Policy Road Map Needed For Electric Cars: Inquiry

Electric  car buyers will get a break in the upfront cost of new cars but face ongoing road-user charges in lieu of fuel tax if new measures arising from a Senate inquiry into electric vehicle (EV) uptake are adopted.

A lack of charging stations coupled with poor policy direction from the Federal Government were cited as significant contributors to Australia’s lukewarm enthusiasm for the vehicles to date.

‘The recommendations will provide a much-needed boost to ensure our country keeps up with the rest of the world in terms of environmentally innovative mobility.’

Chair of the Senate Select Inquiry into Electric Vehicles, Independent Senator Tim Storer, says EVs accounted for less than 0.2 per cent of new car sales in Australia at last count, an uptake five times lower than that in New Zealand, with Northern European and Scandinavian countries streets ahead of that again. Key measures in the report call for the development of a national strategy on EVs as well as an inter-government task force to give it life.

These were among 17 recommendations from the inquiry following almost six months of submissions designed to accelerate the take up of EVs in Australia. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body representing the Australian automotive industry, applauded the recommendations, saying they would help promote EV technology in Australia.

Several innovative, low-emission vehicles are already available in Australia but low awareness of EV technology has proven that, without clear government policy or support, their sales will remain slow, says CEO of the FCAI Tony Webber. “The recommendations made by the Senate Select Committee will provide a much-needed boost to ensure EVs increase on Australian roads, and our country keeps up with the rest of the world in terms of environmentally innovative mobility,” Webber says. The report also recommended the Government set strong targets for EV growth in Australia, mitigate tax and duty costs on low-emission vehicles, and implement a comprehensive plan for a public-charging infrastructure.

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