One of Australia’s Big Four banks, Westpac, has launched an offer of lower interest rate loans for customers buying a new or used hybrid or electric vehicle.

The banking giant says it did its own research and found that more than two thirds (67%) of Australians were citing cost as the biggest barrier to buying a hybrid or electric vehicle.

To help overcome that barrier, Westpac is offering a new loan product targeting new or used (up to seven years’ old) hybrid or fully electric cars of anywhere between $10,000 – $100,000 at a fixed interest rate of 4.99% p.a. (compared to 6.21% p.a.) over 1-7 years.

There are some basic requirements for eligibility and a list of eligible cars – it’s 93 pages long and covers a LOT of non-plug-in hybrids) – and the bank also offers loans at 10% greater than the amount of the chosen car, to cover on-road costs.

Westpac says the survey of its customers also found that 70% of Australians plan to own a hybrid or electric vehicle in “the future,” with 34% of current petrol and diesel car drivers looking to make the switch for their next auto purchase.

“We know that cost is one of the biggest barriers to hybrid and electric vehicle uptake, so this offer can help more customers transition to a greener vehicle,” said Chris de Bruin, Westpac chief of consumer and business banking.

“Given the recent increase in petrol prices, electric and hybrid vehicles appeal to the environmentally conscious, and the financially conscious too.

“We expect demand for these vehicles will continue to rise, with many Australians already planning to make the change,” de Bruin added.

“We’re also seeing new government incentives, improved access to charging stations, and more manufacturers offering hybrid and electric vehicles, which will help accelerate the transition.”

Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council said the new offer from Westpac represented another opportunity for Australians to save by going electric.

“We know the majority of Australians are now actively considering an electric vehicle as their next car and this initiative will help them make the shift.

“Given the average Australian household currently spends $3,700 a year on petrol and diesel, the purchase of an electric vehicle would ease real pressure on the monthly budget.”

Westpac is not the only Australian bank offering EV-friendly loans. Macqurie Bank offers rates starting from 3.99% per annum as part of a specialised electric vehicle buying service that it has set up “to make the transition easier.”

Bendigo Bank, which has offered a “green loan” product for 20 years, earlier this year announced that the interest rate for a secured Green Loan to buy a second-hand EV would be reduced by 180 basis points to 4.99%.

Pepper Money – which is the company through which Tesla does its EV financing in Australia – also offers a fixed 3.99% p.a. with no ongoing monthly fees and “a host of soon-to-be-announced benefits” for the purchase of an EV.

Pepper’s electric car loan calculator offers an estimate on repayments for a new or used EV and claims to have financed one in nine electric vehicles sold in Australia, thus far.

Plenti, meanwhile, offers a slightly higher interest rate – from 5.49% p.a. – but perhaps offsets that with no monthly fees, no early repayment fees and the ability to be able to “bundle” the costs of buying an EV, including home charging and a promise of future access to discounted comprehensive insurance.

Extracted in full from: Westpac joins banks offering cheaper loans for electric and hybrid vehicles (