Even without EV taxes, if Australia were to continue on its current policy path with little support for consumers opting for electric vehicles, the federal government’s own modelling suggests the fleet will be only about 65 per cent electric by 2050, he says.

Loading

Preliminary results from Dr Whitehead’s own research on the impact of such taxes on consumer choices suggest that without any significant incentives, even small taxes could reduce uptake by 50 per cent.

“What matters is perception, and even if the tax is only a few hundred dollars per year, the perception is that it will cost thousands over a car’s lifetime and that government does not support the technology,” he says.

Dr Whitehead says in most similar jurisdictions around the world governments provide incentives to buy electric vehicles, such as tax concessions, special transit lanes or free parking.

An electric car charges on a street charging port in London.

An electric car charges on a street charging port in London.Credit:AP

Some US states have road user charges for electric cars, but that is offset by federal tax concessions, he said.

Stephen Lester, managing director of Nissan Australia, which sells the mid-range Leaf electric model, said the idea that these taxes are targeted at wealthy people driving luxury cars is false, and taxes like this make it harder to introduce a wider range of cheaper electric cars to Australian consumers.

“Australia’s EV policy is underdeveloped compared to other OECD nations,” he said. “Nations with regulations and targets in support of EVs clearly have a stronger business case for faster new vehicle model introductions compared to Australia.

READ  Sitel Bets Big on Colombia, to Add 2000 New Staff to its Workforce - Nearshore Americas

“Adoption of EVs in Australia will not gather any significant pace until there is a wider choice of EVs available, which will only arrive when there are clear policies that advocate and support consumer adoption of these vehicles.”

Tony Webber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, said it was “mind boggling” that governments would choose to tax people who opted to spend more money on cars that did not pollute.

“This is a tax on a product that’s in its infancy that needs to be supported so that it gets volume and acceptance in the marketplace.”

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief executive Adrian Dwyer, who has been lobbying for road user charges to replace fuel excise tax, welcomed the new taxes.

But he said the body, which lobbies on behalf of the infrastructure industry, also supports a broader policy package that encourages the transition to an electric fleet.

“In the future we won’t call them electric vehicles, we’ll simply call them cars. That’s a welcome future, but those cars will still use roads, and introducing a road user charge now will ensure funding will be available to maintain the roads we have and build the roads we need.”

Federal Transport Minister Michael McCormack said there were very few electric vehicles on Australia’s roads and, as such, “no current proposal to introduce a road user charge”.

However, he is “working collaboratively with states and territories” on the issue, following a meeting in November last year where the “revenue implications” for fuel excise from electric vehicles was raised.

READ  AFBE-UK Scotland launches STEM mentoring

Labor went to the 2019 federal election promising to set a target for half of all new car sales to be electric vehicles by 2030, and to give businesses a tax deduction to drive uptake.

The party’s climate change and energy spokesman, Mark Butler, said “state governments are filling the void for Scott Morrison’s refusal to have any electric vehicle policy”.

“Australians won’t forget Scott Morrison’s ridiculous scare campaign that electric vehicles would ‘end the weekend’”, Mr Butler said.

Most Viewed in Environment

Loading



READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here