coal, but adding unneeded capacity. A very backward government.

The Australian electrical system is a complete mess. Some very corrupt people got involved and there was lots of over-investment in things that were NOT NEEDED such that the rate-payers have had their bills go way up to pay for that unnecessary junk that was approved due to corruption.

And I mean it was REALLY a mess . . . hookers and murders were involved!

Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane is an idiot.

Yeah, fossil fuel is likely used to help charge your EV. But renewable energy is likely used to charge it too . . . especially in Australia with its heavy penetration of wind & solar PV. And over time, that electrical grid will get more and more renewables so it improves over time.

With a hydrogen fuel cell, 98% of the hydrogen made is from natural gas so you are MOST LIKELY to be powered by a fossil fuel (unlike the EV). And unless some miracle happens, they’ll continue to use natural gas because it is far cheaper to make H2 that way than to inefficiently try to use renewables to split water into H2 & O2.

It is very basic physics and engineering . . . so of course a Tony Abbott government official doesn’t understand it.

Actually any possible renewable H2 generation technique… steer clear of water.

Waste processing seam next best thing after gas for generating H2.

Water come last.
(Unless You are nuclear submarine and have energy and water a plenty 😉 )

“Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane is an idiot.”

Having watched your video (and shared it with all my Australian-based family!), it appears that Mr Abbott is doing a fair job as a runner-up!

I wish I could call that my video. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is some of the best TV available these days. It is great funny stuff.

This is how I picture Ian MacFarlane.

That’s the prime minister, the can of beer is empty after he downed it in 7 seconds. He is also not naked you just can’t see his skimpy little swimmers.

Someone has a very loose understanding of physics.

This is what happens when you have corporate and rightist politicians who claim to be conservative but are really only whores.

In any case, the renewable and EV revolutions will win over these corrupted political neanderthals.

Here is my favorite story regarding Abbott’s government and the upcoming renewable tsunami that will sink his party over the next 20 years maximum.

The Australian Abbott Government is corrupt & HATES all green technology with a extreme passion.

The sooner we get rid of these monkeys the better.

I bet anything that some of Rupert Murdoch’s money is influencing against the inevitable future for Abbot and his money-whores party.

Same as how the Kook Brothers have bought and paid for the US Tea Party and Republicans.

Sad that so many mentally ill and reality challenged idiots get appointed into government positions that set energy policy. This tool sounds hopeless. Nissan would have been better off stating the fact that hydrogen doesn’t come from water with current hydrogen generation techniques, it’s from fossil fuels and fracking specifically with uses a ton of water, so he is right that water would be used but not the way he implies and he doesn’t mention the dozens of toxic chemicals in the fracking solution that are pumped into the groundwater. His government also want to strip hydrogen off of dirty coal which is abundant in Australia. Right now, dirty coal is too toxic to use, but Toyota and the aussie government are hoping to pilot dirty coal hydrogen generation and carbon gas sequestration operation. They can’t get hydrogen from regular black coal because there isn’t any so they want to srtipmine dirty coal which has toxic heavy metals and hydrogen mixed in the coal. Also reffered to as brown coal. Losers.

Sad to see a leading politician parrot the long-discredited EV-haters’ “Long Tailpipe” fallacy. Is he in the pocket of Big Oil?

Someone should ask him if he’s aware of how much electrical energy is used to refine oil… not to mention how much is needed to produce, compress, and dispense hydrogen fuel!

“Hydrogen is the fuel of the future… and always will be.” 😉

He is clearly an idiot!

If I was Australian I’d be extremely embarressed having him representing my country in anything. I mean how does it look if people in government can spout such rubbish!

If an EV is mostly fossil fuel powered, then a H2 fuel cell car is also mostly fossil fuel powered, just half as efficient! How’s that an improvement again?

Chicken and Egg

Australia power source emissions are over 800 metric tonnes of CO2 per GWh. The threshold for EVs being lower emitters (source to roadway) is 600 tonnes per GWh.

Australia has got to get off coal before this is a plus for the environment and they should hurry up. Australia is 20 years behind.

I agree this guy is ignorant. However, we should really keep the liberal vs conservative rhetoric out of the EV argument. Politically I probably disagree with many of you. If you don’t, half of the US will, the conservatives, not even look into why EV’s make sense because they will just be against it since it will remain a left wing issue with only “liberal nut job tree huggers” supporting EV’s. In other word politics as usual where one side is against anything the other side is for no matter what I support EV’s because they make sense. They are quiet, over 80% efficient compared to 30% for gasers. They take much less maintenance. There efficiency makes them much cheaper to operate even with $2 gas. I’m conservative and have a Bev and Phev.
Again, lets not alienate the other side. We need all for the EV revolution to really take off.

Australia running on coal power? Wow. A continent that has scorching hot deserts cannot make use of thermo-electric generators to produce electricity? With the amount of sun they get, I’m surprised there isn’t a solar panel on every roof top. And nothing yet to harness the power of ocean waves?

Of all the places in the world, Australia should be the leader in renewable energy seeing as how they are sitting on one of the most ecologically diverse coral reefs in the world. Or should I say, they WERE sitting on the one of the most ecologically diverse coral reefs in the world.

What a shame. Maybe when their cities get too hot to be livable they’ll realize the meaning of “paradise lost”.

One one hand Macfarlane says that EV’s are powered by fossil fuels and that makes them bad.
On the other hand, he’s leading the charge to destroy the Renewable Energy Target.