August 16, 2022

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Good news, EV lovers. The ACT government this week opened up zero-interest loans for purchasing...

Good news, EV lovers. The ACT government this week opened up zero-interest loans for purchasing electric cars in the territory. This is a part of the ACT’s Sustainable Household Scheme, looking to make life in the ACT, well, more sustainable. What does this mean? It just got a lot easier to buy an electric car in Canberra.

The zero-interest loans policy is an expansion of an electric vehicle policy that has been in place since last year, which incentivised the purchase of zero-emission vehicles. Canberrans can already purchase an EV with two years’ worth of free registration and zero stamp duty, so this policy is icing on the (sustainable) cake.

That policy has been given a bit of a makeover, with interest-free loans added in. The first phase of that scheme proved quite successful, with 2,000 households signing up on it.

As announced by several MPs in a joint media release on Monday, this policy applies to both new and used electric vehicles within the state. Canberra households can borrow up to $15,000 to purchase an electric car, with up to 10 years to repay that loan.

There isn’t an upfront cost and there is, of course, zero interest. This policy extends to other sustainable household purchases, like solar panels, battery storage systems, electric stovetops and the installation of such products. You can read through the policy here.

“Our goal is to support more Canberra households to share in the benefits of a net-zero emissions future, while at the same time creating and protecting good local jobs,” said Andrew Barr, the territory’s Minister for Climate Action.

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“So far, the scheme has been a great success and we look forward to seeing more Canberrans support the government’s efforts to reduce emissions without leaving people behind.”

Canberra’s electric car policy has been welcomed by peak bodies in Australia, in particular by the Electric Vehicle Council. Speaking to The Guardian, Dr. Jake Whitehead, the head of policy at the Electric Vehicle Council, said the new policy will improve access to electric cars.

Dr. Whitehead noted that it would be cheaper over time to own an electric car and that this loan gives you access to savings upfront, although it’s only a step in the right direction, as similar policies should be widely available across Australia.

We’re likely to see policies like this in the future, especially as electric vehicles start to be manufactured in the country and renewables start to be switched on across Australia.

Electric vehicle incentives across Australia

If you don’t live in Canberra but want an electric car, what incentives are available to you? Well, each state handles incentives and rebates for vehicles differently, so here’s a quick guide to what you can expect in each state.

  • NSW is reducing the upfront cost of the first 25,000 eligible EVs sold in the state through rebates of up to $3,000, plus the abolition of stamp duty.
  • Victoria is incentivising the purchase of EVs by offering a subsidy of up to $3,000.
  • South Australia offers up to $3,000 in subsidies and a three-year registration exemption on eligible electric vehicles.
  • Tasmania is waiving stamp duty costs for EVs over the next two years and investing widely in EV infrastructure.
  • The Northern Territory will be developing a grant program for EV chargers and reducing registration and stamp duty fees from mid-2022.
  • Western Australia may be investing widely in electric vehicle charging stations, but there is no EV purchase incentive so far.
  • Queensland is building an electric superhighway involving 31 fast-charging stations, but that’s about it.
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We’re hoping to see more ambitious electric vehicle policies introduced as time goes on.