The Australian Greens have put forward a plan to incentivise the adoption if electric vehicles and phase-out petrol & diesel cars by the end of 2030.

The proposal would put an end to the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by the end of 2030, while imposing a four-year 17% tax on luxury petrol and diesel cars. It would also cut tariffs and charges on new electric or zero-emissions vehicles, helping electric cars to match the price of conventional motors. The Greens also wish to adopt a mandatory fuel efficiency standard of 105g of CO2 a kilometre by 2022 – three years earlier than the Australian government is currently considering.

The ‘luxury’ tax would apply to petrol & diesel cars with a purchase price exceeding $65,000. This would be in addition to the 33% luxury vehicle tax that is already in place, and it’s hoped that the extra taxes would generate $500m a year over a limited four-year run – enough to build 3,000 electric car charging stations.

Gail Broadbent, a University of New South Wales (UNSW) researcher who specialises in electric vehicles, says that the plan is workable and would increase Australia’s sluggish adoption of electric vehicles – noting that there should be exceptions for remote communities who are unlikely to have access to charging stations.

“There is no incentive for vehicle manufacturers to bring them into the country so we just get fobbed off the old vehicles… Electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain so there’s no incentive for manufacturers to bring them here if the policy settings do not shift.”

There is no incentive for vehicle manufacturers to bring [electric vehicles] into the country so we just get fobbed off the old vehicles.

At present, electric cars make up just 0.1% of new car sales in Australia, compared with a whopping 20% in Norway and the Netherlands – both of those countries have introduced targets to phase out fossil fuel cars by 2025 and 2030 respectively. For one the world’s largest countries (by land area), Australia also has a tiny number of public charging stations – just 476. Research from UNSW points this out as one of the biggest hurdles to the public fully embracing electric cars.

Categories: Motoring