Will we be saying goodbye to petrol? What the major parts are planning for electric vehicles

Soaring petrol prices across Australia have sparked fuel security concerns. But that’s not the only thing.

It has also sparked hope in Australians — hope that their future government will invest in a transport system that isn’t relying on oil, but electricity.

Here, we break down what the major parts are offering around electric vehicles.

The Coalition

Reducing emissions in the transport sector is at the forefront of the Coalition’s Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy plan.

Under this strategy, the government will work with the private sector to increase the uptake of hybrid, hydrogen, electric and bio-fueled vehicles.

Scott Morrison refilling a red electric vehicle with a crowd of people behind him.
The federal government says it will partner with the private sector to fund 50,000 charging stations in Australian homes.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

What exactly does this mean?

The government will focus on four streams of key infrastructure and technology investment:

  • Public electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure
  • Heavy and long distance vehicle fleets
  • Light vehicle commercial fleets
  • Household smart charging

The Coalition plans to fund 50,000 charging stations in Australian homesin a bid to encourage more people to buy electric vehicles.

The strategy does not include subsidies or tax incentives that would make electric vehicles more affordable.

How much will it cost the Coalition?

The government says it will spend $250 million — including $178m of new funding — to build charging stations.

Scott Morrison and Liberal politicians walking outside a Toyota hydrogen factoryScott Morrison and Liberal politicians walking outside a Toyota hydrogen factory
Liberals Tim Wilson, left, and Katie Allen, third from the right, are Melbourne MPs facing independent campaigns demanding greater action to address climate change.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

How will this benefit Australians?

The Coalition’s increased funding for charging infrastructure is expected to create more than 2,600 jobs over three years.

It does not say exactly how or where those jobs will be created but does point to employment opportunities through supply chains and manufacturing needed to sustain an electric vehicle market.

Labor

Upgrading the electricity grid to boost renewable energy and cut down power prices are at the center of Labor’s Powering Australia plan.

Labor's environmental spokesman Chris Bowen, Anthony Albanese and Labor MP Ed Husic check out a Nissan Leaf inside a showroom.Labor's environmental spokesman Chris Bowen, Anthony Albanese and Labor MP Ed Husic check out a Nissan Leaf inside a showroom.
Labor’s environmental spokesman Chris Bowen, Anthony Albanese and Labor MP Ed Husic check out a Nissan Leaf.(Supplied: Anthony Albanese )

This includes the introduction of an Electric Car Discount to make electric vehicles cheaper.

How do they plan to do this?

As part of the discount, Labor will exempt electric cars below the luxury car tax threshold ($79,659 in 2021-22) from:

  • Import tariffs: A 5 per cent tax on some imported electric cars
  • Fringe benefits tax: A 47 per cent tax on electric cars that are provided through work for private use

The federal opposition’s aim with this cut-off is to encourage car manufacturers to import and supply more affordable electric models in Australia.

Labor will also consider how the Commonwealth’s existing investment in infrastructure can be leveraged to increase charging stations across the country.

This includes installing 400 “community batteries” in suburbs and towns.

The batteries, which are about the size of a large car, are aimed at cutting power prices for up to 100,000 homes and taking better advantage of household solar.

They would charge during the day and be drawn down during the night, saving households the costs of battery installation and maintenance.

A close-up photo of an electric vehicle charging at a port. A close-up photo of an electric vehicle charging at a port.
Labor’s policy would only apply to non-luxury electric vehicles — cars worth less than $79,659.(Flickr: Open Grid Scheduler)

How much will it cost Labor?

Labor says these incentives will cost around $250 million over three years.

How will this benefit Australians?

The Electric Vehicle Council estimates a $50,000 electric vehicle will be more than $2,000 cheaper as a result of removing the import tariff.

If a $50,000 model is provided through work arrangements, Labor’s fringe benefits tax exemption could save employers up to $9,000 a year.

If elected, the party’s Electric Car Discount will begin in July 2022. After three years, it will be reviewed in light of electric car take-up at that time.

The Greens

In a push for an ‘electric vehicle revolution’, the Greens plan for all new vehicle sales by 2030 to be electric.

Its policy mirrors international efforts to ban petrol and diesel cars, and aims to align Australia’s emissions standards with those of the United States and Europe.

Australian Greens Leader Adam Bandt holding promotional pamphlets in front of a tree.Australian Greens Leader Adam Bandt holding promotional pamphlets in front of a tree.
Australian Greens Leader Adam Bandt is pushing a rapid uptake of electric vehicles.(PAA: Russell Freeman)

The Greens’ policy has five main elements:

  • Set emissions standards for new petrol and diesel cars in line with American and European regulations
  • Set mandatory targets for electric vehicles sales, via a cap-and-trade system with car manufacturers
  • Eliminate tariffs, stamp duty and GST on new electric car sales to make them more affordable, plus three years of free car registration
  • Increase the luxury car tax from 33 per cent to 50 per cent (levied on the value of a car above $65,000)
  • Establish a $150m fund to help expand the network of charging stations for electric cars

How much will it cost the Greens?

The Greens say they will provide $2 billion over the next two years to FutureGridthe party’s proposed publicly owned electricity transmission and distribution company, to build new electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

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