Queensland’s Transport Minister says Victoria and South Australia have “got the timing wrong” on introducing a tax on electric vehicles, while ruling out a similar scheme in Queensland in the short term.
The SA and Victorian governments have recently announced they will put a levy on electric vehicles, prompting strong criticism not only from the EV sector but also from environmental and renewable energy experts.
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey spoke to Brisbane Times ahead of the launch of an EV charging station at Skygate shopping centre near Brisbane Airport on Friday.
He said he thought the southern states had jumped the gun on introducing a levy on the electric vehicle sector, which needed to reach critical mass before it had a handbrake put on it by government fees.
“There’s nothing wrong with the idea necessarily, but the timing is the issue,” Mr Bailey said.
“The trouble is it sends the wrong signals to the market. You need electric vehicles to get enough momentum that their take-up won’t be slowed down by any extra levies.”
Mr Bailey said charges such as the ones in SA and Victoria were “inevitable” in the long term as the EV sector grew, but reiterated Queensland had no plans to introduce similar policies in the short term.
In Victoria motorists will be charged 2.5 cents a kilometre for electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles will be charged at 2 cents per kilometre, while South Australia has not finalised its tax but was likely to charge a similar rate.
Queensland, by contrast, has been backing electric vehicles directly with the establishment of an “electric highway” of fast-charging stations along the length of the coast, and supporting the rollout of other charging stations around the state.
Mr Bailey attended the official opening of four new EV chargers in the car park of Skygate shopping centre.
The chargers are operated by Evie Networks, whose chairman Trevor St Baker said they were doing their part to push the sector towards its critical mass.
In Evie’s case, they lease a fleet of cars on an individual basis to ride-share drivers, and Mr St Baker said while the DFO chargers were able to be used by anyone with an electric vehicle, their placement near the airport was designed to help ride-sharing drivers top up their cars on the way to pick up passengers.
“We’re doing the thing that EV uptake is waiting for – EV uptake won’t happen until people say ‘where are the service stations?’ Mr St Baker said.
“But even then people aren’t going to use charging stations initially because they’ll be charging at home. So we have set up the Evie car leasing business at the same time, because the one group who have to charge all the time are ride-share drivers.”
The chargers are rated at 50kW, which equates to 50km of range added to the vehicle’s battery for every 10 minutes they are plugged in.
Queensland is also rolling out the second phase of its electric highway, with new charging stations being added along the length from Coolangatta to Cairns and out to Toowoomba.
Two new charging points also opened on Friday at Ikea at Logan and at Mango Hill.
The Evie chargers are not directly part of the electric highway, but the addition of independent charging points at fuel stations and in public carparks is considered vital but the government and experts in encouraging electric car takeup.
“So we’re seeing electric vehicle infrastructure go in, which is really important because what we need is for the transport industry to transition to cleaner energy,” Ms Bailey said.
Extracted from The Sydney Morning Herald