Tesla and Polestar Back Out of Aussie Car Lobby Over Anti-Emissions Standard Campaign

Tesla and Polestar Back Out of Aussie Car Lobby Over Anti-Emissions Standard Campaign

Polestar has left the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) in response to the lobbying group’s stance on Australia’s developing New Vehicle Emissions Standards (NVES), a day after Tesla made the same decision.

In a letter addressed to FCAI chief executive Tony Weber and provided to Gizmodo Australia by Polestar, the company outlined several reasons why it has decided to leave the FCAI.

This included comments against frameworks proposed for the NVES, comments about car price increases in response to emissions standards (including from its members), and a lack of research provided on the lobby’s part to both the public and members concerning the NVES.

“The brand cannot in good faith continue to allow its membership fees to fund a campaign designed to deliberately slow the car industry’s contribution to Australia’s emissions reduction potential,” head of Polestar Australia Samantha Johnson wrote in the letter.

“Such a campaign is not aligned with Polestar’s focus, and we cannot support it. Polestar is committed to working with the Australian Government in support of the long-term health, environmental, and cost benefits offered by a robust New Vehicle Efficiency Standard.”

The Polestar boss said that it would reconsider joining “when the FCAI commits to representing all voices in the automotive industry”.

Tesla leaves after “demonstrably false” claims

Musk’s Tesla was the first of the two to exit, after penning a letter to the FCAI noting that it would leave because of “demonstrably false” claims that the currently in-development NVES rules would increase the price of cars.

“Tesla considers that the FCAI has repeatedly made claims that are demonstrably false. Tesla is concerned that the FCAI has engaged in behaviours that are likely to mislead or deceive Australian consumers,” the car group wrote to the FCAI yesterday, in a letter provided to Gizmodo Australia.

“Tesla is also concerned that it is inappropriate for the FCAI to foreshadow or coordinate whether and how competitor brands implement price changes in response to environmental regulations such as the NVES. These concerns are set out in more detail below. Tesla has requested the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission consider these issues.”

After news broke that EV leader Tesla was leaving the group, Australian Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari got behind the carmaker.

“New Vehicle Efficiency Standards have been proven across the world to do two things, improve consumer choice and lower fuel bills,” Jafari said in a statement to Gizmodo Australia.

“Unfortunately they’ve also been proven to attract scare campaigns by dodgy lobby groups. It’s one thing for companies to represent their own interests and profits, but when that veers into knowingly spreading misinformation it’s important that gets called out.”

Tesla and Polestar leaving the FCAI is the latest twist in the development of emissions standards in Australia – the only OECD-listed country in the world that doesn’t have them, apart from Russia (though Russia was suspended from the OECD in 2022).

On ABC Radio this morning, Polestar head of communication Laurissa Mirabelli also indicated that it likely won’t be the only carmaker to leave the FCAI – and that non-EV-only brands are considering their position. Given Polestar’s bloodline with Volvo, and Volvo’s commitment to go all-electric in Australia by 2026, the Swedish car giant could follow.

The FCAI includes industry heavyweights such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Ford. Gizmodo Australia has reached out to the FCAI for comment.

Image: Polestar

Want more Aussie car news? Here’s every EV we’ve reviewed in the last two years, all the EVs we can expect down under soon, and our guide to finding EV chargers across the country. Check out our dedicated Cars tab for more.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.