Rev up or burn out: ranking popular vehicle brands’ progress to zero emissions

08.11.22 By
This content is more than one year old

New analysis shows major vehicle manufacturers popular in Australia are starting to get serious about zero emissions, and paving the way for strong fuel efficiency standards that will help make electric vehicles (EVs) cheaper and more available

The Climate Council’s Race to Zero Ranking released today shows that some manufacturers are quickly moving towards electrifying their fleets, with major brands mapping out a pathway to sell nothing but zero emissions vehicles by the mid-2030s or earlier. 

Many of the companies manufacturing the cars driven by millions of Australians are on the precipice of a clean transport revolution. We’re calling on the Federal Government to get real and set fuel efficiency standards that results in 100 per cent of new vehicles sold in Australia being zero emissions as soon as possible.

Fuel efficiency standards limit how much pollution a car manufacturer’s new models can release before they hit the market. Companies are fined if they fail to adhere to this limit. 

These standards already cover 80 per cent of the global car market, but Australia remains stuck at the starting line when it comes to implementing them. Why are Australians still paying for expensive, petrol-guzzling cars that hurt household budgets, our health, and the environment?

Race to Zero Ranking 2022* – Best to Worst

  1. Polestar
  2. Tesla
  3. Volvo
  4. Ford
  5. Volkswagen
  6. Mazda
  7. Hyundai
  8. Kia
  9. Honda
  10. Nissan and Mitsubishi
  11. Toyota
  12. Isuzu

*These brands were chosen due to their status as Australia’s top selling car makers.

Dr Jennifer Rayner, the Climate Council’s Head of Advocacy, said: “Australians want cheaper and cleaner transport options, as demand for EVs skyrockets. Australia needs policies that lean into this momentum, not policies that put the brakes on so a few lagging companies can catch up.

“Many major manufacturers know that all-electric is the way to go. Implementing strong fuel efficiency standards would ensure 100% of new vehicles sold be zero emissions by the middle of next decade. 

“The manufacturers who are lagging behind and refusing to embrace an all-electric future are making the conscious choice to remain in the polluting past and risk being lapped by the competition. These heel-draggers shouldn’t be setting the pace for our national transport policies.”

Climate Councillor, energy expert and former President of BP Australasia, Greg Bourne said: “Personal transport is Australia’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions and our second biggest source of climate pollution. Without increasing the accessibility of EVs and dumping our reliance on petrol and diesel cars, Australia will face roadblocks on its national commitment to zero emissions across the board.

“The vehicle industry must do its bit towards Australia’s new target of cutting emissions by at least 43 percent by 2030.

“If we are to make EVs affordable and accessible to Australians then all major manufacturers need to step up their game on delivering cleaner fleets to our local market.  

“The uptake of electric vehicles is gaining momentum and these manufacturers can become strong contenders in the race to zero.”

See the full ranking report.

For interviews please contact Zerene Catacutan on 0438 972 260 or

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

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