Plugged in: Summit to explore ways to make electric vehicles cheaper

Australians will have more choice of electric vehicles as part of the federal government’s push to encourage more people to take up the low emissions cars.

Aug 19, 2022, updated Aug 19, 2022
Electric vehicles could save families $1700 per year if charged correctly. (File image).

Electric vehicles could save families $1700 per year if charged correctly. (File image).

High prices, limited stock and long waitlists had excluded most from the market but a new national plan would help change that, Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said.

Growing Australia’s electric vehicle market and improving fuel efficiency standards will be the focus of the strategy to be developed with state and territory leaders.

Bowen announced the plan at the inaugural national electric vehicle summit in Canberra on Friday, attended by politicians, industry representatives and community leaders.

Australia is significantly behind when it comes to the low emissions cars, with just eight options on the market under $60,000, Bowen said.

Uptake of new low-emissions vehicles sits at just two per cent in Australia, nearly five times lower than the global average.

“There are many consumers who would be interested in buying an EV but even if they could access the limited stock available, price sends them to petrol or diesel models,” he said.

“Policy settings are denying Australians real choice of good, affordable, no emissions cars.”

The strategy will also include steps to improve national fuel efficiency standards which Bowen said would help drive down the costs of electric vehicles.

“Apart from Russia, Australia is the only OECD country to not have, or be in the process of developing, fuel efficiency standards,” he said.

“As the world moves towards more efficient and cleaner vehicles (Australia) risks becoming even more of a dumping ground for old technology which can’t be sold in other markets.”

The government is being urged to accelerate Australia’s take up of the environmentally friendly cars.

Independent MP Kylea Tink plans to bring a proposal to the next parliamentary sitting week in September which would legislate binding fuel efficiency standards for Australia.

Meanwhile, a change to the definition of fuel efficient vehicles in luxury car tax laws would make electric cars more competitive and increase revenue by more than $410 million in the next three years, independent MP Monique Ryan said.

European Union ambassador to Australia Michael Pulch is going one step further, calling for the abolition of the tax altogether.

“The luxury car tax … isn’t necessary anymore because there is no automotive industry to be protected by it,” he told AAP.

“But it makes it much more difficult and expensive for Australian consumers to buy the latest energy efficient and safe automobiles from Europe.”

Greens deputy leader Senator Mehreen Faruqi will call on the government to urgently invest in charging infrastructure and discounts on electric vehicles.

“We need policies to push out old, dirty and obsolete vehicles and policies to bring in clean, better, more efficient electric vehicles,” Faruqi will say in a speech.

“We need the infrastructure to power up Australia’s new electric vehicles and our vehicle manufacturing industry.”

The government last month introduced a proposal to parliament to change fringe benefits tax laws and remove the import tariff on electric vehicles to make the cars cheaper for more people.


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