Comparing the major parties' EV policies in NSW4 February 2019
First, it should be acknowledged that while there’s a lot left to be done, these policy commitments are good first steps and definite signs of change.
Only a month ago, neither major party in NSW had any EV policies at all. Our politicians are beginning to acknowledge the undeniable benefits of EVs for cleaning our air and reducing running costs.
The commitment to charging infrastructure from both parties is very welcome. Groups like the Australian mobility clubs and companies like Tritium and Chargefox are rolling out scores of chargers across NSW, but the total number of chargers per capita is still fairly low. Charger access is the greatest concern consumers have about purchasing EVs according to NRMA surveys and these policies will help alleviate that. Labor’s commitment – being twice as large – will clearly go further.
The inclusion of fleet targets is also encouraging. The NSW Government fleet comprises 22,000 vehicles, many of which are leased. This makes it easy to swap polluting conventional vehicles for cleaner EVs as contracts roll over. Such targets will improve market certainty and help automakers justify bringing more and cheaper EV models to our shores.
The NSW Government’s promised bus trial is somewhat underwhelming when compared to what other states are doing. The ACT government, for example, is considering purchasing up to 40 EV buses this year.
EVs are a new technology and inevitably subject to misinformation so a public awareness campaign is a positive and forward-thinking promise from Labor. The NSW Government has also committed to public awareness but haven’t attached a dollar figure to that campaign.
One major gap in both these platforms is a lack of incentives for consumers. In other countries, pricing and model availability issues – which are largely due to economies of scale – have been dealt with by governments providing financial benefits to EV purchasers in order to catalyse initial demand.
For example, EVs in the United States are eligible for tax credits of up to $7,500 USD. A similar approach has been adopted in the ACT where stamp duty and registration fees are partly or entirely discounted. Given that vehicle pollution is taking hundreds of lives and costing billions of dollars in NSW alone, fiscal incentives like this are not just sensible but essential.
Nonetheless, these policy commitments are a solid start and a strong signal that EVs are gaining traction. Policy conversations are always ongoing and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with both parties to bring about the best outcomes for the health and hip-pockets of people in NSW and the rest of Australia.