Federal Government Not Planning To Back Electric Vehicles In Australia

Mike Stevens | Apr 19, 2010

DESPITE a growing number of partnerships between some Australian states and cities with manufacturers of electric vehicles and service providers, the Federal Government has ruled out offering incentives to buyers of hybrids and electric vehicles.

Government subsidies and rebates for green cars are becoming common practice in many overseas markets - particularly in Europe and Asia.

Speaking with Fairfax this week, Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, said that the Federal Government believes the way forward lies in the development of existing technologies for petrol, diesel and LPG engines.

''Over the next decade, the most rapid and cost-effective way of improving fuel economy and building more environmentally effective cars is to adapt technologies that are being deployed now,'' Mr Carr told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Rather than offer subsidies or rebates for buyers to choose the greenest cars, the Federal Government will put $1.3 billion (through its Green Car Innovation Fund) towards the development of greener vehicles. Toyota's Hybrid Camry has been a beneficiary of this support through the Federal Government's Green Car initiative.

Mr Carr said the aim of this support is to secure Australia's automotive industry, promoting local innovation and manufacturing, and keeping people in jobs.

While Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, and even the nation's capital Canberra are working to develop infrastructure for electric vehicles, Mr Carr said the Federal Government will not take the same path.

Carmakers such as Nissan and Mitsubishi are moving quickly to be the first to offer electric vehicles in Australia. Nissan's Leaf is scheduled to make its local debut in 2012, with Nissan Australia already discussing infrastructure needs with certain cities.

"We have begun infrastructure exploratory talks with the City of Sydney on what a roll-out of infrastructure might look like,” Nissan Australia's Jeff Fisher told TMR last year.

“We are also talking to the City of Melbourne. This needs to move relatively quickly; 2012 is not that far away.

"Having the right infrastructure in place, as well as strong product offerings, will be a key confidence factor in winning consumers over to these vehicles,” he said.

Mitsubishi's i MiEV is due for imminent release, with the company aiming at corporate and government fleets for the bulk of its sales.

While it remains to be seen what price the Nissan Leaf will carry when it arrives in Australia (international prices are around AU$40,000), pricing on the iMiev is likely to be announced this week. (TMR is attending the media launch on Wednesday this week and will bring you details then.)

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Filed under: Featured, hybrid, Green, hybrids, electric vehicles, evs, federal government, australia, News, Australian government, federal, industry, green car fund, green car innovation fund, comment

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  • PeterG says,
    6 years ago
    Seems hugely hypocritical to promote fossil fuels by not supporting electric vehicles and yet push the ETS.But wait what is the common denominator for these diametrically opposed approaches that cause this government to prostitute its core values .Tax dollars- both petrol tax and penalties on big business(ETS) are designed to create bigger government to enhance our lives.Based upon performance to date people should be skeptical and cynical and angry and hopefully get even.
    • Ward Paterson says,
      6 years ago
      The ETS was never feasible. It was merely a tax on a tax to generate government revenue - without changing peoples behaviours or providing better public transport to stop people driving cars - and at the same time, creating endless financial difficulties for companies that have to buy Carbon credits at a cost that cannot be passed down to end users for a period of 3 years (eg, our fuel refiners)...

      But on the other hand, don't be fooled - Krudd still wants the ETS (these tax funds are of course needed to increase politician wages every year - they have to come from somewhere!), and if he promotes electric low carbon credit cars, then where's the tax profit in that??

  • Wheelnut
    Wheelnut says,
    6 years ago
    Maybe if K-Rudds advisor told him that Toyota had plans of making a Plug-in Camry he would shoot off overseas and give them another govt grant to build them in Oz ... then start work on building a number of recharge stations at a cost of $400K each

    I mean he gave em millions to build the Hybrid Camry in Oz - even though Toyota already had plans to do so... and the over-priced recharge stations could be built by those who are building the new classrooms etc in numerous schools around the country