The majority of adult Canberrans are interested in buying an electric vehicle when they next replace their car, and 68 per cent said they would pick the electric model over the equivalent petrol-powered version if the price was the same.

Cost remains the most frequently cited barrier to buying an electric car, followed by range anxiety and concern over the number of available public chargers.

The ACT also has a window of five years to ensure a rapid take-up of electric vehicle technology, which would have a major impact on reducing emissions in the capital where private passenger vehicle are highly relied on.

The findings are contained in a report prepared by University of Canberra experts commissioned by the ACT government in 2020, which made 13 key findings about what kind of incentives the government should offer.

The ACT became the first Australian jurisdiction to set a date for phasing out fossil-fuel powered light vehicles this week, with no new internal combustion engine cars to be allowed on territory roads after 2035.

The ban forms part of an extensive zero-emission vehicle strategy, which includes tax incentives and infrastructure investments to shift the ACT vehicle fleet to zero-emissions technology.

The transport sector is the biggest source of emissions in the ACT, and without further action to reduce fuel-powered cars the capital risks going backwards on its emission-reduction efforts.

The University of Canberra report, which was handed to government at the end of 2020 but has only been publicly released now, said support to boost the take-up of home charging infrastructure would have a strong impact on electrifying the ACT’s car fleet.

The report also recommended incentives targeted at vehicles worth between $30,000 and $60,000 would be effective for helping take up and said it would be beneficial to target incentives to low-income earners.

The report’s survey found 46 per cent of Canberrans intend to spend between $20,000 and $50,000 on their next vehicle, while 77 per cent of respondents supported more electric vehicles in Canberra.

While a vast majority of Canberrans have no direct experience of electric vehicles, 68 per cent said they were interested in buying one and 39 per cent had actively explored whether an electric car could be an option for their household.

The report stressed the government had a five-year window to accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles, given an expected high turnover of private vehicles in the next half a decade.

Almost half of the respondents said they planned to replace their car within five years.

“While it may be argued that governments could simply wait for [electric vehicles] to achieve price parity, this ignores the legacy of vehicle purchases in the next five years (with many people holding on to their cars for many years), and the momentum benefits on the whole private vehicle market of a greater uptake of [electric vehicles] sooner rather than later,” the report said.

Extracted in full from: Most Canberrans would swap petrol car for electric vehicle if price was equal with government told to act in next five years to drive take up | The Canberra Times | Canberra, ACT