In Australia, the “electric car discount” policy was a labor electric promise. It aims to make EVs cheaper, especially for cars like Nissan Leaf by $2,000 for Australians. And further, it will be $9,000 cheaper for employers who run fleets.
Making EVs cheaper would be possible by exempting eligible low-emissions vehicles. The Coalition opposes the policy, which is estimated to cost the budget $4.5 billion over the decade to 2033, and the legislation has been stuck before the Senate due to a dispute with the crossbench over plug-in hybrids. Plug-in hybrids have more electric chargers and an internal combustion engine, making them not fully carbon-free.
According to the Greens and independent senator David Pocock, their inclusion in the scheme is effectively a new fossil-fuel subsidy, while Treasurer Jim Chalmers had insisted they be retained for people in regional areas to ease concerns about the range of low emissions cars. Under a compromise struck this week, plug-in hybrids will be phased out of the scheme by April 2025. The crossbench also expects the government to only buy internal combustion and plug-in hybrid cars for the Commonwealth’s large fleet in exceptional circumstances. “The government has worked in good faith with the crossbench on amendments,” Mr. Chalmers said. “These changes are a win for motorists, a win for business, and a win for climate action.”
As stated in the agreement, the tax office will also issue new guidance on when home charging infrastructure, which can cost thousands of dollars, can be claimed. “The government fleet will go electric and when these cars are sold second-hand it will help bring the cost of EVs [down] for everyday people,” said Greens leader Adam Bandt. The bill is backdated to July 1 this year and car dealerships, as well as electric car groups, have been urging parliament to reach a deal as swiftly as possible.
The industry had been advocating for the temporary inclusion of plug-in hybrids, in part due to the global shortage of electric vehicles and the enormous wait times for some models. “Bold and decisive action is needed to address high EV prices,” said Senator Pocock. Electric vehicle groups and environmental lobbyists have long argued that the much bigger test for EVs and low-emissions cars is the introduction of fuel efficiency standards. Efficiency standards are put on the overall fleet of vehicles that manufacturers sell in a nation and those that exceed the standard are penalized. The tougher the standards are, the more car makers are encouraged to supply electric vehicles or low emissions options.