$3000 electric car subsidy unveiled in Australia

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Words: Matthew Hansen   |   Photos Tom Gasnier
4 May 2021

As the New Zealand Government weighs up the pros and cons of introducing an electric car subsidy, over the ditch the Victorian Government has announced a AU$100million EV subsidy package of its own.

The southern state has just confirmed that an initial batch of 4000 electric or hydrogen car buyers in the region will be granted an AU$3000 ($3232) subsidy on their next electric vehicle purchase, kicking off this month.

The plan is to eventually grant subsidies for 20,000 EV and/or hydrogen car purchases in Victoria. The local government’s goal is for half of all new-car sales in 2030 to be electric or hydrogen based.

The package only entails car and SUV purchases, and does not apply for those buying trucks or buses. The price of electric and hydrogen vehicles that can be purchased with the subsidy is capped at AU$68,740 ($74,075) before on-road costs.

On top of this and its 2030 new-car goals, the Victorian Government has also pledged to buy around 400 zero-emission vehicles for its fleet by 2023. It’s also going to spend AU$19million on a charger update across the state, which will include the installation of at least 50 new units.

The announcement effectively cancels out a scheme recommended by Infrastructure Victoria to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the region by 2030.

The announcement loses a fair bit of its lustre when you consider that the Victorian Government is also currently weighing up loading EV owners with an added tax that, technically, would make them more heavily taxed than those driving petrol and diesel vehicles.

Tony Weber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (Australia’s motoring governing body) noted how the subsidy and tax appear to be a case of one stop forward, one step back.

“The incentives package for electric vehicles is consistent with actions being taken by governments across the world. However, it does bring into question the decision of the Victorian Government to also introduce legislation that targets a road user charge on electric and plug in hybrid vehicles,” said Weber.

Whether New Zealand will follow suit remains to be seen. The Climate Change Commission has recommended a ban on the import of new and used petrol and diesel internal combustion cars, while distributors responded to the Labour Government’s Clean Car Standard legislation with pleas that it gets postponed or that some form of ‘feebate’ scheme gets introduced for low-emission vehicles.

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