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Electric Vehicles Hum Onto Center Stage in Australian Election

The Investing News Network takes a look at why electric vehicles have been such a hot topic in the Australian federal election.

Australians will soon vote in a federal election that will see the center-right Coalition defend its two term stint in government, and the resources industry has popped up all over the campaign.

A key issue of debate has been electric vehicles (EVs), with party leaders squaring off and taking potshots at each other over clean energy targets, EV incentives, infrastructure and prices, which are all talking points among analysts in regards to when the “EV boom” will hit.

Incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken aim at his counterpart’s approach to all of the above, accusing Opposition Leader Bill Shorten of the Australian Labor Party of wanting to take away choice when it comes to vehicles, name dropping brands that will supposedly become unaffordable if EV sales targets are introduced.

Meanwhile, the Labor Party has announced plans to support the battery metals sector in a statement that seeks to spin the clean energy side of the story, though its approach is more through encouraging the development of a manufacturing, export and investment strategy for batteries themselves.

So who said what?

Back to the electioneering. Morrison’s issue is with the Labor Party’s proposal for a 50 percent EV sales target by 2030 — a variant of a policy that has become more and more popular with jurisdictions around the world as they seek to tackle emissions targets.

“(Labor is) taking the choices away from Australians of what car they are going to drive,” said Morrison, before the election even kicked off.

He accused the party of wanting to “end the weekend” by making popular SUVs and trucks unavailable, saying that is Coalition is not anti-EV, but it opposes Labor’s approach, which he called “mandatory.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott — whose successor Morrison succeeded (it’s complicated) — ran away with the idea that EVs represent zero choice for Australians, saying in a debate that proposals for targets would mean “no Hiluxes, no Taragos, no SUVs, no utes.”

So, there are plenty of hot takes on electric vehicles in Australia at the moment.

Labor’s policy details both carrot and stick approaches to increasing electric vehicle uptake, including government-imposed sales targets for EVs (stick) and tax reductions for businesses that switch to EVs (carrot), alongside regulatory reforms.

The proposed reforms would include the development of emissions standards that would allow retailers to offset sales of higher emission vehicles with sales of lower emission vehicles.

Morrison name dropped popular models from Ford (NYSE:F), Toyota (NYSE:TM,TSE:7203), Mazda (OTC Pink:MZDAF,TSE:7261) and Hyundai (OTC Pink:HYMTF,KRX:005380) as “vehicles which will not measure up to Bill Shorten’s vehicles emissions standard, and they’re the vehicles that will be ultimately outlawed.”

Korean carmaker Hyundai did not respond well to being named in the election campaign, warning against “fear-mongering” from politicians and defending its commitment to the electrification of its portfolio with additional EV models available to Australian buyers.

“During the election, we hope the conversation goes away from the fear-mongering and misleading to actual facts,” said Hyundai Australia’s government relations officer, Scott Nargar.

Meanwhile, Toyota piped up to make it clear it isn’t too happy about featuring in Facebook attack ads paid for by the government implying that the Labor Party is going to prevent consumers from buying vehicles like its Hilux truck.

The company added that it plans to offer electric versions of all its models within the next six years — including the Hilux.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) welcomed not just the Labor Party’s policy on EVs, but the fact that EVs are being talked about so much in this election cycle.

“It’s fantastic to see this important topic receive the attention it deserves,” said Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI.

“We have been calling for the implementation of an achievable emissions target for some time, so we welcome the opportunity to discuss this in more detail. The key is to implement achievable emissions targets, designed in consultation with industry, as part of the transport sector’s contribution to lower overall emissions.”

Weber also said that the FCAI, having observed European markets, believes that infrastructure support and government incentives are necessary to achieve higher EV uptake, cautioning that Labor’s 50 percent sales target is “ambitious.”

“A well thought out introductory plan that includes tariff and tax relief, financial and non-financial incentives and the provision of comprehensive infrastructure will need to be implemented if the targets are to be achieved.”

The Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) said much the same.

“Achieving a target of 50 per cent of new car sales is ambitious and will require a significant improvement in affordability of electric vehicles and related charging infrastructure,” said AADA CEO David Blackhall.

However, Blackhall and the AADA said that emissions standards targets must be aimed at manufacturers, rather than retailers, as envisaged in Labor’s plan, to allow them to balance sales of lower and higher emission vehicles.

“In the US and the EU, it is the manufacturer, not the retailer, that needs to adhere to vehicle emissions standards,” said Blackhall.

Will politicking have an impact on sentiment?

Way upstream from where most of the demand for lithium-ion batteries comes from, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) told the Investing News Network that Australia can expect to see higher demand for the country’s critical elements given how well it could cater to the development of advanced consumer products.

This growing demand will allow Australia’s minerals sector to continue to deliver highly paid, highly skilled jobs and generate export income that benefits households and businesses across the nation,” said a spokesperson for the MCA.

They also said that political discourse is little to be concerned about.

“Most Australians support our world class minerals industry. Australia’s minerals industry is poised to deliver lasting economic benefits through cutting edge research and global commercialization opportunities.”

Alternative energy vehicles are very much a part of that, they added.

“The resources sector is making a critical contribution to reducing emissions from passenger vehicles and reducing our reliance on imported liquid fuels.”

Upstream developments

Buyers and their choices of vehicles are a long way downstream in the resources industry, but carmakers themselves have been shifting into war footings as they compete for the hearts (and wallets) of buyers the world over, notably making efforts to lock down battery metals supplies and suppliers as demand begins to pick up on a global scale.

One of the biggest shifts in securing battery resources was BMW’s (OTC Pink:BMWYY,ETR:BMW) deal to source cobalt directly from Glencore’s (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) Murrin Murrin cobalt mine in Western Australia, as well as from assets in Morocco.

While this is a step away from ethically murky sources in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in a note released by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, experts stated that the 5,000 tonnes of cobalt produced by the Australian and Moroccan mines per year is enough to produce 350,000 electric vehicles.

“To put that into perspective, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.5 million vehicles in 2018, of which 140,000 were electrified models,” they said. BMW is, of course, not the only carmaker in the electric vehicle game — so there could be a fight on the cards as noted by Benchmark.

“(BMW’s) actions could potentially initiate the start of a premium market for non-DRC cobalt within the downstream industry. As the limited amount of non-DRC production is locked up in long-term deals by cell manufacturers and auto makers, producers with non-DRC operations will take the opportunity to command higher prices.”

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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Highlights: – Former Xstrata plc executive, Mr. Ian Woolsey, has joined Jervois as Group Manager Information Technology – Mr. Woolsey will lead the IT integration of Freeport Cobalt in Finland, Idaho Cobalt Operations in the United States and the São Miguel Paulista nickel-cobalt refinery in Brazil – Mr. Woolsey joins Jervois after more than 10 years with Glencore Xstrata where he led the IT integration of major …

(TheNewswire)

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AustralianSuper announces that it acquired 47,534,965 ordinary shares in the capital of Jervois Mining Limited on 27 October 2020 and a further 13,120,773 Shares on 3 December 2020 such that immediately following the second acquisition, AustralianSuper held a total of 108,450,700 of the issued and outstanding Shares in Jervois. The Shares were acquired pursuant to private placements by Jervois to institutional and …

AustralianSuper announces that it acquired 47,534,965 ordinary shares (“Shares”) in the capital of Jervois Mining Limited (ASX: JRV) (TSXV: JRV) (“Jervois”) on 27 October 2020 and a further 13,120,773 Shares on 3 December 2020 such that immediately following the second acquisition, AustralianSuper held a total of 108,450,700 (or approximately 13.71%) of the issued and outstanding Shares in Jervois.

The Shares were acquired pursuant to private placements by Jervois to institutional and sophisticated investors. The average purchase price per Share was AUD0.305/ CAD0.29 for an aggregate total purchase consideration of AUD18.5 million/ CAD17.6 million .

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HIGHLIGHTS: -James May becomes Jervois’ CFO after almost 15 years in leadership roles with Rio Tinto -Mr May’s most recent role in Rio Tinto was as Interim Vice President, Sales and Marketing for the Energy & Minerals portfolio, based in Singapore -Mr May was also previously the CFO of Energy Resources of Australia Limited, an ASX-listed uranium miner, majority owned by Rio Tinto -Mr May also worked in various …

(TheNewswire)

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5 Top ASX Robotics Stocks

Emerging Technology Investing
robotic arm above a globe showing Australia

Australia is hoping to lead the way in robotics, and these are some of the country's top robotics stocks by market cap.

Robotics is a growing area of engineering and science technology. Although Australia is hoping to lead the way in robotics, the number of pure-play ASX-listed robotics companies isn't all that big.

Robotics is a broad term covering everything from design to the construction and operation of robots. It also includes the use of robots in roles normally played by humans, often to reduce errors or speed up processes.

This list includes a wide range of ASX-listed companies that employ robotics. Data was sourced using TradingView's stock screener on November 24, 2021, and stocks are listed in order of market cap from largest to smallest.


1. WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC)

Market cap: AU$17.19 billion; current share price: AU$52.90

Technology powerhouse WiseTech Global provides software solutions to logistics businesses in 130 countries around the world. Its CargoWise platforms are designed using workflows, automation and robotics. The WiseTech Global Group includes more than 30 businesses.

The company has performed positively on the ASX over the past year, with its share price rising about 70 percent since the start of 2021. The company expects to continue this momentum in during its 2022 fiscal year, with projected EBITDA growth of 26 to 38 percent.

2. Altium (ASX:ALU)

Market cap: AU$5.47 billion; current share price: AU$41.67

Altium is a leading global software company that focuses on 3D-printed circuit board (PCB) design. Although seemingly obscure, the PCB design tool Altium Designer is used by robotics companies like Robotics Kanti. The company also sponsors student robotics design competitions that focus on PCB design.

The 2021 fiscal year was strong for Altium, which reported a revenue increase of 6 percent, to AU$180.2 million, and announced a final dividend of AU$0.21 per share.

3. Vection Technologies (ASX:VR1)

Market cap: AU$249.49 million; current share price: AU$0.25

Vection Technologies is a multinational software company with offices in Western Australia, as well as Subiaco and Casalecchio di Reno in Italy. The company uses robotics technology in addition to 3D, virtual reality, augmented reality, industrial internet of things and CAD solutions.

The business is split into two sections: information technology development and outsourced services. The company also collaborates with Autodesk Technology Centres, the Microsoft Mixed Reality Team and Cisco Systems Italy.

4. FBR (ASX:FBR)

Market cap: AU$116.95 million; current share price: AU$0.05

FBR designs, develops and builds robots for the global construction market. The company's dynamically stabilised offerings are made to work outdoors using FBR's Dynamic Stabilisation Technology.

This technology was first used in the Hadrian X, a brick-laying robot that can build structural walls more efficiently than traditional methods and with less waste. The first commercial building to have its structural walls built by Hadrian X in 2020 was completed and tenanted in 2021.

5. Bill Identity (ASX:BID)

Market cap: AU$44.18 million; current share price: AU$0.25

Previously known as BidEnergy, Bill Identity provides a series of bill management solutions leveraged using its Robotic Process Automation (RPA). The RPA system helps clients increase their efficiency and serves customers across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US and Europe. The company had a strong year, with total operating revenue growth of 55 percent year-on-year to AU$14.6 million in its 2021 fiscal year.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article

Sydney Opera House at night

Robotics is an area of investing that is growing in Australia ― but is it a sector worth investing in?

The global robotics industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8 percent through 2028 according to the Global Industrial Robotics Market Analysis 2020. Robotics is an area of investing that is growing in Australia ― but is it a sector worth investing in?

Broadly speaking, robotics is the design and construction of robots. This can include core automation and production, industrial software, robot technology and integration of robotics. From drones to self-driving cars to toys ― robotics is a growing industry that is beginning to permeate our daily lives.


The distinction between robotics and AI can be a little confusing, but essentially think of robotics like the body and AI like the brain. Both can exist separately, and they are powerful when combined. The goal of a robot is to complete a task faster and more efficiently than a human.

What does the market look like?

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen technology sectors such as robotics accelerate as businesses have faced global challenges. Robotics has been able to help keep spaces safer by replacing humans with robots on factory lines, in eCommerce warehouses or on healthcare frontlines taking temperatures or disinfecting spaces.

What is Australia doing to support the robotics sector?

In early 2020, the Robotics Australia Network was formed to accelerate growth of the domestic robotics industry. The network aims to strengthen global competitiveness and cement Australia as a global leader in robotics.

How does the Australian robotics sector stack up?

According to the International Federation of Robotics, in a ranking of the world's most automated countries it's not even in the top 10. Number one is Singapore, followed by South Korea then Japan.

The investment space for pure robotics companies is relatively small, with greater opportunities to invest in more broader technology, AI and automation stocks.

Who are the big players in robotics stocks?

Robotics stocks in Australia are companies with a strong crossover to other technology sectors like artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Vection Technologies (ASX:VR1)
Market Cap AU$77.56 million

Vection is a multinational software company with offices in Western Australia as well as Subiaco and Casalecchio di Reno in Italy. The company uses robotics technology as well as 3D, virtual reality, augmented reality, industrial IoT and CAD solutions. The business is split into two sections: IT development and outsourced services. The company also collaborates with Autodesk Technology Centers, the Microsoft Mixed Reality Team and Cisco Systems Italy.

Bill Identity (ASX:BID)

Market Cap AU$52.97 million

Previously known as BidEnergy, Bill Identity is a series of bill management solutions leveraged using robotic process automation, which helps clients increase efficiency. The company serves customers across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US and Europe. Bill Identity had a strong year, with total operating revenue growth of 55 percent year-on-year to US$14.6M in FY21.

What are the other ways to invest in robotics?

Another way to get into the robotics sector is investing in robotics exchange traded funds (ETFs), a popular choice that offers exposure to the industry of robotics and artificial intelligence rather than a single company. Two major ETFs in the robotics sector are:

  • BetaShares Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (ASX:RBTZ)
  • The ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF (ARCA:ROBO)

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.