If you want a good example of how government incentives for electric vehicles (EVs) can encourage consumer uptake, then we must turn our attention to the land of Vikings, fjords and men named Bjørn: Norway.

Fuel-reliant internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are more expensive in Norway, and are subject to a carbon tax, weight tax, and 25 per cent sales tax – approximately 50 per cent tax in total – all charges that EVs are completely exempt from.

That’s not all: there are also reduced parking fees and tolls and access to public-transport lanes for those who choose to drive EVs.

The result? A huge 54.3 per cent of new cars sold in Norway in 2020 were pure electric, the highest rate in all the world (Norway also has the largest fleet of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or PHEVs, per capita, in the world).

If you want a good example of poor EV uptake thanks to a near total lack of electric-vehicle incentives, then Australia, sadly, is a country at the other end of the spectrum, and the Earth, from Norway.

Due to a dearth of electric vehicle incentives, which includes no government rebates for hybrid cars or fuel rebates, Australia saw EV sales make up a mere 0.7 per cent of the new car market in 2020, meaning that, for now at least, the Vikings have won.

A lack of government subsidies for electric cars and a lack of government incentives for hybrid cars may drive sales down, but it also sadly drives prices up, with the higher cost of EVs in this country another deterrent for potential customers.

Below you’ll find what the federal and state governments are doing – or, more pertinently, not doing – in regards to offering electric car incentives in Australia.

Federal Government

This is the part where you get embarrassed about being Australian: the federal government has set no meaningful goals in terms of phasing out ICE vehicles (most other major countries have, including the UK, which is banning ICE vehicles from sale from 2030, and banning hybrids from 2035), and there are no incentives in place to encourage EV uptake.

The only tax break on electric cars that EV drivers will see – and it’s a benefit that’s not even EV-specific – is a slight decrease in luxury car tax (LCT).

Fuel-efficient cars – defined as vehicles whose fuel consumption doesn’t exceed seven litres per 100km as a combined rating – that are under $79,659 (don’t ask us why they didn’t just round it up to a clean $80k) won’t be taxed the LCT rate of 33c on every dollar, which gives them about $10k of leeway in comparison to ICE cars (only ICE cars under $69,152 dodge the LCT).

Just another international comparison to put things in perspective: in the US, those who purchase an EV are eligible for a tax credit. How do electric car tax credits work, you may ask? Well, the Internal Revenue Service calculates how much EV owners get back, with $2500 the minimum. The government adds money to the credit for each additional kWh worth of energy above 5kWh, up to a maximum of $7500 (although there’s been talk of the amount rising to $12,500).

hybrid cars tax credit doesn’t exist, but PHEVs are eligible for the same tax credit that EVs are.

New South Wales

Planning on buying an EV post-September 1 for not one cent over $68,750 (including GST)?

If so, you’re in luck: the NSW government is offering a $3000 rebate for the first 25,000 EVs sold after that date (the deal includes hydrogen fuel cell cars, but since there aren’t any on the Australian market as of yet, that detail is a little less exciting).

EVs and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – both new and used – bought for under $78,000 (including GST) will also have their stamp duty waived.

It’s not all stellar news, however: as of 2027 – or once electric vehicles make up 30 per cent of new car sales, whichever comes first – the NSW state government will impose a tax of 2.5c per kilometre for EVs, and 2c per kilometre for hybrids.

This special road tax aimed at stinging EV owners, or discouraging people from becoming EV buyers, is something of a world first. The rest of the planet is largely encouraging people to buy them, we’ve decided to go our own, unique way.

Victoria

Bad news for Victorian EV drivers: their state government has already imposed a 2.5c per kilometre road tax for EVs, a move that has been widely criticised.

Having said that, the Victorian state government has also implemented a few benefits for EV drivers, starting with a tidy $100 off their registration.

For those purchasing an EV on the higher end of the price spectrum, there’s also no luxury car tax for EVs over the $68,740 threshold.

There’s also something called the ZEV subsidy, which offers a $3000 rebate on EVs priced under $68,740 (currently limited to 4000 registrations, with 16,000 further offerings coming in the future).

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT government is far and away Australia’s most EV-friendly, jurisdiction, offering zero per cent interest loans of up to $15,000 for upfront costs when buying an EV – a truly generous offer – and zero to pay in regards to stamp duty for new EVs (new and used EVs also receive a sweet two years of free car rego, too).

South Australia

The South Australian government has offered no electric car incentives to speak of, but it has decided to implement the good ol’ 2.5c per km road tax on EVs, starting from July 2022.

Tasmania

A two-year waiver on stamp duty has been introduced for new and second-hand EVs, which is expected to save EV drivers around $2000 in costs.

Queensland

Like a lot of other states, Queensland offers some benefits in terms of reduced stamp duty and registration, saving you about $347.25 over a five-year period.

Mercifully, the EV road tax has been ruled out by the Queensland government. So far.

Northern Territory

From July 2022, EV drivers in the NT can enjoy free rego and a $1500 reduction in stamp duty for EVs costing up to $50,000.

The NT government will also purchase 200 EVs by 2030, which will count for 20 per cent of its government car fleet.

Western Australia

There are no incentives or subsidies to speak of when purchasing an EV in WA, however you if you are a customer of energy supplier Synergy, you can charge your EV at reduced off-peak rates as part of its Electric Vehicle Home Plan trial, which also offers up a $200 EV Home Plan Incentive payment for the first year, and 60 free kilometres worth of charging per month.

Extracted in full from: Electric Vehicle Incentives Australia: Government & Tax Incentives for Electric and Hybrid Cars | CarsGuide

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