The South Australian government needs to come clean on how it plans to “tax” electric vehicles (EV), the opposition says, after it announced a $13.4 million investment to install 530 fast-charging stations. 

The government aims to build a network of fast-charging stations across regional and remote SA, including in the Adelaide Hills, the mid and far north, and on the Eyre Peninsula and the Limestone Coast.

Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said fast-charging stations in regional areas would remove a “big barrier” for would-be EV buyers who might fear running out of power on long journeys.

“We want people to be able to pull into a service station — maybe with say, a quarter of the battery capacity left — and within 10 minutes or so be able to get it up to a state where they can drive on for a big chunk of their drive,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

Key points:

  • The SA government will spend $13.4 million to install 530 fast-charging stations across the state
  • A planned user charge for electric vehicles has been delayed but is expected within 12 months
  • SA’s Energy Minister says all motorists must pay to use roads so they can be maintained 

What about that user charge?

But opposition infrastructure and transport spokesman Tom Koutsantonis said that before people could “accurately invest” in an EV they needed to know what the user charge would be.

“I’m very concerned about the minister talking about electric vehicles when they have a plan to tax everyone who buys an electric vehicle,” he said.

In its 2020-2021 budget, the state government announced plans to make SA the first state to introduce a road user charge for EVs.

Raising about $1 million a year, the charge would have included a fixed component and a variable charge based on distance travelled, and was to be in place by July 2021.

In March this year, however, the government said the tax would be delayed by 12 months as it monitored the outcome of similar measures being put in place interstate.

“If there’s going to be a new hidden tax, people need to know what it is,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“How much will it cost per owner, how often will it be indexed, how will it be paid, will it be part of registration fees or will it be a brand new stand alone tax, and what is the rate?”

Meanwhile, the ACT government today announced that Canberrans who buy a new or second-hand EV will get two years’ free registration, in addition to being exempt from motor vehicle stamp duty. 

All motorists must pay

Motorists pay a national fuel excise — indexed twice a year — every time they fill up with a combustible fuel from a petrol station, with the money directed towards road construction and maintenance.

Unleaded and diesel customers pay 42.7 cents per litre, while LPG customers pay 13.9 cents per litre.

Paying for recharging electric car

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said EV users would have to contribute as well and pointed out that other states, with both Liberal and Labor governments, were working towards the “best and fairest way to do this”.

“There is nothing secret about this,” he said.

“Road users, whether they be petrol/diesel users or EV users, will always need to pay a fair contribution towards road maintenance.

“We won’t have a situation where, as we have more and more EVs on the road, the fewer and fewer petrol and diesel vehicles are the only ones contributing.”

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said more than 600 sites had registered to host the new charging stations, including supermarkets, motels, holiday parks and petrol stations.

He said there would be 120 fast chargers installed in Adelaide’s CBD and “many more” throughout the suburbs.

Property owners and businesses are still able to register their interest with the government to become a site host.

Extracted in full from: SA recharges electric car market with more stations — but what’s the ‘tax’? – ABC News