The Victorian Greens have unveiled an electric vehicle policy that would give the state’s electric vehicle owners a $10,000 dollar “eco-bonus” for ditching their ICE cars in favour of an electric vehicle.
The proposed electric vehicle incentive was announced this week by the party, in part as a response to the Andrews Labor government’s proposed tax electric vehicle drivers.
The Victorian Greens proposal would provide a $10,000 rebate for the purchase of an electric vehicle with a price under $77,565, the threshold for the federal luxury car tax, ensuring the bonus applies to more affordable electric vehicles, rather than subsidising more expensive vehicles.
The party, which holds three seats on the Victorian Greens lower house crossbench, has proposed that the Victorian government purchase 3,000 locally manufacturered electric buses, and at least 5,000 electric vehicles, as part of a ‘Five-Year Electric Vehicle Rapid Uptake Plan’.
The Greens pointed to the fact that just one of Melbourne’s 2,000 strong bus fleet an electric model, and that the government’s vehicle fleet of 10,000 vehicles includes just 29 plug-in hybrids.
As part of the EV plan, the Greens have also proposed the introduction of new ‘right to charge’ laws, that would provider renters with the right to install a charging station within a residential carpark.
The Victorian Greens described the electric vehicle tax, that would charge EV drivers based in the distance travelled on Victorian roads to make up for cost fuel excises, as “retrograde”, saying it could prevent people from swtiching to electric transport.
“At a time when governments around the world are making EVs cheaper to encourage uptake, ours wants to slap a tax on people who drive the,” Victorian Greens spokesperson Sam Hibbins said.
“For a government that claims to take climate change seriously, this tax is a massively retrograde step, as it will discourage people from getting an EV. Transport is already the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria, and unless we encourage a switch to cleaner cars, this will only get worse.”
“Our five-year rapid uptake plan would see the government’s proposed tax scrapped, in favour of a $10,000 eco-bonus for people to ditch their fossil fuel-powered cars in favour of electric ones,” Hibbins added.
A number of state governments shocked the fledgling electric vehicle industry with proposals to introduce ‘road use tariffs’, that will be charged to electric vehicle owners in an effort to boost government revenues.
The tariffs, which have been floated by the Victorian, South Australian and New South Wales governments have been justifed on the basis that electric vehicles avoid the payment of fuel tariffs and the revenues are necessary to pay for the maintenance of roads and other transport infrastructure.
The Victorian proposal would see a tax of 2.5 cents per kilometre levied on fully electric vehicles, and 2 cents a kilometre charged to plug in hybrid vehicles. In some circumstances could amount to more than would be paid by an petrol vehicle equvialent in fuel exicses.
However, electric vehicle advocates have criticised the move, saying that would work to slow the adoption of electric vehicles at a critical period, and fails to recognise the overall benefits of electric vehicles, including reduced noise and air pollution.
In November, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council, Behyad Jafari, described the plan as “shameful”.
It’s worth noting that not all governments are proposing to slug EV drivers with a new tax. The ACT government, which is formed through a Lab0r-Greens alliance and includes three Greens ministers within its cabinet, wavies government registration fees on electric vehicles and is providing interest free loans of up to $15,000 that can be used towards the purchase of an electric vehicle.
ACT energy and emissions reduction minister Shane Rattenbury recently confirmed that the zero interest loans can be used towards the purchase of a second hand electric vehicle, following the announcement of a community bulk buy purchase round for second hand Nissan EVs on Thursday.