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Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council and Environment Victoria are calling for a sales target for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, following the release of a report on future mobility from Infrastructure Victoria yesterday.

The modest 5 per cent sales target would help encourage the uptake of EVs and PHEVs, and is part of a range of measures being called for by the EVC and Environment Victoria.

EV drivers should also be allowed to use high occupancy lanes, have a reduction on stamp duty be given “a five-year registration holiday”, argues the council.

Other measures suggested include setting “ambitious” emissions targets for the state of Victoria, and offering rebates at public EV charging stations in low EV penetration areas, to avoid ‘clusters’ of EV owners in suburbs with higher average incomes.

Australia lags behind the world on the uptake of electric vehicles, due largely to a distinct lack of policy and incentives to shift to EVs, as The Driven has reported previously.

Beyhad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicles Council, says the Victorian report is yet another example of how Australians can benefit from EVs, and that appropriate policies and regulations must be put in place if this is to happen.

“What we need now is clear leadership from our governments to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles and charging stations,” he says.

“Demonstrating that we support the global transition to electric will mean Australians have access to the latest technology that reduces emissions and the high cost households pay for transport.

“Today Australia lags the world in supporting the change to electric vehicles, but with the right policies and regulations that can change fast.

“We need to see leadership from all parties who intend to run the state, by getting behind zero emissions transport and the clean electricity we need to run it.”

The comments come as Peter Colacino, executive director of policy and research at Infrastructure Australia has warned the federal government it risks pushing electricity prices up if it does not move quickly on supporting the shift to electric vehicles.

“As major car manufacturers and countries transition to electric vehicles and hybrids, Australia will have little choice but to follow suit,” Mr Colacino said in a statement.

“It is critical that governments and industry are not caught flat-footed.”

Comments from public policy and advocacy manager at Environment Victoria Dean Rizzetti echo the sentiment.

“We know the uptake of electric vehicles will increase the amount of energy we draw from the grid, so it is vital that we continue to invest in large-scale renewable energy to keep costs down and ensure that electric cars help reduce carbon pollution,” he said.

“To secure the benefits of electric vehicles, we need the next state government to have a clear long-term plan to make way for this new technology and making sure it is as climate-friendly as possible.”

The shift towards electric and autonomous vehicles has been likened to the change from horse and carts to cars—with the potential benefits to the Victorian economy numbered in the billions, according to Infrastructure Victoria’s report.

“We also have a once in a generation opportunity to reinvigorate our automotive industry, by tapping into the global trend towards electric vehicles,” Jafari said.

“A range of businesses are being created to provide new technologies and services in the EV future – no one stands to gain more from that than Australia.”

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