Government pledges to expand electric vehicle charging stations, but no subsidy to increase use

The federal government will partner with the private sector to fund 50,000 charging stations in Australian homes, with the aim of encouraging more people to buy electric vehicles.

The long-awaited Future Fuels strategy does not include subsidies, tax incentives, sales targets or minimum fuel emission standards that would make electric vehicles more affordable, according to industry groups.

“Reducing the total cost of ownership through subsidies would not represent value for the taxpayer, especially as the industry is working rapidly through technological developments to make battery-electric vehicles less expensive,” the report said. strategy.

Rather, it aligns with the “technology, not taxes” mantra that underpins the government’s broader approach to reducing emissions.

The strategy includes expanding the Future Fuels Fund to a total of $ 250 million in public funds, which the government says will create 2,600 jobs over three years.

It doesn’t say exactly how or where these jobs will be created, but does point to job opportunities across the supply chains and manufacturing needed to support an electric vehicle market.

The government says its investment will help ensure that companies do not concentrate charging stations in city centers, which could deter residents of outer suburbs or rural areas from purchasing an electric vehicle.

The strategy does not set an electric vehicle sales target such as the 50% by 2030 figure presented before the last election by Labor, which has been criticized by several coalition ministers for “a weekend war “.

“We will not force Australians out of the car they want to drive or penalize those who can least afford it with bans or taxes,” Mr Morrison said.

“Instead, the strategy will work to reduce the cost of low-emission, zero-emission vehicles and improve consumer choice.”

The federal government will ask state and territory energy ministers to encourage the use of smart chargers in homes and to work with energy regulators to ensure the power grid can handle more batteries.

How does the strategy compare?

The government’s strategy is significantly different compared to other nations.

More than 80% of the global auto market – including Europe and the United States – now requires new cars to meet minimum emission standards before they can be sold.

Strategy released today confirms Australia has no intention of adopting these standards, which would require tighter restrictions on pollutants in gasoline, and force new cars to emit significantly less particulate matter than what is currently allowed.

In August, US President Joe Biden set a target of 50% sales by 2030. Several other countries, including Austria, China, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal, Korea and the Spain have also announced goals.

Many countries have also announced tax breaks or subsidies to lower the price of electric vehicles, which are currently too expensive for many people.

France has one of the most generous programs, which recently offered a rebate of around $ 18,000 on a new electric vehicle if you trade in a gasoline or diesel car.

The Federal Labor Party has pledged to reduce government taxes on non-luxury electric vehicles, which is estimated to be about $ 2,000 cheaper for a $ 50,000 car. The policy would cost $ 200 million over three years.

Industry calls for more regulation

In addition to offering incentives to encourage people to buy electric vehicles, automakers also hoped the government would step in and put in place stricter emissions regulations for gasoline-powered cars.

According to the industry, this would also help make EVs more competitive with their gasoline or diesel counterparts and in doing so make Australia a more attractive market.

An electric car being charged
One of the pillars of the government’s strategy is to expand charging stations nationwide.( Provided: Australian Electric Vehicle Association)

Earlier this year, Michael Bartsch, managing director of Volkswagen Group Australia, said the company’s head office refused to supply electric cars to the Australian market.

“Australia has some of the most lax environmental standards in the world,” he said.

“We will put these cars where we have the greatest business advantage and the greatest business advantage at the moment, when you stack the fines for not meeting the CO2 targets, is Europe.”

The electric vehicle industry had also previously called on the government to exempt electric cars from the luxury vehicle tax, in another attempt to encourage manufacturers to import a wider range of electric cars.

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