The following scenario could be difficult to imagine, when you consider 99 per cent of Australia’s cars are currently not powered by electricity.

By 2030, there would be no new petrol or diesel cars sold — they would all be electric or hydrogen-powered. It would be compulsory for all new property developments to have electric charging stations, and governments would offer generous subsidies to encourage drivers to trade in petrol-guzzling cars in favour of low or zero emission vehicles.

However, these were among the leading ideas put forward by a panel of 211 “everyday Victorians” for an Infrastructure Victoria consultation program.

The advisory body, which operates independently from the Victorian government, is looking for ways to drive emissions down so the state can meet a mandated net zero target by 2050.

Infrastructure Victoria’s deputy chief executive Jonathan Spear said most sectors had found ways to cut pollution, but transport-related emissions had increased by about 18 per cent since 1990.

We’re having a really good look at the practicality of phasing out sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030,” he said.

“Governments around the world are thinking really hard about how to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles.

“We have given this report from the community to the Victorian government already for them to think about.”

Lack of policies’ holding Australia back

Electric vehicle enthusiasts like Taylors Lakes resident Chris Vanderstock hope the ideas, especially the proposed ban on new combustion engine vehicle sales, will be taken seriously.

“If we just have policymakers, politicians and governments giving us that guidance, then I think people will actually make that jump and get on board sooner,” he said.

The side mirror reflection of a man with glasses sitting in a blue car

“In Australia, due to our lack of policies and political will, shall we say, we only have literally about 10 different electric vehicles we can buy.

“So I understand that people have reservations about getting into an electric vehicle and not being able to buy their favourite one.”

Mr Vanderstock said there were myths about the technology that needed to be dispelled, such as a lack of power to pull things like trailers.

“They have this zero-to-instant torque where you put your foot down and you go. It’s very much infectious,” he said.

Other ideas include trade-in schemes, compulsory chargers

Nationwide, electric vehicles made up only 6,900 of the 916,968 new cars sold last year, according to figures from the Electric Vehicle Council and Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

A ban on the sale of new petrol cars in less than a decade would require a drastic shift in consumer behaviour and government spending for more public charging stations.

Electric vehicle prices are substantially higher than their petrol and diesel counterparts, although offer lower running and maintenance costs. The cheapest new electric car on the market costs $43,990.

Mr Spear said Infrastructure Victoria’s community panel came up with 21 recommendations after a detailed, five-week consultation process.

Other key recommendations included increasing charging stations in public hotspots, setting up schemes to cover vehicle emissions and the trade-in of combustion engine cars, and encouraging governments to use electric fleets.

Panel members were of all ages, and one in three were migrants to Australia. Sixty per cent were male, and about a quarter of participants lived in regional Victoria. At least 22 of the 211 members were electric vehicle owners.

Politically-charged issue back in spotlight

The role of electric vehicles in Australia’s future has again emerged in headlines nationwide — not that debate about the issue ever really went away.

Last week, the federal opposition pledged to make electric cars substantially cheaper through import tariff and tax changes.

Electric car with charger in foreground.

Meanwhile, in Victoria, the state parliament is considering a bill that would see electric vehicle owners charged 2.5 cents per kilometre, with the money raised going towards road upgrades.

The government said the move would cost drivers an average of $330 a year, compared to an average of $600 in fuel excise charges.

However, electric vehicle advocates have criticised the proposal, saying the tax would be a further disincentive for people to adopt the new technology.

The federal government released long-overdue plans for supporting electric vehicles in February, but ruled out direct financial assistance for motorists to take up the new technology.

Extracted in full from: Infrastructure Victoria panel calls for end of new petrol car sales, amid slow take-up of electric vehicles – ABC News