Government pushes button on zero-interest loans for zero-emission EVs

Ian Bushnell 5 December 2021 28
Shane Rattenbury and an EV

Minister for Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury and an electric vehicle: “Many Canberrans want to take action on climate change, and these no-interest loans for zero-emissions vehicles will help people to do this.” Photo: Supplied.

Buying an electric vehicle will now be more affordable in the ACT, with Canberrans able to for an interest-free loan up to $15,000 through the ACT Government’s expanded Sustainable Household Scheme.

Adding the EV option to the scheme had been flagged, and the government is today opening loan applications, which will help, along with two years’ free rego and zero stamp duty, overcome the considerable cost barrier to buying an electric vehicle.

The government says the expansion will start with a small number of electric vehicle suppliers participating in the scheme, but more suppliers will be added over time.

Many new and used electric vehicle dealerships are already signed up as participants.

The move will support the government’s policy aim of net-zero emissions by 2045.

Chief Minister and Minister for Climate Action Andrew Barr said the goal was to support more Canberra households to share in the benefits of a net-zero emissions future while at the same time creating and protecting good local jobs.

“So far, the scheme has been a great success, and we look forward to seeing more Canberrans support the government’s efforts to reduce emissions without leaving people behind,” he said.


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Minister for Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said transport was the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT, and this latest move would be another incentive for Canberrans to switch to electric vehicles.

“Many Canberrans want to take action on climate change, and these no-interest loans for zero-emissions vehicles will help people to do this,” he said.

“With two years’ free registration and zero stamp duty on emission-free vehicles already in place in the ACT, this initiative makes it even easier for Canberran households to reduce their emissions and take that next step.

“I look forward to seeing more zero-emissions vehicles on the roads as we work towards net-zero by 2045.”

Brighte has partnered with the government to be the loan provider for the scheme.

CEO Katherine McConnell said that between home energy and personal vehicles, households generated 33.5 per cent of the ACT’s domestic emissions.

“The future is electric, and EVs are at a tipping point of affordability — programs like the Sustainable Household Scheme make this transition more possible. I have no doubt the ACT will become a territory of zero-emission vehicles and lead the way for other states to follow suit.”

The price of EVs remains prohibitively high for many, but they are expected to become cheaper over time.

The Federal Government is investing in charging stations but has resisted industry calls for a CO2 fuel efficiency standard, which carmakers say would make Australia more attractive for them to sell into, increasing the variety of models in the market.

Through phase one of the Sustainable Household Scheme, more than 2000 households have already applied to have sustainable upgrades installed in their homes, with around $20 million in loan applications received so far.

The government says it has also provided a welcome boost to the local industry, with more than 80 per cent of work generated going to ACT and region suppliers.

Under the scheme, eligible applicants can borrow to buy rooftop solar panels, household battery storage systems, electric heating and cooling systems, hot water heat pumps, electric stovetops, installation costs for these products, and now EVs.

The guidelines and more information about the scheme, including how to apply for a loan, are available on the government’s climate choices website.


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28 Responses to Government pushes button on zero-interest loans for zero-emission EVs
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Ken Behren Ken Behren 8:43 am 07 Dec 21

@Daniel Tubby….. Im interested in the math here:

You say “Canberra and Wollongong because it costs $70 return in their small ICE vehicle. And $5 in the Tesla.”

I am trying to understand the cost benefit here – economics based, not environmentally (to the consumer)

A quick look at Carsales shows the average prive of a second hand Tesla to be about $90000, the cheapest is actually still $57990… (I have not gone for a brand new one)…… a compareable car lets say is $40000.

An EV trip from Canberra to Wollongong is 250km and costs $65 less than an ICE: therefore you need to drive: $50000 (difference in car price) / 65 = 769.23 trips to break even (excluding maintenance/insurance of course). That equals 769.23 x 250 km = 192 307.5km to break even (from your statistics).

Most cars are resold/recycled way before that – but maybe you won’t with an EV? I don’t own one so I cannot comment from that aspect.

The sums from an economical point of view just don;t stack up as yet (I am sure they will in the future though).

We see this all the time is new electronics – 6/7 years ago a 65″ TV cost $3500-$4000, now they are $700….. supply and demand signals I guess and someone has to start it off somewhere……

jwinston jwinston 8:39 am 07 Dec 21

I’m sure the the Greens, XR and others will be happy to learn that it looks like my diesel vehicle will be producing zero emissions in the new year due due to the shortage of urea and may be sitting idle in the driveway.

But the bigger picture is that, unfortunately, this will also affect how Australia’s food is produced, harvested and the way it is transported – increasing the cost at the checkout substantially…

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:41 am 07 Dec 21

    Australia recently allowed millions of litres of urea to be sent to South Korea to enable their diesel truck infrastructure to keep feeding the nation.

kenbehrens kenbehrens 8:25 pm 06 Dec 21

I read an article that quoted research from Volvo that recorded their total emissions from mining of resources thru to construction of their EVs. Volvo results were that production of EV resulted in 70% more emissions than production of their ICE vehicles.

EVs are sometimes promoted due to their potential to improve city air quality and their potential to be cheaper to “refuel”(via home solar panels).

The “refueling” advantage still exists without panels, but it lengthens the payback period.
If the electricity to recharge isn’t clean, the environmental arguments for EVs, are illusionary.

Of course, if we being honest about it all, we would need to factor in the emissions incurred in the manufacturing and shipping of the panels from China and when considering the ownership and financial costs, we would also need to factor in a pro-rata cost of the solar panels used to charge the car.

I’m NOT anti EV. IMO, fuel security is one of the most important issues we face and EVs can be important with that.

Sadly, it’s too easy for politicians to only look at emissions from the tailpipe when sprouting their ideology.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:18 pm 06 Dec 21

    Of course you are correct but because what you say contradicts the warmist science-fiction anti-climate change narrative you will be called a denier.

    As for Volvo, they are now going all out for EVs as this cherry-picked ad reveals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYyPlgHYXok

    A great example of having an each-way bet.

    chewy14 chewy14 7:50 am 07 Dec 21

    Capital Retro,
    Except that as pointed out to you last time you tried to make that point, the claims about “production” emissions were dwarfed by the reduction in “operation” emissions that made EVs have significantly lower overall emissions. Added to the fact that this gap will only increase as renewable electricity generation grows to dominate in the next 10 years.

    The links were provided to show you how wrong you were.

    It’s almost like you deliberately don’t read anything that hurts your predetermined position.

    Well maybe not “almost like”, “exactly like” is a more apt description.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:59 am 07 Dec 21

    So, is it a crime to have a pre-determined position? You warmists are getting more arrogant every day.

    And you totally missed my reference to “each-way bet”.

    chewy14 chewy14 1:22 pm 07 Dec 21

    “So, is it a crime to have a pre-determined position?”

    No, but most sensible people are happy to change their position when actual evidence is presented showing that they are wrong or when the evidence base changes with new information.

    Good to see you finally beginning to admit your significant levels of cognitive dissonance on the issue.

    JS9 JS9 9:11 am 07 Dec 21

    Did you read that nonsense back before you posted it CR. ‘Warmist science-fiction ant-climate change narrative’. Do explain how that all fits together….. truly bizarre.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:44 am 07 Dec 21

    What? Are the ants now being affected by climate change too?

gwkbike gwkbike 4:43 pm 06 Dec 21

EVs are Not zero emission. They have twice as many emissions to manufacture as a fueled vehicle. The break even distance compared to the total lifetime emissions for the two categories of similar sized vehicles appears to be somewhere around 50,000 km if renewable sources provide most of the electricity for the EV.

In reality EVs just move the emissions to somewhere else, the places of manufacture, mining and shipping, followed by emissions from the sources of electricity generation. Currently EVs are a long way from being a solution to emissions.

Elf Elf 2:40 pm 06 Dec 21

Reality is, at the moment these are ok as a second car. If you want to be able to travel, there is no infrastructure to enable recharging in a reasonable time frame. I can pump petrol and be gone in 5 minutes. To recharge an EV may take hours and if there are cars in front of you recharging, then who knows how long.

When they solve that problem, everyone will want one.

    JS9 JS9 3:04 pm 06 Dec 21

    The solution is relatively simple. Its called petrol stations becoming EV stations, which in a lot of areas will be the solution that ultimately happens. Is it Ampol (Can’t remember now – could be one of the other brands?) already doing some pretty serious investment into build a charging network on existing petrol station locations.

    And for many vehicles, the charging time has come down a lot, especially where there are the fast charging stations. But you hit the key point in terms of how long one might have to wait for availability at this point – that will be an issue as demand increases.

    The key issue at the moment is that the ‘relatively’ affordable models still don’t quite have the range needed to lessen the impact. The transition will take off quickly when that next step is taken – when 400-500km becomes a standard range on a charger. It is not too far off I don’t think, but still a little way away for affordable vehicles.

    kenbehrens kenbehrens 4:43 pm 06 Dec 21

    The solution isn’t quite as simple as you suggest. Petrol stations are not going to “just” become EV stations. Petrol stations currently provide a range of petrol variants, options, LPG, plus diesel. In other words, they cater for what the majority of people drive. At best, they may convert a pump or two to EV; however the slower customer turnaround thru recharging time would cut into their profitability.
    I don’t believe that the current petrol service station business model would survive as an EV station. They are a high volume, fast turnover business model. I don’t think the profit margins would be enough as a slow turnover business.
    It truly is the egg and chicken scenario. You won’t get more EV roadside charging points until you get more EVs and you won’t get more EVs without the charging points and a reduction in the cost of those EVs.
    I’d happily drive an EV if the purchase price was comparable and I knew there were adequate a roadside recharging stations every 100km. Could be a while.

    Daniel Tubby Daniel Tubby 3:28 am 07 Dec 21

    “I’d happily drive an EV if there was adequate roadside charging stations every 100km”

    Have you looked at a map of chargers recently? You’re in luck.

    And service stations are already transitioning to having EV points. Again it’s something you don’t know about because you just fill up at the bowser. Clearly they’re not gonna have 400 volts where the bowsers are. They usually on the other side of the building.

    Things are moving quicker than you realise I think. I also own a sprinter and Hino 40ft bus I’m converting to a motorhome. Obviously it’s a challenge to convert them to electricity but I now don’t want to road trip in them because EVs are soooooo much better

    MERC600 MERC600 12:32 pm 07 Dec 21

    “”Have you looked at a map of chargers recently?””
    Thanks for the info. Have not had much luck. Could you put up the site pls.
    Thanks.

    wheels900 wheels900 9:03 pm 07 Dec 21

    Check out https://www.plugshare.com/ you can find all the chargers across Australia (and indeed the world) with this app

    JS9 JS9 9:07 am 07 Dec 21

    Happy to disagree kenbehrens.

    Business models move quickly when they do move, and it will happen with petrol stations converting to some other use, most likely EV charging stations. Of course they’ll still provide legacy infrastructure for petrol vehicles etc – but the rollout of EV charging material will take off quickly at some point in time. The challenge is predicting when that will happen. But there is already a lot of interesting ideas being tested out overseas to see what petrol stations of the future focused on EV recharging might look like.

    And yes there are limits and challenges to overcome as CR suggests around grid infrastructure etc – but its not like petrol stations were ‘just there’ in the first place. Everything evolves to meet demand, and evolves quickly, and it’ll be no different with EV charging facilities.

    Harv Harv 9:09 am 07 Dec 21

    Have you seen the margins on the things they sell inside the store? Not sure fuel is their biggest profit maker.

    Just have a look at Europe – petrol stations are indeed being bypassed as new EV charging roadhouses open up with cafes + meal options for drivers to refresh while they wait.

    Most charging of EVs will be done at homes anyway, reducing the overall need for these things known as petrol stations. Yes, travellers and people in apartments will need fast-charging facilities but the disruption is coming and petrol stations will reduce greatly even if they become EV charging locations.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:44 am 07 Dec 21

    It makes sense to provide EV fast-charging facilities at existing service stations initially however there will be limits depending on the existing electricity available and the ability for existing grid infrastructure to support the additional requirements.

    Maybe it would be better if stand alone EV charging stations could be established on major roads between regional centres to facilitate recharging for the long distance and interstate trips that we all have to make. The costs involved to expand and re-configure the grid will be huge and to fund this there should be a levy imposed on all electricity sold to EVs. We have such a levy on fossil fuels at present.

    chewy14 chewy14 8:30 am 07 Dec 21

    Capital Retro,
    There’s no need to place a special “levy” on electricity used by EV’s at charging stations, the users will already be paying a usage charge the same as current ICE vehicles.

    Fast charging stations already have a higher per unit charge to reflect the higher imposts they place upon the electricity grid. User pays and let the market do its thing.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:05 am 07 Dec 21

    What a hypocrite you are chewy14. If the market was left to do its thing and the user paid there would have been no renewable electricity industry because the massive subsidies (that are ongoing) would not have happened.

    And if you think ICE powered cars are going away think again because the OPEC countries still have plenty of scope to compete.

    chewy14 chewy14 1:30 pm 07 Dec 21

    Capital Retro,
    What are you on about now?

    I’m against subsidies where they aren’t needed or make no long term economic sense.

    That goes for everything, so I don’t know how you think I’m a hypocrite. You on the other hand want to constantly bleat about renewable subsidies whilst ignoring or supporting fossil fuel subsidies that exist both now and in the past.

    And the idea that without subsidies there would be no renewable energy industry is laughable. Particularly now that renewable energy sources are cheaper than their fossil fuel counterparts.

    By your argument, the fossil fuel industry would also never have existed without the huge government subsidies that were given and continue to be given to industries in that space.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:07 pm 07 Dec 21

    “I’m against subsidies where they aren’t needed or make no long term economic sense.”

    According to you, that is because that’s your pre-determined belief. Bugger everyone else.

    chewy14 chewy14 7:15 am 08 Dec 21

    “According to you, that is because that’s your pre-determined belief. Bugger everyone else”

    Comprehension isn’t your strong point, is it.

    I’m against subsidies because the evidence shows they too often distort the market significantly leading to inefficient outcomes that benefit no one except rent seekers and industry hangers on no matter what industry we are talking about.

    But if you want to provide evidence that subsidies in general work well and provide good long term benefits, I’m willing to reconsider.

    Perhaps you should use the fossil fuel subsidies you support as an example as to why subsidies are good.

    Daniel Tubby Daniel Tubby 3:21 am 07 Dec 21

    You speak like someone who has never driven an electric car but somehow has an opinion on the charging. You realise it takes like 15 min to charge?

    Road trips are the best thing about owning my Tesla. I’ve done 18000kms since May. Because road trips are so easy and cheap. A trip from Wollongong to Gold Coast recently took less than 11 hours. Google maps says 10 hours.

    I would pull over. Go to the toilet. Grab a coffee. Before I’ve got the coffee my car would say we’re good to go. Then I would stop for lunch for like 30 mins which would completely fill the car up. So then I’d drive about 4 hours to the destination without stopping.

    I can tell you I never want to road trip in an ICE vehicle ever again. Now my mum and sister borrow my car to travel between Canberra and Wollongong because it costs $70 return in their small ICE vehicle. And $5 in the Tesla.

    jwinston jwinston 2:02 pm 07 Dec 21

    According to literature I’ve read electric vehicle charging stations take about 20 minutes to charge to 50%, 40 minutes to charge to 80%, and 75 minutes to 100% on the original 85 kWh for the Tesla model S.

    Harv Harv 8:59 am 07 Dec 21

    I drove from Canberra to Coolangatta around Sydney because of covid (so via Mudgee) and didn’t have any problems with infrastructure or delays. My car charge would be complete before I’d finished my coffee or lunch. Most charges took 15-20 minutes, or overnight at a motel. Same on the return trip, 2,800kms in total. You don’t need to hang around while it charges, you get on with your life. You should stop, revive survive every 2 hours anyway. I arrived feeling fresh thanks to the regular stops and reduced cabin noise. After 6 months owning an EV I’m never buying an ICE vehicle again, ridiculous contraptions.
    Open Plugshare.com and check out the charging network which is also growing all the time, it’s advanced heaps in the last couple of years which is why I took the plunge.

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