Batting away criticism from its controversial EV Tax, the Victorian government says it is looking to incentivize not hinder EV takeup in Australia.
The Victorian government has outlined a plan to dramatically increase the uptake of electric vehicles by offering buyers up to $3,000 each as an incentive.
Critically, this financial boost will be available to a total of 20,000 people, with 4,000 places initially available from May 2, on electric vehicles that cost less than $69,000.
The Labor-led government says it will set up an expert advisory panel to study the policies, programs and infrastructure required to see electric cars sales rise from around one per cent nationally to 50 per cent in Victoria by 2030.
The $100million package targeted at ‘Zero Emissions Vehicles’ or ZEV is part of a wider state plan that aims to meet a an overall net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.
As part of the deal, Labor said it will invest $19 million into charging infrastructure that will be placed at tourist attractions and along major highways to make EVs more usable in the real world.
The move comes after the Victorian government faced significant criticism from the car industry and environmental groups for introducing the first tax on EVs anywhere in the world.
The tax, set to be introduced from July 1, will charge EV owners 2.5 cents per kilometre in what is seen as a huge disincentive for buyers.
The rebate will somewhat offset the new tax and the cost of an EV – which are still significantly more expensive than their petrol counterparts despite major breakthroughs in reduced production costs in recent years.
For example one of the most affordable EVs on the market the Hyundai Kona Electric small SUV starts at $62,000 (before on-road costs) for the Elite variant compared to $31,600 for the petrol model.
The Victorian plan will mean cheaper EV models such as the aforementioned Hyundai along with the MG ZS EV small SUV and Nissan Leaf hatch will all be eligible but the more expensive Mercedes-Benz EQC will not.
However some modes will be accepted on more of a case-by-case basis, with the base Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus eligible with a cost of $64,425 (before on-road costs) but the mid-tier Long Range variant at $79,425 (before on-roads) will not.
The move makes it the first time a direct financial incentive has been offered for the purchase price of an EV, though Canberra has helped lower the outright cost by waiving stamp duty in the past.
Tony Weber, the CEO of car industry lobby group FCAI welcomed the more “holistic approach to increasing the uptake of electric vehicles” but expressed concern about the 2030 target.
“The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles. Governments should focus on targets, not technologies. If governments set the targets, the carmakers will deliver the range of vehicles into the market that achieve environmental outcomes and meet the needs of Australian motorists,” he said.
Mr Weber thanked the Victorian government for consulting the FCAI on the latest electric vehicle policy but made it clear its issues with the EV Tax had not been put to bed.
“Road user charging decisions should not be based around specific technologies and particularly those that are in their relative infancy in the Australian market,” he said.
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