By: Susannah Gutherie – Journalist
The plan aims to encourage the uptake of electric cars by removing financial and logistical barriers.
The New South Wales government has announced a new plan to fast-track electric car uptake by supporting the rollout of fast-charging infrastructure, incentivising fleet purchases of electric cars and ensuring all new buildings are electric vehicle-ready.
The new measures, which were unveiled on March 14, 2020, as part of the first stage in the Berejiklian government’s 10-year Net Zero Plan, will contribute to the state’s ultimate goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
Specifically, the ‘Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Model Availability Program’ will be rolled out over the next three years and will remove “unnecessary barriers” to electric car uptake, like higher purchase prices and access to off-street charging.
“While electric vehicles currently have higher purchase prices than petrol and diesel vehicles, they are expected to fall in price and have competitive strengths: they need less maintenance as they have fewer moving parts and have lower energy costs,” the government’s report says.
The report claims consumers who switch to an electric vehicle can save $1300 on fuel and $300 on maintenance a year.
The program promises to co-fund both the deployment of fast electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the ability of vehicle fleet owners – like car rental companies, car share companies and local councils – to procure electric vehicles.
The government argues these incentives will filter through to the second-hand car market, as “[fleet] vehicles are typically resold to the second-hand market after three to five years, giving NSW drivers more electric vehicle options at a lower cost”.
The government says it will also support amendments to the National Construction Code and NSW Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) to ensure all new buildings are electric vehicle-ready.
“This could involve requiring new buildings to provide electrical conduits and wiring to make it easy to install electric vehicle charging equipment,” the report states.
“Licensing and parking regulations will also be amended to support the uptake of electric vehicles and the efficient rollout of charging infrastructure.”
Finally, the government will “lead by example” by increasing its own fleet target for electric or hybrid passenger vehicles to 30 per cent by 2023, with at least 10 per cent to be fully electric, replacing Sydney’s bus fleet with electric buses and rolling out a new fleet of hybrid diesel-electric passenger trains from 2023 for regional lines.
Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) chief executive Behyad Jafari says NSW is the first state to implement targeted measures to aid electric car penetration, making it likely other states will soon follow suit.
“The only other state that provides a form of financial incentive is the ACT, which provides a stamp duty exemption on new EV purchases… while Queensland has made efforts to improve the fast-charging network,” Mr Jafari tells CarAdvice.
“Otherwise, a lot of states just haven’t had overarching EV policies in place. Victoria is right now working on a similar plan and it’s on them to say, ‘do we want to do less, as much or more than NSW?’ I think we will see some healthy competition there.”
Currently, New South Wales has just under 400 public charging points, while over 30 per cent of NSW households do not have access to off-street parking to easily charge an electric car.
In 2019, only 22 electric models were available to the public, resulting in only 47,389 plug-in hybrids and electric cars on NSW roads as of 2019.
Mr Jafari says the EVC will consult with the state government over the coming months to refine exactly how the incentive programs will work, with a view to having the electric car-specific elements of the plan in place by end of year.