Victoria has experienced strong interest in its newly announced electric vehicle subsidy, the first of its type in Australia, with more than 400 registrations in the first week since the incentive was open for business on May 2.
The scheme, which was introduced following widespread criticism of its proposed road tax for EVs that comes into effect from July, will offer a $3,000 rebate for cars priced under $68,700. It will be open for up to 20,000 purchases, although the scope of the rebate may be altered after the initial offering of 4,000 customers is complete.
“It’s been huge,” Stan Krpan, the head of Solar Victoria, a government body which is managing the program, said a strong response was expected given a recent survey from Infrastructure Victoria that found 70 per cent of a 200-strong “citizen’s jury” declared they wanted to see a ban on new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030.
“It’s been huge,” Krpan said of the response in an interview with RenewEconomy’s Energy Insiders podcast.
“We’ve had about 400 customers already register, and I’m hearing great things from the manfacturers and the dealers.”
To put those numbers in context, total sales of electric vehicles in Victoria in 2019 were just over 800, not including Tesla cars.
The $3,000 rebate is the first program of its type in Australia, although the ACT goverment has also removed stamp duty for EVs and also offered interest-free loans. NSW is also flagging possible incentives such as stamp duty exemptions.
Krpan says the details of how the rebates will be delivered are being worked out with manufacturers and dealers, although companies such as Tesla had already taken $3,000 off the price of the Model 3 SR+ in that state.
“The goverment has been open that it will revisit the program. whether the value changes or the rebate changes is something that will be looked at for the next tranche.”
The Victoria government is also committed to buying 400 new EVs to add to its fleet, and Krpan says Solar Victoria has had charging stations installed at its Morwell offices in anticipation of the new arrivals.
Speaking at the Smart Energy Conference on Thrusday, Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio defended the road user charge, claiming that even with the charge motorists would save $1600 a year.
“I think when people do the math on this for themselves, they will realize that the road user charge is a small contribution to our road system, and overwhelmingly the savings from getting ZEV [zero emissions vehicle] on a road in Victoria will dwarf the small contribution to a reducer charge.”
She said her government was committed to decarbonisation of transport, and was prepared to fill the the policy vacuum at the federal level by working directly with other states on things like emissions standards.
“We’ve also sent a really strong message to the Commonwealth Government, that if you’re not going to move on emissions standards for new vehicles then Victoria is prepared to get the ball rolling with other jurisdictions.”
Additional reporting by James Fernyhough.