Free rego and $15,000 loans: How to encourage electric vehicle ownership
Jaguar recently announced that it will no longer manufacture petrol or diesel vehicles from 2025 but will focus exclusively on its range of electric vehicles.
Since the cheapest Jaguar currently starts at around $60,000, and you can pay over $300,000 for a top-of-the-range model, this might not seem like headline news. Barring an unlikely lottery win, most of us are never going to buy a brand-new Jag no matter what fuel it runs on.
But it draws attention to something that governments around the world need to think about as we travel down the road of the electric vehicle revolution: The upfront purchase price of electric vehicles risks locking out the very people – those on low incomes – who would benefit the most from their cheap running costs. This is especially so in Australia, where the Federal Government’s failure on electric vehicle policies has left us at the back of the pack, with a poorly developed electric vehicle market.
Governments need to recognise this problem of electric vehicle equity and take steps to make electric vehicles more accessible to more people.
In the ACT, we’ve announced $15,000 interest-free loans for electric vehicle purchases, zero stamp duty, and two years of free registration for people newly registering an electric vehicle, whether it’s a new vehicle of second hand. The free rego offer started this month, on May 24.
Ensuring second-hand electric vehicles are also eligible is particularly important. Not only will these incentives help get more electric vehicles on the road to replace petrol cars, they also ensure it’s not just buyers of brand-new cars who benefit from the incentives.
With the ACT government fleet of vehicles on a speedy transition to being all-electric (it will be 50 per cent of the way there by the middle of this year), as well as other major corporate fleets going all-electric, second-hand electric vehicles will soon be a lot more widespread, making cheaper vehicles available to more people.
While it is still common for people to think of electric vehicles as fancy, expensive vehicles out of reach for most people, that reality is quickly changing. If you have a government with good incentives, your future electric vehicle could in fact be a second-hand, ex-government fleet vehicle, for which you can also receive a $15,000 interest-free loan, and two years of free rego. That is a very different price equation than having to fork out for a new Tesla.
Getting over the hurdle of the upfront cost is very important, because once you get over that, the decision is easy – the running costs of electric vehicles are significantly cheaper than petrol or diesel vehicles. A recent comparison of four ACT government vehicles – two electric vehicles, two petrol – showed the electric vehicles saved about $1800 a vehicle in running and maintenance costs over an 18-month period.
That is why it would make sense to provide consumers with information about the total cost of ownership when they buy a car. Like an energy star rating on a new fridge, or price-per-kilogram information on supermarket shelves, information regarding the total cost of ownership would help consumers get a clearer picture of the real cost of buying and running a particular vehicle over its total expected lifespan.
The transition to zero-emissions vehicles is critical for addressing climate change and we need to get it right. By introducing our electric vehicle policy incentives in the ACT, we’re aiming to accelerate the virtuous circle where the more electric vehicles are sold, the faster the price will drop and the more used vehicles will be available in later years. Everyone in Australia would benefit from policies like these.
As this happens, electric vehicles will be an even clearer choice for the new buyer, and parity pricing between electric vehicles and petrol and diesel cars should be only a few years away. Cleaner air and quieter streets for all of us to enjoy is closer than you might realise.
Extracted from Brisbane Times