Polestar quits car industry lobby over emissions policy dispute

Polestar quits car industry lobby over emissions policy dispute

Polestar, the electric car brand owned by Volvo and Geely, has quit the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body for car manufacturers and importers in Australia, over its opposition to the proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES). Polestar is the second car brand to leave the FCAI this week, after Tesla announced its departure on Monday.

The NVES, which is expected to come into effect by January 1, 2025, is a policy that aims to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new vehicles sold in Australia, by setting fleet-wide targets for carmakers based on the weight and the size of their vehicles. The policy, which is supported by the federal government and the environmental groups, is intended to align Australia with the international standards and to contribute to the national emissions reduction goals.

However, the FCAI, which represents more than 40 car brands in Australia, has been vocal in its criticism of the NVES, arguing that it would increase the cost of new vehicles, especially larger and heavier ones, and that it would hurt the consumers and the industry. The FCAI has also questioned the timing and the scope of the NVES, saying that it is unprecedented and unrealistic, and that it would create confusion and inconsistency in the market.

Polestar accuses the FCAI of misrepresenting and damaging the NVES

Polestar, which sells only electric vehicles in Australia, has accused the FCAI of misrepresenting and damaging the NVES, and of failing to represent the interests and the views of all its members. In a letter to the FCAI, Polestar Australia boss Samantha Johnson said that the FCAI’s claims of significant price hikes due to the NVES were “over-blown” and “not honest or credible”, and that the FCAI had not released the full modelling behind its assertions.

Johnson also said that the FCAI had “cherry-picked” what it thought would benefit only some of its members, and that it had ignored the evidence and the opinions of the experts and the stakeholders who supported the NVES. She said that the FCAI had “irrevocably damaged consumer perception and trust” in the NVES, and that it had “deliberately slowed the car industry’s contribution to Australia’s emissions reduction potential”.

Johnson said that Polestar could not continue to fund a campaign that was against its values and vision, and that it would reconsider its membership if the FCAI changed its position and its approach. She said that Polestar supported the NVES, and that it believed that it would benefit the consumers, the industry, and the environment.

The FCAI defends its position and its role

The FCAI, in response to Polestar’s resignation, defended its position and its role, saying that it was acting in the best interest of its members and the public. The FCAI said that it was not opposed to the NVES, but that it had concerns about the details and the implications of the policy, and that it had proposed alternative solutions that would achieve the same outcomes.

The FCAI said that it had conducted extensive research and analysis on the impact of the NVES, and that it had shared its findings and recommendations with the government and the public. The FCAI said that it had also consulted with its members and the stakeholders, and that it had reflected their views and feedback in its submissions and statements.

The FCAI said that it respected Polestar’s decision to leave the group, but that it regretted losing a valued member. The FCAI said that it would continue to work with the government and the industry to ensure a fair and effective NVES, and that it would welcome Polestar back if it changed its mind.