25 May 2021

EV incentives accelerated with free registration and more charging stations

| Michael Weaver
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Chris Nash and Rob Ogilvie

Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) president Chris Nash with the chair of the ACT Branch of AEVA Rob Ogilvie at the announcement of free registration for electric vehicles on Monday (24 May). Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT Government has accelerated its incentives for owners of new and used zero-emission vehicles with two years’ free registration and the promise of at least 50 new charging stations in the Territory in the next 12 months.

Eligible ACT residents and businesses can apply for the free registration for vehicles in the ACT purchased or acquired from 24 May and before 30 June 2024.

Flanked by the latest EVs, including Jaguar’s first all-electric performance SUV and a Harley Davidson Livewire electric motorcycle, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury took aim at the lack of EV incentives from the Federal Government and other state governments.

“Some state governments are bringing in this new road user charge, or EV tax, which I think is a disastrous policy at a time when Australia’s electric vehicle sales are less than one per cent of new vehicle sales,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The ACT has been leading Australia in electric vehicle policy and incentives. For years we have had the most generous incentives for these vehicles, including stamp duty exemption for new vehicles, a 20 per cent registration discount and access to transit lanes.

“From today, we’re going further to offer two years of free registration for newly registered new and used zero-emissions vehicles.”

Harley Davidson Livewire

The Harley Davidson Livewire electric motorcycle. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Chief Minister and Minister for Climate Action Andrew Barr said the ACT Government would continue to encourage people to purchase zero-emission vehicles.

The waiver of registration and stamp duty costs equated to about five per cent of the cost of a new EV, which is based on the weight of the vehicle. Mr Barr said he would like to see registration based on the emissions of the vehicle.

He also said the government had discussed having significantly more EV charging stations in the ACT, with the rollout of 50 new charging stations just the beginning.

ACT Auditor-General Michael Harris recently described the failure to include sufficient charging infrastructure in new ACT Government buildings in Dickson and Civic as “a missed opportunity”.

“In the next 12 to 18 months, we want to see that number grow significantly over the next five years, with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of recharge sites,” Mr Barr said.

He also encouraged Canberrans to look at what’s on offer when they next purchase a vehicle.

“Transport emissions accounted for about 60 per cent of the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions, and of these emissions, an estimated 70 per cent are from private vehicles.

“Reducing the number of high-emitting vehicles on our roads is significant to achieving our targets, along with encouraging active travel and public transport use.

“The ACT is fast approaching 1000 registered electric vehicles and further incentives, such as the two-year registration waiver and no-interest loans through the Sustainable Household Scheme, will make purchasing zero-emission vehicles a viable option for Canberrans.”

READ ALSO Having nowhere to charge the car impacting government’s transition to zero-emissions fleet

Mr Rattenbury said he expected the cost of EVs to reach parity with petroleum-based vehicles in the next three years.

“The automobile makers are going to stop making petrol vehicles, so Australia needs to gear up and get ready to make sure we’re ready for the future,” he said.

“We will establish a new goal in the next Parliamentary Agreement for 2030 of electric vehicle sales, and the research is now underway to put that goal in place.

“The Greens think it should be 90 per cent of new car sales by 2030 as I think that’s where the market is going.

“We do expect to see price parity by most predictions for new vehicles in the next three years, or by the middle of this decade is what I would anticipate. Frankly, by 2030, why you would not be buying an electric vehicle?”

Access Canberra said there were 952 registered EVs in the ACT as of 16 April, most of which are Teslas (422).

The ACT Government now has more than 140 zero-emissions vehicles in its fleet, including 52 electric vehicles, 70 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and 20 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The procurement process has also begun for 90 electric buses, the first of which is expected to commence operation in the next financial year.

The free registration eligibility requirements are available on the Access Canberra website.

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Shock, horror! – it’s true!

The NSW Liberal Party wants “to charge up the Nation and make NSW the Norway of Australia when it comes to EVs.” –


Do Andrew and Shane know about this?

WARNING – The following could cause great distress across the spectrum – there will be those upset the ACT may be falling behind, and others grieving for the hard done-by poor of the Great State of New South Wales.

“The New South Wales government will waive stamp duty on electric vehicle purchases and provide subsidies for 25,000 new purchases as part of a $490m strategy to drive uptake of EVs …”

“Behyad Jafari, the head of the Electric Vehicle Council, said NSW was the first state to treat EVs seriously as a globally necessary technology to combat the climate crisis …”

“This now sets the benchmark for every other state, Jafari said.”

Source: Guardian 20 June 2021

It is interesting to see the concern regarding subsidies on electric vehicles and renewables in general thought to be unjustified, but $10 billion per annum subsidies on fossil fuels is OK. We have subsidised the car industry for decades. Now $600 million for a coal fire gas station that will employ only around 10 works. More subversive still are hidden subsidies, such as the government making risky investments and then privatising it at a fraction of the cost, as is happening in NSW at this time. Socialisation of risk, and privatisation of profit. Absurd but not uncommon.

Capital Retro6:44 pm 06 Jun 21

Please remind me in detail what are the $10 billion p.a. in subsidies that fossil fuels get.

Capital Retro6:40 pm 20 Jun 21

Still waiting for the details of those mythical fossil fuel subsidies.

The households where electric cars would work best, as those households that can afford two cars; the bigger, go on longer trips car, and the little run-about town car. The little run-about town car could easily be an EV. It never leaves town or goes far and can return home to charge.

For those who only have one car and take it away on holidays and for longer trips away from home, an all electric car is not yet practical.

A pointless concession that won’t fundamentally change 99.99% of decision making as to whether to buy an EV or not – because for most consumers, they are not yet a viable option, or if they are a couple of hundred bucks a year (surely they aren’t including CTP as a ‘freebie’?) won’t change that decision making because they aren’t buying on a pure ‘value for money’ basis.

That plus it increases the risk of further entrenching the ‘free lunch’ around EVs that isn’t sustainable in the medium to longer term. I’m all for increased EV uptake – but pissing money up the wall to feel good in a way like this does not make sense.

How about showing some foresight and reforming the charging regime around EVs completely, to start the move towards the need for a Road User Charge, which like it or lump it will be needed – indeed it could be implemented in a way that doesn’t cost government money in the short term, doesn’t seek to raise additional revenue in the short term, but also then allows for that system to be ’embedded’ – thereby ensuring a phase out of the ‘free lunch’ can successfully occur in the medium term. The opportunity is there – but the political foresight sadly is not….

Yes, very much doubt the people who will be buying EVs in the next couple of years need the lure of free rego. And who knows, perhaps there may be even more egregious examples of subsidies to be aggrieved about.

HiddenDragon6:02 pm 25 May 21

““Some state governments are bringing in this new road user charge, or EV tax, which I think is a disastrous policy at a time when Australia’s electric vehicle sales are less than one per cent of new vehicle sales,” Mr Rattenbury said.”

Possibly because those governments are a bit less detached from fiscal reality than fantasists who run the ACT.

The revenue currently raised by fuel taxation is far too large for governments to forego, so the real question here is how long will EV owners get a free ride on ACT roads at the expense of other motorists?

Rattenbury doesn’t care about the Budget HD – that’s for sure. As long as he is pissing money up the wall from somewhere, he is happy.

Its the ideal time to be starting to reform to implement road user charging for EVs. VIC & SA have the right idea – the bit they have wrong is trying to raise revenue from it at this point in time. Need to get the system in place and working, and then as fuel excise drops off, then you ramp up whatever the per unit charge is.

So simple I would of thought, but beyond the capability of the politicians to grasp it seems.

Imagine if most people had an electric car. Take the number of cars that pull into a petrol station (especially in places where most people are far from home and can’t charge the car at home) to refuel in an hour. That number of places to charge that number of cars would be needed. Actually, double the number of spaces for cars, as most electric cars can’t travel as far on a charge as a car can on petrol. The cars would likely be loaded with luggage, camping gear, etc, which would reduce the range of the car; maybe even pulling a caravan. It would need hectares of land and massive electrical infrastructure. Then the car will have to charge again two to four hours later, depending on the car. If a car is just to run around local areas, an electric car works, but otherwise, they aren’t practical. It would be better to encourage more people in towns to leave their car at home when going to work, by providing better public transport and well designed, direct bike paths.

That number of places to charge that number of cars would be needed.
– no it wouldn’t, as people would have mostly charged at home. Most EVs can do a couple of hundred kms, so they would be charged over night.

Actually, double the number of spaces for cars, as most electric cars can’t travel as far on a charge as a car can on petrol.
– you can’t fill up petrol at home. So it would still be less people filling up.

So in all, the only correct points in your post: Loaded up EVs will not last as long, Encouraging people to utilise alternatives to driving is better ( ACT Government has been trying for at least the last 15 years to reduce cars on the road. But they just can’t do it.)

Capital Retro9:38 pm 25 May 21

Have you noticed that new apartment developments in Canberra have very limited parking or none at all? In Europe, most of the large, old cities have no parking for residents at all (this is why trams are used) so they have to use parking stations and use ride-share vehicles. Soon, this will be the situation in Canberra. This means they won’t be charged overnight at their homes from their solar batteries.

Another own-goal for our idealist leaders.

Capital Retro,
Wait, what?

Apartments won’t have car spaces but residents will still have cars that need EV charging infrastructure?

Where exactly will these cars be parked if not in parking spaces? Are they to be kept in the Phantom Zone?

Hmm, perhaps wherever they do get located in your mythical future, we could think about installing charging infrastructure at those locations connected to the electricity grid.

I know it might be difficult but I think it just might work.

I wrote, “(especially in places where most people are far from home and can’t charge the car at home)” No, they can’t just plug in at home, when they are 1,000s of kms from home.
I was thinking of places where most people filling up are travellers, such as on the Stuart Hwy or at Barkly Homestead (they generate their electric by diesel generators). I have seen queues there at some roadhouses. Imagine if that traffic is mostly EVs. There would need to be masses of land made available for cars to park to charge. Power would need to be brought to places before all this happened.
Yes, when a car is at home it can be charged at home, but cars are not always at home, and unless someone can afford to own more than one car, it needs to be able to drive everywhere (at least main roads) in Australia. Hydrogen is a better fit for Australia and our distances. A petrol/electric car would work too, until hydrogen was more viable, but not an all electric car. Unless someone doesn’t travel that is.
Speaking personally, when I worked, where the car was capable of going in my holidays was more important then driving it around town, especially for work. Work I could ride my bike to, or catch a bus. Shopping I mostly walked to or caught a bus to. The car was used for longer trips.

Funny, you linked to a snopes article debunking the claim. They are the victim of a failed business.


Capital Retro5:22 pm 25 May 21

I said “alleged”.

So, what’s your explanation?

Capital Retro,
What do you need an explanation for? Did you read the article?

The cars are the result of a ride sharing business that failed because of problems with the business model, that had very little to do with the fact that the cars were Ev’s.

Claiming that the failure was due to problems with electric vehicles would be the same as claiming the internet was a failure because one Internet Service Provider went broke.

Capital Retro1:22 pm 21 Jun 21

The service provider was massively subsidised by the public purse via the virtue signaling government.

Capital Retro3:02 pm 25 May 21

Sounds like the failed “A Better Place” which cost the ACT millions of dollars:


This initiative only favours rich Canberrans who can afford these grossly expensive vehicles. For the purposes of federal taxes they are classified as luxury vehicles.

Capital Retro11:06 am 25 May 21

I have asked this question before on other threads and I am yet to get an answer.

If EVs are so good why are taxpayers subsidising them?

Let me ask you this CR.

If fossil fuels are so good, why is the taxpayer subsidising them?

Capital Retro2:58 pm 26 May 21

I don’t believe the taxpayer is subsidising fossil fuels in any but I’m happy to be corrected if you will supply details.

Make sure the figures you quote are real though – I don’t want any of that contrived “cost to climate change” nonsense.

Capital Retro1:23 pm 21 Jun 21

Still waiting for your details JS9.

No wonder Canberritans are moving to Googong. Lower cost car rego, lower council rates, and the list go es on. Although that Keen fellow up in inner Sydney is a bit of a worry!

More cost of fuel to drive to work in Canberra and for other needs. More wear and tear on the car too. About a two hour journey by bus to Canberra. Basically a dormitory suburb.

Capital Retro9:41 pm 25 May 21

Good for commuters who have diesels with PDFs because they need at least 50kms of travel a day to avoid “limp home mode”.

This regime takes from the poor and gives to the rich. The poor can’t afford a new car, let alone a new electric car, and often struggle to pay rego. Yet the regime is giving free rego and stamp duty to the wealthy people who can afford to buy a new electric car.

It’s abhorrent, and I’m not surprised.The left has abandoned working people for inner city elites.

Exactly right @dukethunder. The housing market is rife with such examples for the lucky few who can get land or already own a property. EVs could be the thing to push 100k car loans mainstream because they can be marketed as “making sense” / green”. It’s a decimal point next to a “standard” $1m mortgage. Bit by bit, Australians are allowing themselves to be enslaved by the profit driven need of the banking system to grow their loan book supported a political class that has swallowed the idea that this is in the common good hook line and sinker. I ask where will we be when this financing ponzi plays it’s self out? Look to the US, they arguable a decade or two further down this unsustainable path; extreme inequality, high rates of poverty, a openly corrupt political class, spiraling out of control debt.

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