18 July 2022

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

| Lottie Twyford
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Tesla by the lake

EVs all the way: the ACT Government will set an ambitious target of banning new petrol light vehicles from 2035. Photo: James Coleman.

The Territory Government intends to ban the purchase of new fossil fuel vehicles from 2035 as it announces updated electric vehicle (EV) sales targets.

By 2030, the government wants 80 to 90 per cent of new light vehicles sold to be zero-emission models, with a stricter ban expected to come into force half a decade later.

Minister for Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said the phase-out of internal combustion engine cars would first apply to new light vehicles, including passenger cars, motorcycles and small trucks.

But the finer details of that ban, including whether it will apply to cars being purchased interstate and established in the ACT, are yet to be finalised.

The exact legislative mechanism by which the ban will come into effect will also be worked out in the coming years, Mr Rattenbury said, but the government’s ambitions are now clear.

“Our intent is that from 2035, you will not be able to put a new [petrol light vehicle] on the road,” he explained.

“But the government does not intend to take your car off the road if you’re driving around in an all-petrol vehicle at the start of the year.”

Shane Rattenbury

Minister for Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury says it’s important the community is given time to prepare for major changes such as these. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

The Emissions Reduction Minister believed it was important to make such an announcement early enough to give the community time to prepare.

“We’re trying to signal where we are going very early so that people have a clear understanding of where the future lies,” Mr Rattenbury said.

He noted the Territory was not alone in intending to move away from petrol cars and new models would become increasingly scarce on the market. Several global car manufacturers have already announced their intention to stop producing petrol cars.

The UK government has plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, with hybrids to follow five years later while the European Union earlier this year agreed to draft legislation that would ban the sale of new fossil fuel cars by the year 2035.

Mr Rattenbury said the ACT Government will work alongside interstate governments and the Commonwealth to implement the technical elements of the phase-out.

READ ALSO Let’s get real: how easy is it to drive an EV from Canberra to Sydney?

The complete ACT Zero Emissions Vehicles Strategy 2022-2030 will be released later this week.

That strategy will address what the government has identified as the four key barriers to electric vehicle take-up: affordability, infrastructure/range anxiety, availability and supportive government processes.

The ACT Government has gone out to tender for a $1.9 million roll-out of 50 government-funded electric vehicle charging points. Mr Rattenbury said these locations would be finalised in the coming weeks.

The government estimates up to 1000 public EV chargers will be needed by 2030.

It expects the private sector to deliver the majority of these.

READ ALSO Greens pop government’s tyres over active travel budget that ‘doesn’t add up’

According to the Electric Vehicle Council, electric vehicle take-up in the Territory is happening faster than in the rest of the country.

Sales tripled in the Territory in the last calendar year and EVs made up 5 per cent of all cars purchased.

The ACT offers up to $15,000 in an interest-free loan for people who purchase an electric vehicle, along with incentives including free registration for a period of time.

Mr Rattenbury said the next swathe of affordability initiatives would likely encourage the uptake of second-hand electric vehicles.

Federal Labor made a $200 million election commitment to exempt EVs from import tariffs and fringe benefits taxes to make them more affordable.

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EVs would need to halve in price between now and then, which I don’t see happening. While I’m sure some people are fine with paying $100k for a car, a lot of others want something under $30k. The only option that might come close is the Chinese branded cars, and I’ll hard pass on those.

So there’s those of us who can’t afford an EV, won’t have access to public transport (because at this rate it will take 3 hours to get from Belconnen to Woden), and can’t walk/ride the 40km each way on a daily basis. What are our options, has permanent WFH been considered?

Also no mention of what happens to all the mechanics working in the ACT. By 2040-45 they’ll all be out of a job.

I know the solution, if the governments get everyone to use/buy Ev’s, then they can charge us extra for electricity??? Easier still, why not install ‘pillars over the major roads’ as a number plate recognition system, to charge the citizens an extra slug by charging them to actual use the roads; oh, they have speed bumps in Southern Canberra while here in Northern Canberra we have ‘inverted’ speed bumps (potholes) Gota love them how they reduce speed on our streets

Go woke go broke.

The major problem with EVs anywhere in Australia is they do not make enough noise so the entire community is aware of the drivers presence and importance.

I have a ZB commodore. 4 cyl turbo. If I pay $500 per year in carbon offset, it is a zero emission vehicle, just like the way the ACT is a zero emission city.

Capital Retro1:07 pm 20 Jul 22

Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy virtue (in the ACT).

The major reason for encouraging electric vehicles is to improve air quality where humans breathe, not primarily for greenhouse gas abatement.

So what the government is saying is they do not believe electric vehicles will be at the price or performance levels to out compete petrol cars in 13 years. If they were, there would be no reason to ban them.

John Haynes you seem to have missed the memo that the government is following the manufacturers, not leading. Some say this is pointless, which has a point though I think the reaction has more to do with how backward has been thinking in this country for over a decade

Yet another stupid idea by the horrible incompetent ACT Govt.

Capital Retro10:01 am 20 Jul 22

Those two silver gulls on the Tesla in the image appear to be considering purchasing an EV as one is about to put a deposit on it.

Capacity to supply sufficient electricity to power all of our EVs is a big hurdle, but that issue aside, the question of affordability is still unknown. Currently, EVs are – say about $20,000 more expensive to purchase than an ICE car.

By 2035, when most manufacturers will have ceased making ICE’s and Mr Rattenbury’s ban will come into place, will an EV be any more affordable than they are today?

The attached article is about the large increase in the cost of Lithium. Unless batteries can be manufactured from a cheap and plentiful element, increasing demand worldwide could push the cost of EVs car beyond the reach for many.


Capital Retro4:12 pm 19 Jul 22

Not content with all the EV concessions and subsidies this virtual signaling government is handing out, the Adelaide Avenue T2/Bus Lane which was established to provide priority to public transport and vehicles with passengers, is now open for “emission free vehicles.”

It’s time a truckload of men in white coats paid a visit to London Circuit.

A Nonny Mouse8:31 am 20 Jul 22

That policy has been in place for several years already without the sky falling. It has a sunset clause. Once EVs get to such numbers that they would interfere with the function of the transit lane, the concession ends.

Capital Retro9:47 am 20 Jul 22

Hello? The point you have missed is that the minimum number of people able to use the T2 lane in a non-emission free vehicle is two but only one in the emission free one. The creation of the T2 lane was all about moving people, not giving special rights to elitist EV owners.

Picking a manufacturer alphabetically, I observed that they have announced ceasing design of new passenger internal combustion engines, will launch only EVs new from 2026, and cease all production of ICE from 2033.

People blither about 2035, thirteen years away, as if they will have a choice in the new car market. They will not. Second hand, no worries for now.

Regulation in the ACT is merely a signal to a recalcitrant local populace, Australia being so far behind. Toyota and VW Group have not shifted their boardroom decisions based on a newsflash from Mr Rattenbury, (nor will based on spluttering in the Riotact).

It’s already in train. Maybe hydrogen fuel will win out, or the market will split by needs. It does not matter, because it will not be petroleum-based ICE.

This is the point though, if the market will mean there won’t be any ICE vehicles available, the ban isn’t necessary. Why bother creating such a negative sentiment, outright bans are hopelessly blunt and not needed.

There is no logical reason for the ACT Government to go down this path, all it will do is harden opposition and is easy to be picked apart because EV’s will not be suitable for every application, even in 13 years. And as they can’t remotely impact the national market, it will need Federal action anyway.

The ACT Government has far bigger problems than worrying about this type of silly and counter-productive move.

In what respect is it counter-productive? Harden opposition from The Opposed? Change in thinking takes times so it is invariably better to start sooner than later. In fact, in what respect will it cost our government anything but the cost of press releases and a bit of chat with the Feds? You just argued that yourself. Are you telling us that informing people about their likely future, starting their accommodation to change, is unhelpful?
I get it that you dislike even the fact of a local government but your reflexive comment lacks a logical reason for its path and will not affect anything anyway.

It is counter productive for a number of reasons.

Firstly, simply perception. The government is claiming that EV’s will become cheaper and better than our current vehicles. If they actually believed that, the ban is pointless.

But what it does do is give people like CR extra ammunition around forcing an outcome that won’t be superior to our current choices. It actually hardens the opposition against EV’s, so it doesn’t begin the process of changing thinking, it actually regresses where we currently are.

Secondly, in reality there are significant challenges in the transition to non ICE vehicles and we don’t currently have solutions or even well thought out transition plans for some of them. So the government is setting itself up for failure in an unknown future by locking in an artificial end date.

And due to the above, there’s no real considered analysis of the optimal transition balancing what citizens and consumers need, the economics, the infrastructure requirements, nor the overall environmental outcomes. It’s perfectly reasonable to actually think there may be niche markets for passenger ICE vehicles in the future, albeit more expensive ones.

And thirdly, this is an area that needs Federal government control and intervention, the local impacts are ineffectual and are almost guaranteed to be inefficient without that national backing.

The ACT Government shoots themselves in the foot time and time again in these areas and we end up paying more because of it.

You have my position the wrong way around, my dislike of the ACT Government in these areas is driven by their inept performance in enacting policies like this rather than the other way around.

This is over a decade away, and I think you are going to be hard pressed to find a car manufacturer interested in making petrol cars at that time. Europe has taken the hint.

So should we.

Capital Retro2:33 pm 19 Jul 22

Neither Europe or Japan are oil producers. Whatever Australia (or the ACT) do doesn’t even cause a ripple.

If you think OPEC is going to let EVs tale over the global road vehicle manufacturing market, think again.

David Quagmire3:51 pm 19 Jul 22

Norway is a significant oil producer, and ~80% of new cars sold there are electric (BEV), with another ~10% PHEV. So, what is your point exactly?

Capital Retro4:18 pm 19 Jul 22

No, it’s not a significant oil producer and it not a member of the EU or OPEC.

“If you think OPEC is going to let EVs tale over the global road vehicle manufacturing market, think again.”

… and just how are OPEC going to stop vehicle manufacturers from producing Evs, Capital Retro? A number of car manufacturers have already signalled their intention to cease producing ICE vehicles.

Perhaps just once, you could surprise us and provide some evidence to support your unfounded statements. You can spruik your denialism as much as you like, it just has you slinking further away from reality.

David Quagmire4:52 pm 19 Jul 22

Capital Retro – Norway is the #13 producer of oil. Australia is #31. So what is your point exactly?

Norway is not a member of the EU or OPEC. Correct. Is Australia? So again, what is your point exactly?

What, in either of these assertions, would prevent Australia from achieving high EV sales if Norway has already done so?

Capital Retro5:38 pm 19 Jul 22

OPEC will increase production and that will lower the price of fuel. I know that is a hard concept for you to grasp.

Capital Retro6:33 pm 19 Jul 22

We can be like Norway too, if we throw a lot of money at EVs like they do.

We are getting like Norway in other ways. Have you noticed how cold it is getting here in the past couple of years? Seems like we already have the right emission plan so we really don’t need massively taxpayer subsidised EVs to save us anymore.

My point about OPEC which you don’t seem to understand is that OPEC represents countries whose main income is derived from oil and derivative products and they are not going to risk losing that hence they will increase production and flood the world with cheap fuel when the time is right. That timing will wipe out EV production overnight.

Also note that Norway is making heaps by still selling evil oil and gas at inflated prices on one hand and being EV virtuous on the other.

Yeah right, Capital Retro – and eventually only dinosaurs like you will have a 30yo ICE vehicle to fill up. The rest of us will have moved to the high production volume, cheaper EVs

Dribble dribble dribble – then rinse and repeat. That’s your mantra right?

To flood the market to the magnitude needed to ‘wipe out EV production overnight’ would also overnight wipe out the profitability of a large majority of OPEC production as well. When the end is nigh, that is not something those countries can afford to maintain for any period bar the relative briefest of periods.

Whether you like it or not, the end of oil as the dominant fuel for vehicles has already been determined. It is simply now a question of when, not if.

Capital Retro9:59 am 20 Jul 22

Well, consider that oil producing countries have massive untapped reserves and the capacity to refine and store fuel at a moments notice.

Conversely, there is now not enough lithium and other metals necessary to build EVs and the batteries needed to store renewables so EV “mass production” will never happen and even if it did there will not be enough power from renewables to charge them. This in turn will prevent them being a cheaper price than they are now.

And so what if I dribble – it’s part of the ageing process. Your turn will come.

Capital Retro10:47 am 20 Jul 22

Do your call your great-grandparents dinosaurs too?

“Do your call your great-grandparents dinosaurs too?” Ummm, no, Capital Retro. Next question? Do you actually have a a cogent point to make or are you just generating methane emissions?

Capital Retro7:15 am 21 Jul 22

The question was about “respect”, not emissions. But I don’t expect your emission obsessed generation knows what respect means.

@Capital Retro

Interesting you, of all people, mention respect when you regularly demean those whose opinion doesn’t accord with yours. Nevertheless, respect is earnt not demanded.

And as usual you make unfounded assumptions to support your non-argument. As I have regularly said on here, I am a former IT contractor. I guess I credited you with a modicum of deductive powers – but I see unless its drawn as a picture for you you don’t get it – I’m retired. So where does that put me in your categorisation of generational climate change non-denialists?

Perhaps you should turn on your wireless and catch up on the election that was held earlier this year – the anti-climate action forces were soundly defeated. Not everyone who thinks you are out of touch with reality is a child of the 21st Century.

Capital Retro2:03 pm 23 Jul 22

I took your advice and turned on the wireless. I have been listening to Classic FM and enjoying all the classical music. I guess you hate that too?

Speaking as an Electrical Engineer – the grid in its current state, can’t handle what would be a doubling if load if everyone had an EV. Batteries on homes might help a bit, but not a lot.
From a scientific point of view, science does not support run away man made climate change , which is the driver behind EVs
I love the sound of a well tuned high performance engine, EVs sound like a dull sewing machine. Hey if that does it for you, great. But the govt is basically forcing people to not have a fossil fuels car, based on no science. Sounds more like a green dictatorship…..

HiddenDragon7:39 pm 18 Jul 22

Christian Greten at 6.00pm makes a good point – there will eventually need to be a road user charge to replace the billions in revenue which the federal government currently collects from fuel excise.

With our new federal treasurer busily pumping up the fiscal fear and loathing to 11 on the Richter Scale, there is no way that the federal budget could afford to let the fuel excise revenue wither away with the transition to EVs, and still maintain federal funding to states and territories for roads. Anyone contemplating the purchase of an EV on a tight budget, and counting on (currently) much lower running costs, will need to factor in the introduction of an appreciable and steadily rising road user charge.

Scott Anthony7:03 pm 18 Jul 22

IF.. Foreign electric car manufacturers have available stocks and a commercially viable price and support and spare parts networks are established then this has a chance of becoming a reality, but its highly dependent on Billions of investment dollars being made by private firms which may or may not be viable by this short time frame. These EVs will not alter the climate of the world by the way, they are far too dependent on heavy mining and rare minerals in their manufacture, mostly from China.. Petrol and Diesel will still be around for decades to come yet and usually when a small government tries to force a commercial reality onto the people they either get voted out or delay their deadlines with the stroke of a pen.. Right now this minute EVs are not commercially viable compared to regular cars for the average motorist.. thats a fact,.. it may change, it may not, we may have a major war with a superpower and have bigger problems to deal with too… no one has a crystal ball.

Loinel Mudflap6:51 pm 18 Jul 22

We are heading this way anyway. Just a PR stunt to keep people thinking the Greens are relevant and progressive.

Tom Worthington5:13 pm 18 Jul 22

If the popularity of electric vehicles continues, and costs decrease as they have with solar panels, then a ban will not be needed. Buying a fossil fuel car will be like buying a non-smart phone: a quirky choice for a few people.

Capital Retro5:03 pm 18 Jul 22

Will they be limited to 40 kmh too?

Go and immerse yourself in Sydney peak hour traffic and you’ll soon realise how beneficial electric vehicles will be despite a potential battery recycling problem in the early phase which will be sorted out given demand. Bring on EV’s!!!

All those residents in Oaks Estate – start saving now

Grahame Ginn4:29 pm 18 Jul 22

Yes, but NSW needs to come to the party as well. Canberrans who wish to persist with ICE vehicles will simply buy their car (possibly online by then, given the trend) in NSW ( Queanbeyan, Yass, Goulburn etc).
To counter this, I wonder if the ACT Government will apply this ban to all new ACT registrations and then, what if a person already owns an older ICE vehicle and move to Canberra? Oh goodness, so many questions…?
While you are at it, ACT Government, how about doing, as Victoria is starting, and getting rid of noisy exhaust ICE vehicles.
But yes, a few of us have already applied ourselves and have an EV. Could never, now, go back to those smelly, poisonous gas emitting ICE vehicles. We use our EB in town and for our touring adventures all over much of Eastern Oz.

We need to solve the problem of rapid charging first. If your on a long trip, you need to be able to recharge in the same time as filling up with petrol. Imagine Christmas and the number of cars you see at any servo between CANBERRA and Queensland. If it’s going to take hours to recharge, how is it going to be work?

For running around CANBERRA, no problem.

Grahame Ginn4:41 pm 18 Jul 22

We have an EV. Travelling to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane is taking us no longer than with previous ICE vehicle. We time our coffee/lunch/overnight stays, enroute, with recharging locations. Car has a real world range of nearly 500km and rarely do more than 700-800km in a day on our trips and the car recharges from, say, 30% to 100% in about 35-40 minutes.

A Nonny Mouse8:29 am 20 Jul 22

The quickest way to do a long trip beyond the nominal range of an EV is to do a short partial charges during the toilet/coffee/meal breaks that you would have had every few 100km anyway. That way, charging adds no extra time to a trip. You start with a 100% charge from overnight and could easily have the equivalent of running to zero and back to 100% a couple of times but actually never charge to 100% or run all the way to zero.

This Government led by Mr Rattenbury has been at war with car owners for years.

Whilst I’m a supporter of increased EV use over time, this is just another really stupid move by our local council.

This is clearly an area that should be managed at a federal level and bans are not the way to enact the changes, which need to consider the needs of consumers (and taxpayers) at the forefront of any policy direction.

If Rattenbury actually believed his statements, the government wouldn’t have to act this strongly because the market would do it for him.

Excellent, smart move by the government. Now we need some more steps. Things like: In 2040 no sales of secondhand ICE vehicles in ACT; no registration of ICE vehicles in ACT; and all fuel/energy service stations to have an equal number of fossil and alternative energy outlets. People then face 18 years to sort themselves and their road transport assets out. Plenty of time. By then a far greater range of EVs or other non-ICE vehicles will be on the road and prices will span the range. Furthermore, there will be a secondhand fleet. By 2050 everyone will wonder what all the fuss was about.

Well its my opinion – because we don’t measure the C02 cost in producing EV’s, nor do we count the cost of recharging, nor the CO2 cost of recharging infrastructure – we called them Zero Emissions!

In my view now and for the nest 15 years – The electric vehicle in Australia has and will have a larger C02 footprint then a petrol car. Can’t tell the greens this as they would have trouble adding numbers together. Check the link and see why we all deserve a good slap!


Another reason to get out of the utopian ‘island’ that is ACT, ignorantly and naively making legislation without thinking through the implications … but they don’t care.
Hopefully green’s voters will wake up and smell the fumes before it’s too late.
They keep comparing us with Europe, and UK, without realising Australia (let alone the ACT) is rather different in so many ways (just look at the lousy public transport system they’ve given the whole of Canberra in their latest tram-driven ‘active-travel’ changes – I keep telling my 80+ year friends that I’m sure they can make it to the bus stop with their walker, it’ll just take them several hours).
(Wonder what the 4WD / recreational vehicle users will think of charging their cars in the wilderness?).

“Charging in the wilderness”, like now the pull up to a tree and fill up? Nonsense.

Has anyone seen an EV drive through windshield deep water pulling a heavy trailer across a river?

Of course not. EVs are urban feel good toys. This is pure leftie Greenie weenie social engineering.

The ACT is Disneyland, not the real world…..

Hold on a minute, the Dept of Infrastructure sets regulations on vehicle emissions, not the little Territory government.

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