A LEAKED Federal Government plan to reinvigorate Australia’s car industry by investing $3 billion over the next five years as part of a joint venture with Toyota to create a new, sport-focused EV has drawn fire from Holden and Ford.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has hurriedly hailed the investment as part of his Innovation Nation building program and claimed that it would provide “continuity through change” for thousands of industry employees who were set to end up on the scrap heap as local manufacturing comes to an end in Australia.
Reports of the massive and unexpected investment emerged overnight, and appear to have leaked from the office of Wyatt Roy, the junior Minister for Innovation, or the junior Minister for Looking Young and Clever, as some of his more vindictive colleagues have dubbed him.
Images of prototypes of the new EV are expected to become available around noon today, but details of the extremely sports-focused design brief have emerged, which suggest the timing of the leak, on the same day that Tesla is unveiling its Model 3, might be no coincidence.
Little more is known about the planned EV.
Ford spokesman Chip Inarbit said management at the company’s Australian arm were left almost speechless by the news.
"Our board did want to make it clear, however, that an investment of $3 billion towards a company like ours that currently employs many Australians could have made an enormous difference to our continuing viability in the company and that Ford is saddened to see that the Federal Government, which was so unwilling to help the car industry over the past two years, has suddenly found some money to support a Japanese company that was already making the rest of us look slightly incompetent by continuing to post huge profits and never asking its country’s government for a bailout,” Mr Inarbit said.
Other reports that the Government was planning to chip in another $8 billion towards electric-car charging infrastructure over the next decade to help boost sales of the Toyota joint venture vehicle were denied by Liberal Party spokesman Christian Wright.
"Look, we have no plans to invest in charging points, but we will be investing heavily in the coal-fired power stations that will be needed to provide power for this new and innovative fleet of cars, jointly developed by our brightest minds and, some people at Toyota,” Mr Wright said.
“As our Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, last year when he was Prime Minister, coal is good for the world, and we’re doing our bit to make sure it not only remains the planet’s number-one clean energy source, but finds room to expand.”
Toyota spokesman Aiki Breikiart said he could not possibly confirm the existence of the EV, but said it would be the fastest two-door coupe with tiny back seats in the Toyota or Subaru ranges, and would accelerate from 0-110km/h in less than nine seconds, and then would go not 1km/h faster, because, as Victoria’s Traffic Accident Commission had helpfully pointed out, going quicker was not only illegal and deadly but pointless.
Charging time for the new Aussie Toyota, rumoured to be called the AC/DC, was “entirely reasonable” at around 14 hours from a normal 240V power outlet. Special fast chargers would be available, but only to prominent climate-change deniers.
A Holden spokesman, Brock Tatu, was too angry to speak yesterday, but did respond with an email best described as entirely unprintable.
FCAI insiders were unavailable for comment, as they were at a hastily convened corporate golf day sponsored by the petroleum industry.