Drivers in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) can now apply for zero-interest loans designed to boost the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs), as industry groups call for similar programs to be introduced Australia-wide, The Guardian reports.
The loans will be available under the ACT government’s sustainable household scheme, which offers interest-free loans for solar panels, battery storage technology and other sustainable equipment.
Anyone who holds a valid ACT driving licence or owns a home in the territory can apply for 10-year zero-interest loans of up to $15,000, with other benefits such as a stamp duty exemption for new EV purchases also available.
ACT minister for water, energy and emissions reduction Shane Rattenbury said the territory wanted to send a strong signal to carmakers it was embracing the transition to EVs.
“The key message here for the external audience is for automakers to say—look at Canberra, get the vehicles into the ACT,” he said.
“We’ve got a keen market here. We know people want to purchase these vehicles. We need to see more models at lower prices.”
Rattenbury said the federal government “has not been strong supporters of EVs” so it was important for state and territory governments to make their intentions clear.
“Nationally, we do have a problem,” he said.
“When you talk to the automakers, they’re hesitant to bring vehicles to Australia because they’re unclear about government policy.”
The program is being organised in a staged process with a small number of electric vehicle suppliers participating initially. More will be added over time.