Why electric cars have hit a dead end in Australia


Fancy having your road tolls, parking charges and registration charges waived?

Head to Norway, where reducing your carbon footprint through the purchase of an electric vehicle will score you such benefits.

Or stay in Australia, buy a clean-energy vehicle, and look forward to high import duties, stamp duty, a luxury car tax, and a dearth of charging stations putting you at risk of conking out mid-drive.

Australia has been labelled a “laggard” in the global move toward electric vehicles by progressive think-tank Australia Institute.

“Emissions from vehicles are on the rise and Australia currently has no serious policy measures to curb their growth,” said Matt Grudnoff, senior economist and author of a report released on Friday.

“Transport is the third largest sector contributing to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and there are currently no serious policies to curb these emissions.”

Despite their environmental benefits and cost savings in fuel, electric vehicles in Australia are more expensive than electric cars overseas, while the well-known Tesla cars are unaffordable for most.

Only 0.1 per cent of all cars sold in Australia were electric in 2015 (1108 of the 1.1 million new cars bought), compared with 23 per cent in Norway, 1.4 per cent in France and 0.7 per cent in the US.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

Bold policies championed by governments overseas have led to a rise in electric car sales and lower car emissions.

Mr Grudnoff and co-author Dan Cass have put forward some ideas to help boost our electric vehicle uptake:

Why have electric cars hit a dead end in Australia? Photo: Pat Scala

Idea 1: Bus lane access

It was introduced in Germany, the Netherlands, and several American states.

Giving electric vehicles access to bus lanes should be trialled in Australia, the report…

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