Petrol and diesel vehicles still make up most of the cars being registered in the ACT, but the ACT government is confident a range of incentives for zero-emissions vehicles, including free registration for two years, will boost the sector.

There were 1304 zero-emissions vehicles in total registered in the ACT in October, up from 734 at the same point in 2020. Five years ago, there were 190 registered in the ACT.

Applications for zero-interest loans in the ACT government’s sustainable household scheme will open to people seeking to buy zero-emission vehicles from Monday.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the goal of the scheme was to help more Canberrans share in the benefits of a net zero-emissions future.

“So far, the scheme has been a great success and we look forward to seeing more Canberrans support the government’s efforts to reduce emissions without leaving people behind,” Mr Barr, who is also the climate action minister, said.

Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury said the expansion of the sustainable household scheme to cover was another great incentive to support people switching their cars.

“I look forward to seeing more zero emissions vehicles on the roads as we work towards net zero by 2045,” Mr Rattenbury said.

The sustainable household scheme will begin with a small number of electric vehicle suppliers, with more to join the scheme over time, the government said in a statement.

New and used electric vehicles will be available under the scheme, which will be open to ACT driver’s licence holders who ordinarily live in the ACT.

Applicants will be able to apply for loans between $2000 and $15,000 to meet the cost of an electric vehicle, which must have a total cost below the luxury car tax threshold. The threshold in 2021-22 is $79,659.

The government said 2000 households had already made about $20 million in loan applications for sustainable upgrades to their homes, including solar panels and electric heating.

Katherine McConnell, the chief executive of Brighte, the scheme’s finance provider, said electric vehicles were at a tipping point of affordability.

“I have no doubt the ACT will become a territory of zero-emission vehicles and lead the way for other states to follow suit,” Ms McConnell said.

There are currently 13 fully publicly accessible vehicle chargers in the ACT, with 37 operational chargers across the territory.

However, the typical electric vehicle could travel north to south in the ACT three times on a typical charge, and the average Canberra driver only travels 30 kilometres a day.

Most electric vehicles can travel more than 250 kilometres on a single charge, with high-end models able to cover more than 400 kilometres.

The ACT government committed $1.9 million in 2021-22 to support the installation of 50 publicly accessible charging stations for electric cars.

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