Are we going to say goodbye to gasoline? What the major parties are planning for electric vehicles

Soaring petrol prices across Australia have raised concerns about fuel safety. But that’s not the only thing.

It has also sparked hope among Australians – hope that their future government will invest in a transport system that does not rely on oil, but on electricity.

Here, we break down what the major parties are offering around electric vehicles.

Coalition

Reducing emissions in the transport sector is at the forefront the Coalition’s strategic plan on future fuels and vehicles.

As part of this strategy, the government will work with the private sector to increase the adoption of hybrid, hydrogen, electric and biofuel vehicles.

The federal government has said it will partner with the private sector to fund 50,000 charging stations in Australian homes.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

What does that mean exactly?

The government will focus on four key infrastructure and technology investment streams:

  • Public electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure
  • Fleets of heavy and long-haul vehicles
  • Commercial fleets of light vehicles
  • Home smart charging

The Coalition plans to fund 50,000 charging stations in Australian homeswith the aim of encouraging more people to buy electric vehicles.

The strategy does not include subsidies or tax incentives that would make electric vehicles more affordable.

How much will this cost the Coalition?

The government says it will spend $250 million – including $178 million in new funds – to build charging stations.

Scott Morrison and Liberal politicians marching past a Toyota hydrogen plant
Liberals Tim Wilson, left, and Katie Allen, third from right, are Melbourne MPs facing independent campaigns demanding greater action to tackle climate change.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

How will this benefit Australians?

The Coalition’s increased funding for charging infrastructure is expected to create more than 2,600 jobs over three years.

It does not say exactly how or where these jobs will be created, but points to job opportunities across supply chains and manufacturing needed to support an electric vehicle market.

Work

Upgrading the electricity grid to boost renewable energy and reduce electricity prices are at the center of The Labor Party’s Powering Australia plan.

Labor Party Environment Spokesman Chris Bowen, Anthony Albanese and Labor MP Ed Husic discover a Nissan Leaf in a showroom.
Labor Party Environment Spokesman Chris Bowen, Anthony Albanese and Labor MP Ed Husic discover a Nissan Leaf.(Provided: Anthony Albanese )

This includes the introduction of an electric car discount to make electric vehicles cheaper.

How do they plan to do this?

As part of the reduction, Labor will exempt electric cars below the luxury car tax threshold ($79,659 in 2021-22) from:

  • Import tariffs: A 5% tax on certain imported electric cars
  • Tax on employee benefits: A 47% tax on electric cars provided by labor for private use

The federal opposition’s goal with the cut is to encourage automakers to import and supply more affordable electric models in Australia.

Labor will also consider how existing Commonwealth investments in infrastructure can be leveraged to increase charging stations across the country.

This includes install 400 “community batteries” in suburbs and cities.

The batteries, which are about the size of a large car, aim to lower electricity prices for up to 100,000 homes and make better use of household solar power.

They would charge during the day and discharge during the night, saving households the cost of battery installation and maintenance.

A close-up photo of an electric vehicle being charged at a port.
Labour’s policy would only apply to non-luxury electric vehicles – cars worth less than $79,659.(Flickr: Open Grid Planner)

How much will it cost in labor?

The work says that these incentives will cost approximately $250 million over three years.

How will this benefit Australians?

The Electric Vehicle Council estimates that a $50,000 electric vehicle will cost more than $2,000 less due to the removal of import duties.

If a $50,000 model is provided through work arrangements, the labor benefits tax exemption could save employers up to $9,000 per year.

If elected, the party’s electric car rebate will begin in July 2022. After three years, it will be reviewed in light of the adoption of electric cars at that time.

The Greens

As part of an “electric vehicle revolution”, Greens expect all new vehicle sales by 2030 to be electric.

Its policy reflects international efforts to ban petrol and diesel cars and aims to bring Australia’s emissions standards in line with those of the United States and Europe.

Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt holding promotional leaflets in front of a tree.
Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt is pushing for rapid adoption of electric vehicles.(PA: Russell Freeman)

Greens policy has five main elements:

  • Establish emissions standards for new gasoline and diesel cars in accordance with US and EU regulations
  • Set mandatory targets for electric vehicle sales, via a cap-and-trade system with automakers
  • Eliminate tariffs, stamp duties and GST on new electric car sales to make them more affordable, plus three years of free registration
  • Increase the luxury car tax from 33% to 50% (levied on the value of a car over $65,000)
  • Establish a $150 million fund to help expand the network of electric car charging stations

How much will it cost the Greens?

The Greens say they will provide $2 billion over the next two years to FutureGridthe public electricity transport and distribution company proposed by the party, to build a new infrastructure for charging electric vehicles.

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