EV Policy: rouge nation
It’s every state and territory for itself as the federal government declines to take the lead on EV policy. Here’s the current state of play.
It’s 2021 – the year of the EV announcement. The Feds have sat back too long and now the states are taking over, but will it last and for how long?
Leading the charge are, unsurprisingly – the eastern states. New South Wales and Victoria have both, for better or worse, recently revealed strategies aimed at incentivising the purchasing of electric vehicles and investments in their own infrastructure. Meanwhile, the ACT and Queensland have too outlined new plans in June, both offering a range of perks for those considering the swap.
While all states are investing in a charging station boom of some kind, only five are offering any kind of draw for Aussies to make the move from internal combustion (ICE) to electric. But, and it’s a big but, two of them – NSW and Vic – also plan to charge EV owners for driving on the roads.
Victoria has come under considerable heat for implementing its tariff from July this year, whereas NSW won’t begin charging EV owners until 2027, or when 30 percent of the state’s vehicles are electrified – whichever marker comes first.
“We’re taking big steps to achieve net zero emissions in Victoria by 2050,” a spokesman for the Victorian Government said in its defence. “We know transport is one of the state’s biggest emitters – and through our Zero Emissions Vehicle Roadmap, we’re accelerating the uptake of these vehicles by making them accessible to more Victorians.”
But last month NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced his Government’s plans to invest $490 million in removing barriers to EV uptake and to encourage people to buy over the next four years – an approach which has been praised by the industry despite also choosing to go down the path of introducing a road-user charge. “Our comprehensive strategy is about making sure we have the right mix in place to incentivise the takeup of electric vehicles while ensuring everyone who drives on our roads contributes to funding and maintaining them,” Mr Perrottet said.
Interestingly, when asked about plans to tax EV owners, the ACT said its own strategy relates to the idea of levying a charge against all vehicle types, something the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries is keen to see become a reality.
“We shouldn’t be talking just about EVs – we should be talking about major automotive tax reform,” said FCAI’s Chief Executive Tony Weber.
“At the moment we have a whole host of taxes on our cars – there’s GST, stamp duty, rego, the licence fee, the fuel excise and in some cases the LCT. We could eliminate all of those and just have one single, nationally consistent, charge based on how many kilometres you drive in a year, regardless of what technology cars have.
“The problem we have here is the fuel excise is collected by the Federal Government but now the road user charges are being/will be paid to the individual states.
“In an ideal world the Government would be [centralising vehicle taxation] now, but it’s still something we could plan for in the future. There’s a very real danger if the six states and two territories go it alone, the red tape to undo all that would be too substantial. The longer the Federal Government is inactive in this space the more difficult it is going to be to deal with.”
The FCAI exec also slammed the Government’s lack of CO2 emissions regulation, with the body having had to introduce its own industry-led scheme last year, whereby car manufacturers report their vehicles’ performance of their own volition.
“Government’s shouldn’t be in charge of picking technologies, they should be providing the emissions targets and letting the carmakers figure out what mix of products to bring in.
Saying ‘we want 30 percent EVs by X date’ is absolute rubbish, the 30 percent could be very energy efficient but the other 70 percent could be the most polluting cars going,” Mr Weber added. While the Government did not respond on its lack of CO2 targets, it has said it is working “collaboratively with state and territory governments to consider the revenue and other implications of increased uptake of low and zero-emissions vehicles.”
It also claims to be focused on “practical actions” which will enable the private sector to commercially deploy low-emissions road transport technologies at scale.
In September last year it revealed its ‘Future Fuels Package’, at the centre of which is a $71.9 million fund for businesses to start integrating new vehicle technologies into their fleets, and to address blackspots in public charging and refuelling infrastructure. Around $21 million of this has already been committed to two major projects to install BEV charging stations powered by renewable energy along Australia’s national highways. Its final strategy will be revealed later this year.
The exec also slammed the Govt’s lack of CO2 emissions Regulation AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST ISSUES when it comes to electric vehicle uptake are cost, range and availability. And that’s where the carmakers come into the mix; they can work on the cost and the range, but availability is largely dependent on the Government providing the infrastructure and setting more stringent emissions targets to make bringing new technology Down Under feasible. “NSW is setting the pace for the rest of Australia,” said Hyundai Australia COO, John Kett. “Significant investment in the charging network… is a welcome initiative. Highly developed infrastructure provides confidence to customers and removes uncertainty around being able to charge EVs away from home.
“Providing stimulus for improving low EV adoption rates in Australia, by offering tax relief and purchase incentives for customers, is another encouraging step. We’ve seen government incentives stimulate adoption rates in advanced markets overseas and the NSW EV Strategy is at world best-practice levels in that regard,” Kett added.
Australia’s EV policies state by state
NT INCENTIVE: None – looking at various measures it could take TAX: None – No current proposal, could possibly be in the long term
CHARGING: Currently has 32 charging stations – 30 public and two high-powered
UPTAKE GOAL: In February 2019 (the latest data the NT Government could provide) there were 35 EVs registered in the Northern Territory, including 33 light and two heavy vehicles, representing 0.02 per cent of the total Northern Territory vehicle fleetNo date set for what percent of all vehicles should be EVs. SA
TAX: Plans for a road-user charge, not outlined in detail as in NSW or VIC
CHARGING: Investing $13.4 million in its charging network – increasing points to 530 statewide, most of which will have a 7kW capacity
UPTAKE GOAL: SA Government aims for EVs to be “common choice” by 2030 and the “default” by 2035Incorporating PHEVs into its own fleet as costs become more competitive, with a goal of its vehicles being fully electric by 2030.
WA INCENTIVES: EVs exempt from 10 percent on-demand transport levy TAX: None – not being considered at this time
CHARGING: 235 charging stations of varying capacity ranging from <22kW to 350kW. $21 million plan to create Australia’s longest EV fast-charging network
UPTAKE GOAL: 25 percent of Government’s fleet electric by 2025/26.
NSW INCENTIVES: $3000 rebate for the first 25,000 EVs or FCEVs sold which are priced less than $68,750Stamp duty waived on both types of vehicle under $78,000 – all from September 1, 2021
TAX: 2.5c/km BEV, 2c/km PHEV – but only as of July 1, 2027
CHARGING: $171 million investment in infrastructure, including; $131m on ultra-fast chargers$20m in grants for destination points and $20m for topping up at public transport hubs Working to deliver 20 fast chargers along the state’s major highways in partnership with NRMA
QLD INCENTIVES: Lowest car registration for BEVs – $263 a year (corr. July 2020)Lower stamp duty rates than
TAX: No plans at this time
CHARGING: Queensland has invested in an ‘Electric Super Highway’, currently the longest electric fast-charging network in the world (in a single state) with 31 EV plug-in sites running from the Gold Coast to Cairns and west from Brisbane to ToowoombaEighteen new charging sites will be added to the Super Highway in phase three of the Govt’s strategy, spreading into regional Queensland
INCENTIVES: Two years’ free stamp duty for new and second-hand EVsTwo years’ free rego on EVs purchased by car rental companies and coach operators
TAX: No plans at this time but will monitor based on what’s happening in other states CHARGING: 12 fast chargers plus $600,000 in grants committed to growing the network in regional areas and tourist hotspots
UPTAKE GOAL: 100 percent of Government’s fleet to be electric by 2030.
INCENTIVES: $3000 subsidy given for the first 20,000 EVs or FCEVs sold which are priced under $68,740 • Reduced stamp duty rates $100 discount on registration Annually
TAX: 2.5c/km BEV, 2c/km PHEV
from July 1, 2021
CHARGING: $19 million will fund plans to quadruple the number of new charging stations statewide – focusing on regional Victoria and popular tourist sites
UPTAKE GOAL: 50 percent of all new cars sold to be EVs by 2030 • $10 million to add 400 EVs to the Government’s fleet in the next two years
INCENTIVES: Two years’ free registration for BEVs and FCEVs as of May 24, 2021 • Older EVs eligible for 20 percent offrego feesStamp duty may also be waived on vehicles purchased for the first time ACT drivers are also able to access up to $15,000 in interest-free loans to help cover the up-front purchase cost of an electric vehicle
TAX: None yet – distance and/ or congestion based charging for all vehicle types “may be considered in the medium term”
CHARGING: Currently there are 42 public charging locations in the ACT – with 50 more coming next year