A tale of two reports: ACT ranks highly for EV adoption while Feds plan a new road tax

James Coleman 10 September 2021 14

A different kind of filling up. Photo: James Coleman.

The ACT Government continues to rate highly for EV-friendly policies according to a report from the Electric Vehicle Council, while another report outlines options for governments to source revenue from road-user taxes instead of fuel levies.

Each year, the Electric Vehicle Council’s State of EVs report provides a snapshot into the electric vehicle industry in Australia while also ranking and scoring each state and territory on how they are encouraging the uptake of EVs.

According to the latest edition, the ACT scored eight out of 10, only bested by NSW at nine. The Federal Government received the lowest score of three.

The report states that the ACT has traditionally been a national leader in progressive EV policy and has continued to complement these efforts over the past 12 months. The main reason NSW pulled ahead was the launch of a new strategy to massively boost EV sales by 2030-31.

ACT Minister for Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said that the current incentives available to EV buyers in the ACT has helped pave the road to an ‘EV revolution’ in Australia.

No stamp duty on EVs is complemented by two years’ free registration and a $15,000 interest-free loan. The ACT also continues to work towards a zero-emission bus fleet.

The ACT is home to 48 public charging stations and 10 fast-charging stations, with another 50 on the way.

Shane Rattenbury

Shane Rattenbury charging a Nissan Leaf at a public station in Civic. Photo: Supplied.

“We’ll also require EV charging in new multiunit and commercial buildings, and we’re investigating further incentives to support uptake by businesses and the community sector,” Mr Rattenbury said.

While proud of the work done so far, Mr Rattenbury added that there is much more to do before the ACT reaches the ambitious target of all new vehicle sales being zero-emission by 2030.

More broadly, the report reveals that so far in 2021, 8,688 EVs have been sold in Australia, making up 1.57 per cent of the light-vehicle fleet. This is already 2,000 more than were sold over the entirety of 2020.

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However, this figure still leaves us well behind on the world stage. In Norway, the world’s leading EV adopter, 74 per cent of new light vehicles sold each year are EVs; in the UK, 10 per cent are EVs; in the US, 2.3 per cent are EVs.

The commitments to EVs keep coming from the car manufacturers themselves, with more and more setting dates for the demise of their fossil-fuel-powered range.

Australians now have access to 31 different EV models, with that number expected to rise to 58 by the end of 2022. Currently, 14 EV models are priced under $65,000.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S charging at Majura Park. Photo James Coleman.

At this rate, Mr Rattenbury expects EVs to match the prices of petrol and diesel cars by around 2025, and that “measures that support the uptake of EVs will only accelerate this transition”.

But a rise in EVs means a drop in revenue from the fuel excise levy. Governments are already developing ways to make up for this loss of revenue with a road tax, on top of registration and tolls.

At this stage, the ACT Government has ruled out a road-user tax for EVs, but Mr Rattenbury declined to comment on whether or not they would ever disincentivise fossil-fuel-powered vehicles.

A new report by the Federal Government, however, provides a clearer picture of the future.

The 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan suggests that a distance-based charge should apply to the use of all vehicles on Australian roads, starting with EVs before extending to all vehicles no matter the power source.

The justification is that heavy vehicles increase the cost of road maintenance by pounding over the pavement, while light vehicles contribute to emissions, crashes and congestion.

“The goal is that, ultimately, every vehicle owner and user will end up paying a fair price that reflects the impact of their choices,” the report explains.

The report states that this new road usage charge would be taxed at the same rate across Australia but could be supplemented by congestion taxes collected by state and territory governments.

Put together, the additional costs aim to push Australians into other “mobility choices”.

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14 Responses to A tale of two reports: ACT ranks highly for EV adoption while Feds plan a new road tax
Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:07 pm 10 Sep 21

Further incentives = good
Subsidies = bad

Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 10:06 pm 10 Sep 21

Ditch fuel tax and apply a km based charge to all vehicles 👍

Richard Willcoxson Richard Willcoxson 7:15 pm 10 Sep 21

Would only be reasonable. Why should they get to use the roads without paying anything to help maintain them?

    Nick Savino Nick Savino 8:20 pm 10 Sep 21

    Richard Willcoxson actually they do via rates ..

    Stuart Herring Stuart Herring 10:48 pm 10 Sep 21

    Richard Willcoxson as has been pointed out many times before. Fuel excise doesn't pay for roads.

    Neither will any federal tax or levy, since the Commonwealth doesn't pay for state and territory internal roads. The states and territories do.

    So this isn't about paying for road usage, it's about taking money because money can be taken - to replace existing money that's being taken because it can, but which will dry up.

    Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 3:24 am 11 Sep 21

    Richard Willcoxson lol, roads are payed out of general revenue. Fuel tax isn’t enough to repair the pot holes. And these days governments make cushy deals with private companies to build the roads which are toll roads. And of course if those infrastructure owners can charge by the KM which some have been doing before EVs came about, it’s rivers of gold. We are merely cows to be milked.

Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 7:03 pm 10 Sep 21

Why is Norway always an example on ev sales, they’re 13th on the planet in oil a gas production/ export

Robert Azzopardi Robert Azzopardi 6:41 pm 10 Sep 21

Well I didn’t see that coming


Peter Groves Peter Groves 6:22 pm 10 Sep 21

Oh how surprising.

高島智矢 高島智矢 6:20 pm 10 Sep 21

A km-based road usage tax is going to kill the taxi drivers and the taxi companies. Every driver will just go to Uber.

    Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 3:19 am 11 Sep 21

    高島智矢 Uber drivers would still need to pay the tax and in all reality businesses would pass the tax on to the passenger

nobody nobody 5:18 pm 10 Sep 21

This regime proudly subsidises the rich to buy a new EV, which increases the tax burden on the shoulders of the poor.

bikhet bikhet 4:29 pm 10 Sep 21

Before this degenerates into bashing the feds, I’ll point out that Victoria was proposing to impose a ZLEV road user charge on 01/07/2021 (don’t know if it happened) and South Australia is also planning to introduce one. I haven’t checked on other states. Have to replace the money from the fuel levy somehow.

Futureproof Futureproof 4:16 pm 10 Sep 21

So all new car sales in 2030 will be EVs. Well, I hope those 10 people are happy with their purchase

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