More cars are desperately needed for the Tasmanian “hire and drive” program announced by the state government, where a tourism peak driven has left car rental companies short on stock.

The Tasmanian government has introduced a reimbursement program that would see car owners who rent their vehicles out through car share programs Car Next Door and electric car specialist Evee granted up to $1,000 each by December 24, 2021.

Founder of Evee, Slava Kozlovskiii
FOUNDER OF EVEE, SLAVA KOZLOVSKII.

Evee says, however, it needs more cars.

Slava Kozlovskii, who founded the group to help EV owners gain a financial return on the vehicles, and also make driving an EV more accessible to tourists and the curious, says the only Tesla Model 3 registered with Evee in Hobart is rented out 65% of the time, three times that of Evee’s fleet-wide 24% utilisation rate.

“We’ve been struggling to onboard more vehicles in Tasmania,” he says.

“The only Model 3 we have in Hobart at the moment is booked out for most of June and July, and August, September and November already.”

It would definitely be good to have more availability by Christmas,” he says, noting a Nissan Leaf was just added to the fleet in Tasmania.

And it’s becoming easier and easier to drive around Tasmania in an electric vehicle. Just ask Renew Economy and The Driven editor Giles Parkinson, who did exactly that in January.

The state government officially opened its state-funded EV fast-charging network in February, and in March Evie Networks opened its second 350kW ultra-rapid charger.

On top of that, this week Devonport has become the first location in Australia to sport a Tesla Supercharger.

While other electric cars listed with Evee also experience the same utilisation rate that Tasmania’s one Model 3 is currently getting, Kozlovskii says the difference with the Tasmanian vehicle is that it is consistent across many months instead of just certain holiday periods.

He says that generally speaking, it’s great that the Tasmanian government’s department of state growth is offering the reimbursement program, but especially so that electric vehicles are mentioned in the announcement.

Tasmania is one of few states in Australia that offers incentives to drivers who want to make the switch to clean transport but are held back by their typically higher upfront costs.

The pro-electric vehicle Liberal Gutwein government promised a package in the run-up to the recent state election that new electric vehicle buyers in the next two years would not have to pay stamp duty.

The move is in stark contrast to the nearby Victorian Labor government which under premier Dan Andrews passed the world’s only electric vehicle tax on Tuesday, although it also offers a $3,000 rebate to new EV purchases.

While Kozlovskii doesn’t think the Victorian EV tax will impact Evee’s EV hire platform significantly as the business offers plenty of financial returns to offset that, it means there will be an extra step in reimbursing the EV tax to participants in its hire platform.

“From our perspective, we will most likely will reimburse owners for when the car is rented out,” he says.

“But personally I think the new EV tax seems so ridiculous – in Tasmania there are incentives, and the ACT has two years free registration but in Victoria they are imposing a tax,” he says. “What’s going on?”

Extracted in full from: Electric cars needed to fuel Tasmania hire and drive program (thedriven.io)

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