New taxes to put the brakes on EV sales

Electric vehicle charging (strategy)

New taxes on electric vehicles are likely to put the brakes on sales, according to a poll conducted by The Australia Institute.

With Victoria introducing a road user charge for electric vehicles from July and South Australia pegged to introduce a similar impost next year, a poll has found many potential buyers could be put off, Perth Now reported.

The Australia Institute quizzed approximately 600 people in South Australia and found that for almost 70 per cent a user tax would make them less likely to purchase an electric vehicle.

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The survey also revealed more than 40 per cent had considered going electric with their next vehicle purchase and more than 70 per cent believe they were good for the planet.

Australia Institute SA director Noah Shultz-Byard says it was clear electric vehicle charges would affect consumer enthusiasm for electric cars.

“Our research shows that the vast majority want more EVs on the road, not less, because they are considered to be good for the climate, health and the environment,” he said.

Victoria’s new tax imposes a 2.5 cent charge for each kilometre travelled, putting the yearly cost at approximately $500 for a vehicle travelling 20,000km.

The decision narrowly passed the Victorian parliament despite an alliance of 25 car manufacturers and environmental groups urging MPs to veto the plan.

The letter, signed by Hyundai, Volkswagen, Uber and the Electric Vehicles Council described the tax as the “worst electric vehicle policy in the world”.

South Australia had also planned to introduce a road user charge this year but has put it off until July, partly to gauge the impact of the Victorian legislation.

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When it was first proposed, Treasurer Rob Lucas said SA’s charge would be based on a similar distance-travelled scheme, with motorists providing odometer readings to ensure all road users contributed fairly to the state’s road maintenance investment.

“The reality is, if you’re driving an electric vehicle then you’re not paying fuel excise at the pump and you’re contributing significantly less to the vital upkeep of our vast road network,” the treasurer said.

But those opposed say the tax will only slow progress towards clean energy transport and are calling for incentives to help reduce upfront EV costs like subsidies or stamp duty waivers.