The nation’s most radical push to accelerate the adoption of electric cars – led by the Australian Capital Territory – is determined to consign petrol and diesel cars to history. But not everyone is buying the “green-washing” plan.

The Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, Andrew Barr, has taken a swipe at petrol and diesel vehicles – which today account for 98 per cent of new cars sold – while announcing the most radical Zero Emissions Vehicles Strategy in Australia to date.

The target: the eventual eradication of petrol and diesel vehicles from the national capital.

Key points include a stamp duty exemption for used electric vehicles from August 1 2022 – and a switch to emissions-based registration fees.

“Younger people will look at (petrol and diesel) vehicles in 2035 when buying their first car and laugh,” Mr Barr told ABC Radio Canberra.

“We are heading down a path that (petrol and diesel) vehicles will be as much of a novelty as a cassette tape or a black and white television in the context of technological change.”

Two days after the ACT Government forecast its intention to ban the sale of non-electric vehicles by 2035, Mr Barr provided the full detail of the territory’s 2022-2030 Zero Emissions Vehicles Strategy.

Headline items include a plan to scrap the ACT’s current weight-based registration system in favour of vehicle emissions-based fees.

The removal of stamp duty on used electric vehicles is expected to save car buyers about $1600 in government fees at the time of purchase.

Also included in the strategy is a commitment to roll-out $2000 grants for electric vehicle chargers in apartments, as well as the expansion of the ACT’s public charger network to 180 units by 2025.

By 2030, all new taxis and ride-share vehicles in the ACT will be zero emissions vehicles only.

However, the car industry has cautioned against the radical proposal – and the speed at which the technology is being mandated in the ACT – and some insiders have slammed the plan as “green-washing”.

A number of senior car industry executives have told Drive government policy should focus on reducing emissions across all engine types, rather than “rail-roading car buyers” into electric vehicles.

“Consumers should have a choice and there is more than one way to reduce vehicle emissions,” said Tony Weber, the chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

“Government-mandated emissions targets would go a long way towards helping drive down vehicle emissions among the motoring masses, and encourage the introduction and adoption of more fuel-efficient petrol and diesel vehicles,” said Mr Weber. “Australia is a vast country with unique motoring needs; consumers need choice.”

The ACT Government’s announcement has made it the first Australian state or territory to outline a specific plan to ditch petrol and diesel cars, with its first-stage plan of 80 to 90 per cent of new vehicle sales by 2030 to come from zero emissions vehicles set to precede an outright ban of fossil-fuelled cars by 2035.

“With technology rapidly evolving, now is the time for the ACT to join other jurisdictions around the world in supporting a transition to (zero emissions vehicles). The transition is happening rapidly, manufacturers have made that clear,” said Mr Barr.

“It’s important now for Australian jurisdictions to start preparing for a future private vehicle market that is predominantly (zero emissions).

“(Zero emissions cars) are cheaper to run, more sustainable, and easier to service. They are the vehicle of the future and we want to make sure that more Canberrans can access the benefits of (zero emission vehicle) ownership.”

“As more people transition to (zero emissions vehicles), a number of jurisdictions in Australia have announced a road user charge policy, including New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania,” Mr Barr said.

“The ACT is also aware that its current fixed registration system is weight based, and penalises heavier (electric) models despite their lower emissions.

“Any registration reform in the ACT would necessarily consider both emissions and distance-based charging and ensure zero emissions vehicles were incentivised over high emitting vehicles.

“The ACT is actively monitoring developments around Australia and internationally, with the goal of incentivising lower emissions and will investigate the potential for future reforms.

“The principle the ACT Government wants to achieve is that Canberrans will pay less if their transport emissions are lower.”

Extracted in full form: Petrol and diesel cars like ‘cassette tapes and black-and-white TV’, but industry warns consumers need choice – Drive