Encouraging EV Uptake in Australia

Thursday, 01 September, 2022

Encouraging EV Uptake in Australia

Despite all the talk of electric vehicles (EVs) such as Teslas and Nissan Leafs taking to the road — do you know how many new cars are actually all-electric vehicles?

A mere 1.6% last year. This is well below the global average of 9%. This isn’t too surprising, considering there are only about 1800 charging stations — and only 291 fast charging stations — available around 7.7 million square kilometres of country. Couple that to the fact that most electric variants are often twice the price of already existing petrol models.

So, what can be done to encourage EV uptake in Australia?

Manufacturer support

Though we have seen Tesla, Nissan, and Toyota coming to Australia to peddle EVs, Australia’s lax environmental standards still mean that petrol driven cars are more affordable than EVs. Unlike Europe, we do not tax or fine car importers for missing CO2 emissions targets. As outlined here, Volkswagen does not ship EVs to Australia precisely for this reason. The stick is non-existent; and the carrot is much to be desired.

Government incentives and investment

Some state governments such as the NSW State Government do have a Net Zero plan and electric vehicle strategy: waiving stamp duty for EVs priced $78,000; a $3000 rebate for the first 25,000 EVs sold after September 2021, priced under $68,750. The ACT is offering interest-free loans up to $15,000 to buy EVs; the Victorian Government is also taking the NSW lead and offering a similar rebate and an exemption from Victorian luxury car duty.

Though there is a comprehensive list of discounts and incentives here, more can be done to incentivise purchase of EVs on the part of governments.

Fast charging stations

Australia only has 1800 charging stations — with plans for about 700 more proposed in Australia in the near future. However, this is nowhere near enough — nor are they fast enough. Most of the 291 fast charging stations max out at 50 kW — that means adding 50 km to your car every 10 minutes, meaning you’ll be waiting half an hour or more to fill up your battery to at least 80% or so. Australia needs to invest in “ultra-rapid” charging stations of 350 kW+ — which mean a battery could have a full charge in 15 minutes, allowing them to drive halfway from Sydney to Melbourne at the very least.

Green car loans

People who choose green vehicles are now receiving cheaper borrowing rates from lenders, credit unions, and other brokers. However, the incentives may not go far enough.

The Green Vehicle Guide published by the Australian Government details how environmentally friendly new vehicles are. It uses a five-star rating system. The greener the automobile is, the higher the star rating. This is determined by evaluating a car's fuel efficiency, its Greenhouse Rating (10 being the best), and its Air Pollution Rating (out of 10). Unsurprisingly, EVs get a perfect score all around.

You can get a sense of how much you could save with a green car loan by doing a review of the average car loan interest rates in Australia and comparing what’s available from specialist green car loan brokers.

Image credit: iStock.com/jonathanfilskov-photography

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