20 July 2022

Full charge ahead! ACT overhauls rego system to drive EV take-up

| Lottie Twyford
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Shane Rattenbury and Andrew Barr in an electric car

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury released the Territory’s Zero Emissions Vehicle strategy today (20 July). Photo: Lottie Twyford.

Stamp duty will be scrapped for second-hand zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) from August this year and the Territory’s vehicle registration system will be overhauled from a weight-based to an emissions-based system as part of the ACT’s zero-emissions future.

The former could save potential buyers an average of $1600 a year, making switching to a ZEV more enticing.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury released the ACT’s full zero emissions vehicles strategy today.

It included a commitment to banning new fossil fuel vehicles from being registered in the ACT from 2035 onwards and prohibiting new fossil fuel cars from being introduced to the taxi or rideshare system by 2030.

The government stressed neither of those bans would force cars already on the road off the road.

The Territory government will set itself the ambitious target of 80 to 90 per cent of new vehicle sales being zero emissions by 2030. Photo: James Coleman.

The strategy mapped out a path forward to address issues relating to affordability, range anxiety and EV availability, among others.

Alongside extending the stamp duty exemption to second-hand zero-emissions vehicles from August this year, car owners will receive two years of free registration for battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

These changes would subsequently be followed by a major overhaul of the Territory’s car registration system which would be underpinned by the principle that the lower your transport emissions, the less you will pay.

READ MORE New petrol cars to be banned from 2035 as ACT waves goodbye to fossil fuels

Currently, registration fees in the Territory are based on the weight of the vehicle, but as electric vehicles are heavier than fossil-fuel ones because of the size of the battery, Mr Barr said this would need to be adjusted as a “fundamental” element of the reform.

He deflected questions about whether this change would be fair to Canberrans who couldn’t yet afford to make the transition to a ZEV, saying equity could be ensured.

He said the government would lead with incentives first before moving to further reform the registration system.

Mr Barr foreshadowed it was unlikely stamp duty would return for purchasers of electric vehicles.

People can also access the Sustainable Household Scheme which provides $15,000 in interest-free loans that can be used to purchase electric vehicles. That scheme will continue.

READ ALSO Monaro mess proves traffic lights are lazy fix to road planning problem

Along with a raft of reforms outlined in the strategy, the government will make changes to the planning rules so apartment buildings must have electric vehicle chargers.

It will also ensure at least 180 publicly accessible electric vehicle chargers are available in the Territory by 2025.

By 2030, it’s forecast the ACT will need more than 500.

Established apartment buildings will also be able to access $2000 to retrofit charging infrastructure if it was not initially installed.

But the government strategy acknowledged that it is going to be complex and time-consuming.

It will also streamline license applications for EV charging stations on public land.

Mr Barr confirmed today there would be a program in place to ensure a legacy of batteries in landfill is not left behind, although the details of that are unknown.

READ ALSO Petrol prices have dropped, so are Canberra motorists being gouged at the pump?

As announced earlier this week, the government has set an ambitious target of 80 to 90 per cent of new light vehicles sold in the ACT being zero-emission vehicles in 2030 before a stricter ban would come into force five years later.

Mr Barr said he believed that commitment was feasible but much work would need to be done in the interim on increasing supply to the market.

Mr Barr said all states, territories and the Commonwealth were working together on ambitious ZEV targets and strategies to make up for what he described as a “decade of lost time under the previous government”.

The Federal Government is in charge of Australia’s vehicle emissions standards.

He noted a program of work was already underway with NSW to ensure charging infrastructure would be in place along the highways in and out of the Territory.

The ACT is committed to net-zero emissions by 2045. Transport currently accounts for the majority (60 per cent) of the Territory’s emissions.

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Just to correct the record …
> A Tesla Model 3 (biggest selling EV in the world) weighs just on 2000 kgs
> Your average SUV (so popular amongst soccer mums) weighs on average 2500 kgs.
So I ask you, who is doing more damage to roads? AND who is emitting the most emissions ?

Andrew Cooke11:53 am 02 Feb 23

A model 3 is 1650-1850kgs and a a CX-5 is about 1750kgs so about the same I’d say.

MilkyWay26008:40 pm 21 Jul 22

A regulation mandating refusal to register in the ACT any new ICE cars purchased interstate, on the grounds of the vehicles not being woke enough, will last all of five minutes in the High Court, as an unconstitutional infringement of free trade between states. If a nationwide ban on sale/use of new ICE cars were to be legislated federally – maybe, perhaps this could eventually become legally possible, but not otherwise, short of changing the Constitution (good luck with that). Also, every new ICE car for sale in Canberra will be brought into the Territory with 100-500 km on the clock and legally sold as a dealer used car. Do these clowns have lawyers?

Are you a lawyer?

Feel free to explain your qualifications in the area. Otherwise, I will file it under ignorantia.

Weight based rego is to cover damage to the roads. Do EV’s float aboe the road?

Basically the more tailpipe emissions a vehicle makes is directly related to the fuel it uses. This means that owners of “dirty vehicles” are already paying the premium at the pump.

I’m not anti EV at all in fact I’d like to own one but WTF are the government thinking.

I agree that weight should be a factor, with emissions. Dirty vehicles do not pay their way because their emissions are unpriced. That Is what a “carbon price” is about.

Currently fuel excises are used as a proxy for road user charging. There is no current road user charge for electric vehicles.

A first alternative would be a per kilometre charge by having vehicles odometers inspected say every 3 months. No doubt there will be a new industry of winding back odometers to reduce the cost.

Another alternative available with today’s communications technology is to use an electronic monitor similar to that available in our phones to the vehicle. A central motor registry would have the distances, locations and times of travel. Every road would then be a tollway covering Road usage and even congestion pricing in peak hours. The only negative I can think of in this economically efficient method is a privacy aspect. If the information is available to the owner and his family there might be the occasional case where husband says he’s going fishing for the weekend and the electronic device shows that he only went to his wife’s girlfriends place for the weekend and the local fish market.

Frederick Burman2:49 pm 21 Jul 22

Electric cars don’t pay fuel tax but they still wear out the roads. This needs to be fixed.

Felix the Cat8:11 pm 23 Jul 22

It will be in time but at the moment they are trying to encourage people to buy EVs so giving them incentives. EV sales are only about 5% of current new car sales so it has a way to go yet before it is up around the 80-90% mark that is being aimed for.
Vehicle manufacturers are cutting right back on ICE R&D and pouring funds into EVs. May be some vehicle manufacturers not even offering an ICE in 2035

I am keen to go to an EV but until the number of ev’s and the range of model choice increases, that won’t happen.
I agree with the rego being based on emissions, but we should also be including consideration of the amount of kilometers a vehicle travels. Why should a retiree who does 300k a year pay the same as a younger person who does 12,000k a year. lets look at actual emissions and not just an estimate.

Perhaps because the typical retiree wouldn’t notice the email from the motor registry demanding a photograph of their current odometer reading on threat of cancelling the car’s registration, as happens 1-2x a year in Victoria for EV owners (on rego renewal and if the rate changes on 1 July). Charging by odometer is egregious in practice.

Capital Retro11:10 am 21 Jul 22

I have saved the image of Barr and Rattenbury fantasizing about the mega-expensive EV future of Canberra which is already financially fly-blown.

It will come back to haunt them.

Why don’t we start with an electricity garantee from renewables. For the whole of Australia

It’s going to be harder and more expensive for electricity

pete from red hill10:29 am 21 Jul 22

Wise. Interesting to witness the latent fogeyism for such a young city. People resistant to change. When major car manufacturers are signalling the end of internal combustion powered cars, it is up to governments to get on the front foot.

Capital Retro11:14 am 21 Jul 22

Says a person who probably has never been out of work or seen what a recession can do.

“Change” covers a lot of things, as you younger people are about to find out.

Based on CR’s intimations of his age, he has lived through the entirety of the most extended period of major peace and economic growth we have known, helpfully destroying environment and housing access for later generations along the way.

He will now lecture them.

If manufacturers are signalling the end of ICE powered vehicles why is the Canberra City Council wasting taxpayer dollars on whats looking like being a mute point?

Fair question (the moot one), purplevh, although I doubt they will need to spend much. I think it is more symbolic, an alert, and notice report that there is some discussion between the States to move more uniformly on this if the Federal government does not..

So low income families will have to purchase sub standard ev’s that become fire hazards.
Question: How do you put out an EV fire? Answer: you don’t you just let it burn out, plus the house if it was parked in the garage.

How do you power an EV? With coal at night.

Most of them are made overseas from coal powered manufacturing. From coal powered smelting of Iron Ore. From you children forced to mine the cobalt for the batteries. Batteries that need swapping after 10 years and aren’t suited to Canberra’s cold weather as they will wear out quicker in the cold weather.

ACT just brought diesel buses? Why? because they were cheaper.

Aren’t we lucky that ICE vehicles never catch fire. Oh wait….


“How do you power an EV? With coal at night.”

With power from the grid that is going to tip over to majority renewable energy generation in around 5 years.

It is also worth noting as pointed out here by another writer (whose handle I regret I forget) that the total energy efficiency of coal-fired electricity + EV is still superior to ICE. The latter is hugely inefficient, especially in ordinary traffic use and from cold.
Given coal+EV is already superior, any addition of renewable power at all takes us further ahead, so repeated rabbiting on here about “EV powered by coal” completely fails as an argument for ICE vehicles; it is an argument favouring EV and for more of renewable utilisation.

ICE vehicle fire and the house is still standing… Exactly what I had said.

If that was a battery powered vehicle and the battery caught fire, putting water on it will do as much as posting about it on the riotact.

Fire in a lithium battery means that it it will sustain itself until it releases all the stored energy.

The ideal conditions for EV are 25 degree day for running and 25 degree temp for charging.

Too hot or too cold you damage the battery and get less performance than you would otherwise. At least half the trips in winter are going to be at the coldest parts of the day.
Turning on heating, will rapidly deplete the battery, for an ICE its waste energy.

The introduction of 40km/h speed limits will mean that most EV’s will become glorified electric heaters.

We’d be better putting supercapacitors on cars and charging them regularly at lights or when parked.

While the grid is moving away from coal. Adding a huge load to it like mandating twice as much power needs to provide for EVs where does that extra power come from?

Yes the house is still standing exactly as it would be if the vehicle was an EV.

“Fire in a lithium battery means that it it will sustain itself until it releases all the stored energy.”

And? They are also less likely than ICE vehicles to catch fire in the first place.

“While the grid is moving away from coal. Adding a huge load to it like mandating twice as much power needs to provide for EVs where does that extra power come from?”

From the new renewable energy generators being built. Where did you think we get electricity from?

And with properly structured tariffs, EVs will actually help smooth demands on the grid because most of them will be charging during low use periods overnight.

Question: as the ACT government already has numerous Hydrogen vehicles and a charging station, how many kms have they done, cost to refill and how many times have they refilled?
Surly in some minutes somewhere

Capital Retro7:04 am 21 Jul 22

It’s probably filed under “A Better Place 2.0”.

It’s a good idea to provide incentives for EVs but I dont believe they should move away from a weight based system due to the inherent impact on road maintenance costs that are incurred from heavier vehicles.

They will also need to work (along with the Feds) on how to replace the lost fuel excise revenue as we transition away from ICE vehicles. I think there’s probably a role for significantly increased road tolls or kms travelled based charges.

HiddenDragon6:40 pm 20 Jul 22

“He deflected questions about whether this change would be fair to Canberrans who couldn’t yet afford to make the transition to a ZEV, saying equity could be ensured.”

So some Centrelink health/concession card holders might get some relief and everyone else will have to cross-subsidise the favoured few. This is a fake Labor government consumed with posturing and pandering to the fellow occupants of the virtue-signalling echo chamber in which it dwells.

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