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Sold out: why Australia doesn’t have enough electric vehicles to go around | Electric vehicles

Matt Holding set an alarm on his phone so he wouldn’t miss out on a limited release of electric vehicles, but by the time he jumped online to buy one they had sold out.

In six and a half minutes, all 109 of Hyundai’s electric SUVs had sold – 18,000 Australians had registered their interest.

“You’ve just got to keep on trying and get in there straight away, which seems ridiculous when you’re purchasing an $80,000 car,” Holding says of the second time he tried to beat the queue to buy Hyundai’s Ioniq 5.

The pace at which the cars sold out is part of a broader issue, according to leaders in the industry, as the demand for them in Australia now outstrips supply.

“Our biggest issue now is actually attracting supply of electric vehicles, not getting Australians interested in buying them,” says Behyad Jafari, the chief executive of the Electric Vehicle Council.

Jafari says Australia is underserved in EVs compared with many other countries due to a lack of government EV and climate policies. The majority of EVs are instead flowing to countries that require car manufacturers to sell them in order to meet fuel efficiency standards and CO2 emission reduction schemes. The UK has banned the sale of all new petrol-run cars by 2030, in South Korea the date is 2025.

Last year, the Morrison government announced it would partner with the private sector to fund 50,000 EV charging stations in homes, 500 for businesses and 1,000 in public areas. This is one part of the government’s $2.1bn funded future fuels and vehicle strategy. A spokesperson for the energy minister, Angus Taylor, said the strategy will make “it easier for Australians to make the choice to switch to a new technology vehicle that’s right for them”.

But Australia remains the only country in the OECD not to have fuel efficiency standards for CO2. Nor has Australia adopted the Euro 6 noxious emission standards on fuel quality, which was applied to all new cars sold in the EU more than six years ago.

“Australia is not in the race,” says Jafari. “Our partners in the US and Europe and right around the world have a much easier time because there’s a requirement for them to get enough electric vehicles into their markets.”

Last year carmakers warned there would be production cuts due to supply chain issues resulting from the pandemic. But Hyundai Australia’s general manager of corporate affairs, Bill Thomas, says the fact that there are not enough EVs available in Australia is mainly due to a lack of incentives to sell the cars here, rather than supply chain issues.

In Australia, there is a six to nine-month wait on Tesla models. Car manufacturer Kia could only secure 500 of its new electric SUVs this year despite 20,000 Australians expressing interest.

When Nathan Gore-Brown, an EV consultant, saw Honda confirm they had no plans to sell the electric car he wanted in Australia – the Honda E – he decided to import a used one from the UK. It cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to bring the almost $45,000 car to Australia.

Gore-Brown says a major issue stalling EV uptake is that Australia does not get the same choice of models as many other countries, and what is sent here is often delayed. Car manufacturer Škoda announced their electric SUV Enyaq would be sold in Australia in 2023, three years after it was first sold in the UK.

Thomas says the demand for Hyundai’s EVs has gradually increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent petrol prices soaring. “We’re seeing more discussions about EVs on the showroom floor,” he says.

“People are coming in to look at cars and they’re much more likely to talk about the potential for an EV, even more than they were two weeks ago.”

Hyundai has requested more EVs for the Australian market, but does not yet have confirmation they will be delivered. It hopes to secure a version of the Ioniq 5 model that is lower in price later this year.

Jafari says without government leadership on EVs, Australians have been left in a risky position. “Every year that we go on with Australians buying petrol vehicles, they’re at risk of buying a new vehicle that in four or five years’ time will be worthless … no one will want to buy it because it’s redundant technology,” he says.

“There essentially needs to be a warning that people are buying landlines when the world is moving towards mobile phones.”

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Due to the difficulty in securing an EV that was right for Holding’s family of four and a dog, he bought an internal combustion engine car four months ago to get him by.

“I did need a car, and it got the point I just couldn’t wait any more,” he says.

A spokesperson for the energy minister, Angus Taylor, said supply chain constraints were a global problem affecting vehicles and components.

“Despite these constraints, Australians already have the confidence to make the choice to drive an EV,” they said. “Battery EV sales are soaring, having tripled from 2020 to 2021.”

The spokesperson said the government’s modern manufacturing strategy was working to overcome global constraints and strengthen local production.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.


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Aviation and Telecom Industries Reach Compromise on 5G Deployment

The Voice Of EU | In a significant development, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile network operators in the United States, have agreed to delay the deployment of 5G services following requests from the aviation industry and the Biden administration. This decision marks a crucial compromise in the long-standing dispute between the two industries, which had raised concerns over the potential interference of 5G with flight signals.
The aviation industry, led by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, had been vocal about the risks of 5G deployment, citing concerns over the safety of flight operations. Kirby had urged AT&T and Verizon to delay their plans, warning that proceeding with the deployment would be a “catastrophic failure of government.” The US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue further highlighted the need for a solution.
In response, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson sent a letter to the mobile networks, requesting a two-week delay to reassess the potential risks. Initially, AT&T and Verizon were hesitant, citing the aviation industry’s two-year preparation window. However, they eventually agreed to the short delay, pushing the deployment to January 19.
The crux of the issue lies in the potential interference between 5G signals and flight equipment, particularly radar altimeters. The C-Band spectrum used by 5G networks is close to the frequencies employed by these critical safety devices. The FAA requires accurate and reliable radar altimeters to ensure safe flight operations.

Airlines in the US have been at loggerheads with mobile networks over the deployment of 5G and its potential impact on flight safety.

Despite the concerns, both the FAA and the telecoms industry agree that 5G mobile networks and airline travel can coexist safely. In fact, they already do in nearly 40 countries where US airlines operate regularly. The key lies in reducing power levels around airports and fostering cross-industry collaboration prior to deployment.
The FAA has been working to find a solution in the United States, and the additional two-week delay will allow for further assessment and preparation. AT&T and Verizon have also agreed to not operate 5G base stations along runways for six months, similar to restrictions imposed in France.
President Joe Biden hailed the decision to delay as “a significant step in the right direction.” The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and South Korea have also reported no unsafe interference with radio waves since the deployment of 5G in their regions.
As the aviation and telecom industries continue to work together, it is clear that safe coexistence is possible. The delay in 5G deployment is a crucial step towards finding a solution that prioritizes both safety and innovation. With ongoing collaboration and technical assessments, the United States can join the growing list of countries where 5G and airlines coexist without issue.

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