Victorian residents will no longer have access to the $3000 EV purchase subsidy from June 30 this year, as the debt-laden State Government looks at ways to cut back on spending.
The decision to prematurely ditch the rebate was quietly slipped into the May State Budget papers, but picked up first by EV-focused news site The Driven.
“The Victorian Government has had to make some tough budget decisions this year and unfortunately not all programs have been able to continue. Given the growth in demand for ZEVs over the last 12 months, applications for subsidies will close at 6pm 30 June 2023,” the government confirmed.
When it launched the program in May 2021, the Victorian government intended to offer more than 20,000 subsidies, rolled out in batches, ending no sooner than May 2024 unless all 20,000 were exhausted before then.
“The ZEV Subsidy will apply immediately for any eligible vehicle purchased from Sunday 2 May 2021 until the rebates are fully committed, or three years, whichever is achieved sooner,” its fact sheet said.
There are now 2776 subsidies remaining, the government claims. However, while we don’t have exact figures on current uptake, it’s likely that the number of Victorians who’ll benefit from the payment is well under this promised 20,000 number.
One figure reported again by The Driven and sourced from data firm Carloop had the number at around 7700 subsidies received as of April 15 this year.
Buried in the State Budget papers is a stat that claims only 4713 applications for the Zero Emissions Vehicle Subsidy were processed in 2022/23, compared to a target of 8600.
“The 2022-23 expected outcome is lower than the 2022-23 target due to ongoing supply delays and a decline in the number of eligible models in the program as vehicle price increases occur across the sector,” the papers stated.
This appears erroneous given the ongoing rollout of sub-$70,000 EVs into the market and the spike in EV sales in Victoria this year, with the market share having grown from 1.8 per cent in 2021 to 6.6 per cent this year.
Given Victoria is currently the only region that also stings EV and PHEV owners with a road-user charge – other regions have deferred the plan until sales are higher – the State becomes the most hostile to lower-emission vehicles in the nation.
More than 240 Victorian drivers have reportedly had their vehicle registration cancelled for failing to pay the controversial ‘Zero and Low-Emission Vehicle Distance-based Charge’, with one owner telling the news agency their registration was cancelled without their knowledge.
Regardless, the State’s Zero Emissions Vehicle Roadmap aims for half of all light vehicle sales to be zero (tailpipe) emissions vehicles by 2030.
Residents of most other States and Territories will still have access to rebates on lower-end EVs, including up to $6000 in Queensland, $3500 in Western Australia, and $3000 in New South Wales and South Australia.