Status check for electric vehicles in Australia

by Petrol Mum

Electric Vehicles sales are on the rise in Australia, as more and more Australians seek the benefits of using Electric Vehicles (EVs) over petrol driven cars, especially amid rising inflation and fuel prices. Though becoming more popular, EV/PHEV sales comprise only 2.4% of all new Passenger, SUV, Light Commercial vehicle registrations in Australia for the first half of 2022.

The 2022 JAX Tyre & Auto Road Safety Report interestingly revealed that fuel efficiency appears to be a primary a concern of the younger generations, with 8% of Gen Z drivers saying this is the biggest concern when driving, compared to 1% of people aged 65+.

The latest State of Electric Vehicles report released by the Electric Vehicle Council notes demand for EVs in Australia is now drastically outstripping supply due to Australia still being perceived by global carmakers as an unattractive market. While consumer demand for EVs is surging, many Australians who want to purchase an electric car are being told they may have to wait many months, or even years.

Demonstrating this recently, Lloyds Auctions were auctioning second-hand Tesla’s for higher prices at auction than their original retail price, highlighting that the demand in electric vehicles is reflecting the same upward pressures in pricing that its fossil fuel cousins are experiencing. The additional pressure of high petrol prices is also having a major impact on resale pricing.

Plenti has commissioned a report, prepared by Accenture, looking at the cost- competitiveness of EVs over internal combustion vehicles. The report found EVs are now cost-competitive with internal combustion vehicles over 15 years’ ownership when charged with grid power, and are significantly cheaper when coupled with home solar-battery systems. It is worth noting though that vehicle manufacturers only offer an 8-10-year battery warranty for EV owners.

As Australians increasingly turn to electric vehicles for their next car purchase, many may be wondering what incentives are offered in their state or territory. Savvy, one of Australia’s largest online financial brokers, focusing on personal and commercial financial products, has analysed the latest findings to provide a breakdown of what governments are doing to encourage greater EV uptake. 

Each incentive is structured differently. Some are direct incentives such as loan discounts, while other are indirect incentives such as tax breaks and other savings. If you’re thinking of making the switch to an EV, here are the incentives available for a $50,000 EV in the various Australian states and territories.

Broken Hill EV charger

Western Australia EV Incentives

Western Australia announced 10,000 rebates of $3,500 would be available for electric and hydrogen vehicles priced below $70,000.

It is not offering tax breaks or registration discounts. It will impose a 2.5c/km EV road user charge and 2c/km Hybrid Electric Vehicle charge from 1st of July 2027. It will be pegged to rise with inflation.

The WA Government says that it will introduce plans for an EV charging network from Kununurra in the north, down the coastline to Perth and towards Esperance in the South. It also plans to introduce EV charging to Kalgoorlie.

Northern Territory EV Incentives

The Northern Territory has no direct incentives for residents buying EVs. However, it will discount stamp duty on all EV sales by $1,500 between July 2022 and July 2027. EV owners can also take advantage of free registration of EVs from July 2022 to July 2027.

The government is planning a grants program to introduce electric charging from now until 2026, with at least 400 EV charging stations being installed around NT Government buildings.

Queensland EV Incentives

Queenslanders can get a bit of a bargain when it comes to EVs, as the government is offering a $3,000 EV rebate for all electric vehicles under the price of $58,000.

Hybrid Electric (HEV) and EVs pay lower stamp duty than petrol driven cars – EVs worth $100,000 pay a 2% duty while those over $100K pay 4%. Their petrol or diesel (or steam!) counterparts pay between 3% and 6%. The government has also no plans to introduce a road user charge.

The government is installing 18 new fast charges to inland areas to bolster the already coastal “Queensland Electric Super Highway.” They’re planned for Charleville, Longreach, and Mt. Isa, among other regional hubs.

New South Wales EV Incentives

New South Wales has some of the country’s most comprehensive EV incentives, including a $3,000 rebate for the first 25,000 EVs priced under $68,750 sold after September 2021.

The Government will waive stamp duty (around $1,500) for EVs that cost $78,000 to buy, with all other EVs and plug-in hybrids being exempt from 1st July 2027 or when EVs make up at least 30% of new car sales.

However, this comes with a road user charge. 2.5c/km for EVs and 2c/km for HEVs from 2027, or when electric vehicles reach 30% of new car sales.

The government also is investing $171 million in a state-wide charging network.

Australian Capital Territory Incentives

ACT is an outlier among the states and territories, offering interest free loans up to $15,000 to purchase EVs.

They are also waiving stamp duty for all vehicles that emit less than 130g CO2/km (which includes petrol vehicles, if applicable.) One can save $400 on a $40,000 emissions efficient car – up to $5,100 on a $100,000 SUV, for example.

ACT drivers will also enjoy two years of free registration for EVs purchased until 30 June 2024, as well as a 20% ongoing discount to annual registration fees for EVs purchased before 1st of May 2021.

The government is investing in 50 public charging stations by mid-way through 2022, and another 50 after that.

Victoria EV Incentives

The Victorian State Government is offering a $3,000 rebate for EVs priced below $68,740 (excluding stamp duty, registration, and CTP) for 4,000 vehicles in the first round of subsidies, with 20,000 subsidies planned in total.

Luxury low-emission vehicles, which include electric and hybrids, are exempt from the Victorian luxury duty: $1,000 on a $100,000 car, $4,200 for a $150,000 car, $9,600 on a $200,000 car and $14,400 on a $300,000 car.

EV drivers also receive a $100 annual rego discount. However, they will be charged 2.5c/km for EVs and 2c/km for HEVs from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022. They will be indexed annually.

The Government will spend $19 million to speed up the rollout of EV charging infrastructure across regional areas.

South Australia EV Incentives

South Australia is giving EV buyers a $3,000 rebate for the first 7,000 EVs priced under $68,750 sold from October 28th, 2021.

There are no tax breaks on offer, but there is a three-year rego exemption for new battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles registered until June 30th, 2025.

They are imposing a 2.5c/km charge for EVs and 2c/km for PHEVs by 1 July, 2027 or when EVs make up 30 percent of sales.

The government is offering a $2,000 subsidy for installation of smart chargers in up to 7,500 households, as well as a state-wide charging network planned by 2025.

Tasmania EV Incentives

Tasmania isn’t offering any EV rebates, but it will waive the usual 4% stamp duty on all EV until the 1st of July 2023. For a $50,000 EV, this could represent a saving of $2,000.

There are no rego discounts unless you rent cars out – then you get two years of free registration.

The government isn’t imposing a road user charge. It is giving away up to $600,000 in grants to install chargers as part of their ChargeSmart program – up to $2,500 in grants for AC destination chargers and up to $50,000 grants for DC fast chargers.

Electric Vehicle Charging in Australia

Electric vehicles – such as fully electric or Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicles (HEV) – require electric power from the grid to run (although not fully for Hybrids, which run on a mix of electric and petrol.) EVs require DC power – which is either supplied at a charging station direct or converted from AC to DC by the car’s internal converter. DC charging is the fastest way to charge an electric vehicle.

AC public charging stations fall into the range of about 7kW to 40kW and are usually referred to as “destination charging” stations, allowing cars to be recharged overnight. The cars themselves may only get a fraction of that throughput after the conversion. DC charging stations are much quicker in comparison and designed for immediate top-ups. There are two types of DC public charging stations – above 50kW fast charging and below 50kw regular charging.

Savvy have looked into the current state of EV charging in Australia and found that as of January 2022, there are 293 fast charging locations around Australia and this represents an increase of 85% since August 2020 (157). As of January 2022, there are 1,580 regular charging stations in Australia and this represents an increase of 29% since August 2020 (1219.) The most chargers are located in NSW with Victoria second on the list.

PlugShare allows users to find charging stations in Australia and worldwide, map new ones and share their EV activity with other enthusiasts. Google has already rolled out an EV charging station finder in the United Kingdom and United States, with countries such as Australia and New Zealand to follow.

Electricity network management and EVs

A major challenge of managing an electricity network now and into the future is the high volumes of solar energy generated during the day and EVs can potentially play a role in soaking up this excess energy and improving the stability of the grid.

According to Jemena Networks Executive General Manager Shaun Reardon, electricity networks are working to prepare for increasing amounts of renewable energy coming into the grid, as well as a rapid influx of EVs.

“We’re doing this both to understand the impact of EV charging in absorbing surplus electricity and helping manage grid voltage, and to test what works in engaging with customers to make this happen,” said Mr Reardon.

Nissan Leaf vehicle to grid technology
The Nissan Leaf e+ already offers vehicle to grid technology.

Australia has the highest uptake of solar technology in the world, with about 30 per cent of homes having rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. This gives energy network operators two main technical issues with large amounts of solar coming into the grid during the day – voltage spikes and overloading substations.

“What we’re trying to see through this trial is how we can work with our customers to marry up the time they charge their EV, with a time when there’s a surplus of energy coming into the grid, and what the impact will be,” Mr Reardon said.

Jemena’s partners in the $3.4 million, 12 month trial, are Ausnet and United Energy in Victoria, TasNetworks in Tasmania, Evoenergy in the ACT and EV charging infrastructure company JetCharge. The trial is co-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) under the Advancing Renewables Program. In total, 123 Victorian, 22 Tasmanian and 22 ACT households have had smart chargers installed to participate in the trial. Findings from the trial will be shared with stakeholders including governments, the energy sector and the automotive sector once it has been completed.

It will include several ‘solar soak’ days, as well as trialling smart charger technology which enables a driver to plug their car in when convenient, but defers charging to when there’s more capacity in the network. ‘Solar soak’ events on forecast sunny days will be a key feature of the trial. During these events, participants will be notified ahead of time to have their cars plugged in during a day when there is an abundance of solar energy being exported into the grid, to better understand the impact of EV charging in absorbing surplus electricity and helping manage grid voltage.

Electric Trucks in Australia

Savvy’s examination of Electric Vehicle Council and Australian Trucking Association data finds that to meet the country’s CO2 emissions reduction targets and reach net-zero by 2050, Australia needs to electrify its national vehicle fleet. Considering that transport emissions account for 19% of the total, of which road freight comprises 38%, action taken in the next two decades to transition to Electric Trucks will have a significant impact on success. Trucks also consume 23% of all road transport fuel – despite only travelling 8% of all road vehicle kilometres and comprising 4% of the entire Australian road vehicle fleet.

Australia also has a fleet of aging trucks. The average age of a truck is between 10-15 years in Australia; in France it’s 9.3 years, Germany 9.5 years, and Austria 6.4 years. Australia uses about 500,000 rigid trucks and 100,000 articulated trucks with two thirds of freight in urban areas carried by rigid trucks, and two thirds of freight carried by articulated trucks in regional or non-urban regions. Rigid trucks are smaller and carry less freight; however, they should be first to transition toward electrification due to urban-specific needs. This transition aims to see a sales goal of seeing 30% of the national fleet comprising Electric Trucks by 2030 and 100% by 2040.

Electric Trucks represent a unique economic opportunity for trucking operators and the nation as a whole. As trucks are the primary freight method in Australia, reducing costs at the source will cascade into reduced costs at the point of wholesale and retail. Diesel fuel is the most significant cost for a trucking operator. On average, it represents 20% of short-haul operator costs and 35% of long-haul operator costs. If there is price volatility in the diesel market, this can inflate costs which must be passed on to business and consumers.

The infrastructure for Electric Trucks will need collaboration across the entire economy. The fleet operators will be the first to inspire change, as they will choose to purchase or lease zero emission vehicles. Australia is unique in how far apart our urban areas are – 870km lies between Melbourne and Sydney, for example – and electric charging stations would need to be installed at key destinations, hubs, and stops. As of writing, the Janus Electric truck conversion has the longest range of any legal and available truck in the Australian market at 400-500km.

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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