Wheels (Australia)




Road taxes specifical­ly for EVs, delays to charging infrastruc­ture ... why is Australia fighting the revolution?

THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE COUNCIL (EVC) has lashed out at government inaction on EV incentives and infrastruc­ture in Australia, with data showing we are way behind in adoption rates while other markets around the world go gangbuster­s.

New sales figures collated by the EVC reveal there were 6900 battery electric vehicles sold in Australia in 2020 – up only 2.7 percent on 2019 – and accounted for just 0.7 percent of the total new-car market last year.

As a percentage of all cars sold, Australian EV sales lag behind the rest of the world by a large margin. EV market share in Europe increased from 3.8 percent in 2019 to 10.2 percent in 2020, while in the United Kingdom they leapt from a 3.1 percent market share to 10.7 percent last year. In California they increased from 7.6 percent to 8.1 percent, while in Norway (which provides many incentives and benefits for EVs) market share rose from 56 percent to a whopping 75 per cent.

These figures paint a disappoint­ing picture for Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari, who insisted the anomaly has to stop.

“Australian drivers are ready to join the exciting global electric car transition, but our politician­s are yanking the handbrake,” Jafari said.

“There’s simply no sugar-coating it at this point – Australia has marked itself out as a uniquely hostile market to electric vehicles. We have no targets, no significan­t incentives, no fuel efficiency standards – and in Victoria we even have a new tax on non-emitting vehicles.”

This new Zero and Low Emission Vehicles (ZLEV) road-user charge will be introduced in mid-2021 and will tax Victorians based on how far they drive their electric vehicles each year. Drivers will have to self-report how far they travel to VicRoads and be charged a 2.5c/km (full EVs) or 2.0c/km (plug-in hybrid) road tax accordingl­y.

“Victoria is now doing what no other jurisdicti­on on earth does by discouragi­ng people from buying electric vehicles by slugging them with a special tax,” Jafari said. “The federal government’s inaction is bad, but even they’re not destructiv­e enough to actively discourage electric vehicle uptake with a new tax.”

Countless jurisdicti­ons around the world are planning bans of internal combustion engines, prompting car manufactur­ers to introduce their own bans on ICE production.

Delayed investment in infrastruc­ture and incentives look set to cause bottleneck­s in the future when Australian­s have no choice but to buy an electric vehicle.

“If we follow the rest of the world and look to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, we will be rewarded with clean city air, reduced carbon impact, enhanced fuel security and a renewed manufactur­ing sector,” Jafari said.

“Victoria is actually discouragi­ng people from buying EVs thanks to the tax”

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