Elon Musk hits back at Australian government's scare campaign on electric cars – telling us to look at Norway

Getty ImagesTesla CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla’s founder Elon Musk decided to involve himself in the Twitter backlash about electric car policy in Australia.

Musk said Labor’s plan for 50% of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030 is actually behind the times. It’s a slap in the face to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s attack on the Labor Party.

Musk’s tweet comes after Mike Cannon-Brookes, billionaire co-founder of enterprise software company Atlassian, took to Twitter to condemn the Liberal government’s lack of support for electric vehicles.

Labor has said it is possible, without taxing large vehicles such as 4WDs and utes, to have 50% of vehicles electric by 2030 and Musk agreed, saying it’s an easy task that can be achieved in less than the proposed 11 years. He referred to Norway’s success with electric vehicles. In the first two months of 2019, passenger vehicle sales in Norway hit a 50 per cent rate for EVs.

In the lead up to the election announcement on Thursday, the political fight over electric vehicles heated up. Members of the Coalition government have publicly attacked Labor’s electric vehicle plan, with the prime minister suggesting Labor was instead planning to “tax your ute”.

The government’s political attacks played into Australia’s love of big vehicles. Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries data shows Australians now buy more SUVs than any other kind of car, with SUVs and light commercial vehicles representing 67.5 per cent of the new car market. Meanwhile, analysis of VFACTS data reported in The Driven found there to be 1352 electric vehicle sales in 2018, excluding Teslas, in Australia’s total car sales of 1,153,111 – about .3 per cent of total sales. The reason Tesla is excluded is that they do not report any sales data.

Experts dismissed the government’s claims, suggesting instead that Labor’s target may go some way to making electric cars more affordable and improve vehicle emissions.

Australia is uniquely placed to benefit from the rise of electric vehicles, with Western Australia tipped to produce more than half the world’s lithium supply.

Lithium is a key ingredient in producing modern batteries used in electric vehicles.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.