What incentives for electric car buyers are offered in Australia?
Until very recently in Australia, and unlike almost all other OECD countries, there was no level of government incentivizing the purchase of electric vehicles.
Of course, the federal government has a higher threshold for green cars before applying the luxury car tax, but that applies to any car with a fuel efficiency of less than 7.0 liters per 100 km and can’t really be called an incentive for electric vehicles (EVs).
However, in recent years, Australian state governments have announced measures to encourage the transition to electric vehicle ownership. Those lucky enough to live in the “good” state can save thousands of dollars.
Below is an overview of each state’s consumer-focused initiatives and the impact on the price of Australia’s most popular electric car.
How much does Australia’s most popular electric car cost in each state?
What does all this mean for the bottom line?
Below are the “drive-thru” figures (including discounts) for the most popular variant of the Model 3 sedan in its lowest-priced trim configuration. Prices include Tesla’s recent price increase in mid-March.
The biggest variable behind the differences between states (after any refunds) is the amount of stamp duty. Stamp duty is non-existent or negligible in the cheapest states, and Western Australia’s prices reflect its status as a stamp duty heavyweight with buyers hitting over $4,000 in duty.
Australian Capital Territory: $62,255
New South Wales: $63,694
Northern Territory: $68,345 if purchased before July 2022, $66,649 after July 1, 2022
South Australia: $65,883
Western Australia: $70,876
The above figures are by car and include all relevant stamp duty discounts and reductions. Some discounts may need to be claimed after purchase
The Western Australian state government recently announced an electric vehicle (EV) assistance program that includes $3,500 rebates for buyers spending less than $70,000. Headlining WA’s announcement is the ‘Clean Energy Car Fund’, which will include $36.5 million in taxpayer dollars to pay up to 10,000 rebates of $3,500 each, to Australians westerners who purchase a new electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCEV) up to a value of $70,000. WA in 2021 announced a 45-station charging network worth $21 million stretching from Kununurra in the north to Perth and to the regional hubs of Esperance and Kalgoorlie.
Australian Capital Territory
Until the NSW policy was announced in 2021, the ACT claimed to have the most generous incentives of all. New electric vehicles are exempt from stamp duty, which equates to around $2,700 for a $60,000 car that emits more than 221g of CO2 per km. All electric cars, new or used, purchased from the ACT are also exempt from registration fees for two years. ACT also has a Sustainable Household Program that will provide interest-free loans of between $2,000 and $15,000 to eligible households to help with the initial costs of investing in energy-efficient upgrades, including zero-emission vehicles.
New South Wales
In terms of dollars, NSW is now certainly ahead of the incentives. Like the ACT, new and used electric vehicles (less than $78,000) are exempt from stamp duty. In addition, the first 25,000 electric vehicles sold for less than $68,750 benefit from a $3,000 rebate on the purchase price. Along with these incentives, more than $170 million will be spent on charging infrastructure in New South Wales.
Queensland has joined several other states in releasing a policy aimed at increasing the adoption of electric vehicles. From July 2022 and for three years, buyers of electric vehicles in Queensland will be eligible for a $3,000 subsidy for any new electric vehicle priced below $58,000. This $45 million program will be complemented by an additional $10 million to be spent on charging infrastructure. This is in addition to the lower registration costs and stamp duties previously instituted for electric vehicles, as well as the earlier construction of the “electric vehicle highway” designed to provide high-speed charging stations favorably spaced along the entire length of the east coast of the state.
New electric and hydrogen vehicles (under $68,740) attract a $3,000 grant. There are over 20,000 grants to be awarded under the current scheme, with the first batch being 4,000. Victoria also has an electric car infrastructure package worth $19 million. Although there is no stamp duty exemption, Victoria applies a flat stamp duty for electric cars, regardless of the purchase price. Electric vehicle owners pay $8.40 per $200 market value, the same as internal combustion cars under $69,152. Conventionally powered luxury vehicles pay up to $18 per $200 market value if they exceed $150,000. You might say that’s an incentive, but only if you’re lucky enough to choose between a Porsche Taycan and a Panamera. Finally, all Victoria-registered EVs will also receive a $100 rebate upon their annual registration. Unlike every other state, Victoria has already started charging electric vehicle drivers a road user charge of 2.5 cents per km (2.0 cents for plug-in hybrids) while such a charge in NSW and SA won’t start until 2027. can expect to part with $250 if they drive 10,000km a year.
South Australia is offering a $3,000 rebate on the first 7,000 new battery electric vehicles under $68,750 including GST. Demonstrators and used cars are not eligible for the program. New battery electric cars under the same price of $68,750 incl. GST also entitles you to three years of free registration fees, although other insurance-related fees may apply.
New and used electric vehicles are exempt from stamp duty, which will reduce the on-road price of a $60,000 vehicle by approximately $2,400. There is also two years of free registration for electric vehicles used for rental purposes, covering both private ride-sharing operators and rental companies. Tasmania is also spending $600,000 to expand its public DC fast-charging network.
The Government of the Northern Territories has announced measures in 2021, which are expected to come into effect in mid-2022, to promote the uptake of electric vehicles. There are no rebates, but electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles with more than 50km of range get a $1,500 reduction in stamp duty through mid-2027. The state is also offering free registration through mid-2027. There will also be investment in charging facilities, although it is not yet clear what form this will take.