The South Australia Labor party has again waded in where the federal government appears loathe to tread, promising to waive stamp duty and five years’ worth of registration costs on new electric or zero-emission cars, if it is re-elected on March 17.
Under the incentives, announced on Friday, South Australians who bought a $40,000 electric vehicle would potentially save $2155 over five years in stamp duty and registration (see table below), the party said in a media release.
Added to the savings from avoided petrol costs, and from cheaper and less frequent servicing, the proposed policy offers consumers a significant incentive to go electric, just as the local market for mid-range EVs is set – finally – to start to grow.
And the offer of such an incentive from a government of any kind will be music to the ears of Australia’s EV industry – which lags embarrassingly behind the rest of the world.
It will also be welcomed by any and all market watchers who consider the shift to zero emissions cars crucial to Australia’s efforts to meet its Paris climate targets.
Pollution from privately owned cars, alone, is estimated to contribute around 10 per cent to Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions profile.
In South Australia, where the electricity market has been radically decarbonised, emissions from cars are the largest single source of air pollution.
While in Adelaide, alone, emissions from transport contribute about 35 per cent of the state’s total emissions – 90 per cent of which comes from private passenger cars.
“Our natural environment is our state’s most important ongoing asset, and Labor is committed to protecting our ‘clean and green’ reputation so that South Australia remains a great place to live,” said SA climate and environment minister Ian Hunt.
“Driving an electric vehicle is a good environmental choice, and with Labor’s new incentives, it also makes good financial sense.
Minimising our pollution and greenhouse gas emissions is an environmental imperative. If we can encourage more South Australians to drive cars that have a low impact on our environment, our state will continue to be a world leader when it comes to taking strong steps to combat climate change and its impacts,” he said.
The policy proposal is just the latest in a series released by SA Labor this week, as it steps up its election campaigning and increases its bet on renewable energy and clean technology.
Among them, the Labor Party has promised to offer “interest free” loans to 10,000 households to install rooftop solar and battery storage; to set a 750MW energy storage target, and; to lift its 2025 renewables target from 50 per cent to 75 per cent.
On EVs, state climate and environment minister Ian Hunter said a re-elected Weatherill government would also “continue to lobby the federal government” to do its bit to push EV uptake, by removing tariff barriers that currently apply to electric and hydrogen-powered cars.
As we noted here earlier this week, the Turnbull government’s contribution to EV market growth has been minimal, so far – an effort Greens senator Janet Rice has described as “absolutely pathetic,” particularly in comparison to what other governments are doing in Europe and Asia.
“This announcement demonstrates South Australia’s leadership in shaping the future of Australian industry,” said Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari, in response to the policy announcement.
“Electric vehicles are the future of the transport industry and it’s clear … that the SA Labor government understands the opportunity that presents. By encouraging the initial market for electric vehicles, South Australia puts itself in the driver’s seat to attract investment and create new jobs.
“South Australians will see an immediate benefit in driving cars that are much cheaper to run, bringing down the cost of dropping the kids off at school and getting to work. This is a wakeup call for all governments across Australia – it’s time to take meaningful action on electric vehicles,” Jafari said.
The federal Coalition has, however – through its Australian Renewable Energy Agency – recently backed a program called Charge Together, designed by local start-up EVenergi.
The program would used a social media and marketing campaign to identify prospective EV buyers, and use consumer research to help understand where the Australian market is going wrong on electric vehicle uptake.
EVenergi would then use this data to build a mobile app and online platform to help consumers to model the influence of rooftop solar, home batteries and electricity tariffs on a decision to buy EVs.
The idea is to optimise the buying and owning an electrical vehicle by giving customers access to significant discounts on selected EV related products and services, and by incentivising them to charge in ways that could help reduce strain on the electricity grid.