Until recently in Australia, unlike almost every other country in the OECD, there was no incentive at any level of government to buy electric vehicles (EVs).
Sure, the Federal Government has a higher threshold for green cars before it applied the Luxury Car Tax, but that applies to any car with fuel efficiency below 7.0 litres per 100km, and can’t really be called an electric vehicle (EV) incentive.
Update: This story originally ran in March 2022, but we’ve updated it to reflect recent policy announcements.
However, over the last few years Australian state governments have announced measures to encourage the transition to EV ownership. Those lucky enough to live in the ‘right’ state can save thousands of dollars.
Below is a look at the consumer-oriented initiatives of each state, and the impact on the price of Australia’s most popular electric car.
Until the New South Wales policy announcement in 2021, the ACT claimed it had the most generous incentives of all.
New EVs are exempt from stamp duty, equivalent to around $2900 for a $60,000 car that emits more than 221g of CO2 per km.
All electric cars, new or used, purchased in the ACT are also exempt from registration costs for two years.
The ACT also has a Sustainable Household Scheme which will provide zero-interest loans of between $2000 and $15,000 to eligible households to help with the upfront costs of investing in energy-efficient upgrades, including zero-emission vehicles.
In July last year the ACT announced it will end sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 as part of a wide-reaching electric vehicle strategy.
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Like the ACT, new and used EVs (under $78,000) are exempt from stamp duty.
In addition to this, the first 25,000 electric vehicles sold under $68,750 attract a $3000 rebate on the purchase price.
As recently reported, the rebate and stamp duty exemptions will end from January 1, 2024. The NSW Labor government claims these incentives are being phased out “because they risk driving up the costs of EVs, resulting in increased profits to manufacturers”.
A total of $260 million will be invested as part of the 2023-24 NSW Budget into additional EV infrastructure for drivers in regional New South Wales, renters, and people who live in apartment, as well as other motorists who don’t have access to home charging.
Queensland has joined several other states in releasing a policy designed to increase the uptake of electric vehicles. It now has the most generous in the country, too.
From July 1, 2023, the Queensland Government doubled its household EV rebate from $3000 to $6000 and increased the price cap for new vehicles eligible under the scheme from $58,000 to $68,000.
Applicants must have a combined household income of $180,000 or less to get access to the maximum rebate under the Zero Emission Vehicle Rebate Scheme.
The doubled rebate is exclusive to eligible households – meaning two individual rebates of $3000 – but individual buyers, as well as households, above the income threshold will still have access to the older $3000 discount.
Applicants who have already applied and received a $3000 rebate under the earlier scheme, and who are under the total gross income threshold, are considered eligible for reassessment and additional payment of the $3000 rebate.
The Victorian Government ended its $3000 EV purchases subsidy from June 30 this year as a way to cut back on spending.
The decision to prematurely ditch the rebate was quietly slipped into the May State Budget papers. It was originally intended to end no sooner than May 2024, unless all 20,000 subsidies were exhausted before then.
Although there is no stamp duty exemption, Victoria does have a flat stamp duty for electric cars regardless of purchase price. Electric vehicle owners pay $8.40 per $200 market value, the same as internal-combustion cars under $71,849.
Buyers of combustion-powered luxury vehicles pay up to $18 per $200 market value if they are over $150,000.
You could say this qualifies as an incentive, but only if you are lucky enough to be choosing between a Porsche Taycan and a Panamera.
Finally, all EVs registered in Victoria will also receive a $100 discount in their annual registration.
Unlike all the other states, Victoria had already started to make EV drivers pay a road-user charge. However, earlier this year this was struck down by the High Court.
As it currently stands, Victorians are no longer required to pay an upcoming ZLEV related invoice or provide a vehicle odometer reading.
South Australia offers a $3000 rebate on the first 7000 new battery-electric vehicles under $68,750 including GST.
Demonstrators and used cars do not qualify for the scheme. New battery-electric cars under the same $68,750 incl. GST are also eligible for three years of free registration fees, although other insurance-related charges may apply.
Tasmania‘s current electric vehicle (EV) incentives recently lapsed, however the state government says further incentives are on their way.
From July 1, 2021 until June 30, 2023, buyers who purchased an electric vehicle (EV) or a hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) were exempt from stamp duty. This would shave around $2800 from the before on-road costs asking price of a $70,000 EV.
Tasmanians can still technically claim the EV and FCEV stamp duty exemption until January 1, 2024, but only if they entered into a contract of sale before May 25, 2023.
The NT Government announced measures in 2021, which take effect from July 1, 2022 to promote EV uptake.
There are no rebates, but electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids valued at up to $50,000 get a $1500 stamp duty discount until June 30, 2027. Any amount over this price cap continues to attract three per cent stamp duty.
There’s also free registration up to June 30, 2027, including for used vehicles and those brought in from overseas or interstate.
The NT Government has also introduced a grant scheme for EV chargers.
This consists of 100 residential grants of $1000, plus 80 business grants of $2500, intended for the purchase and installation of EV chargers. They’re available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Western Australian State Government recently announced an electric vehicle (EV) support package including $3500 rebates for buyers spending less than $70,000.
Headlining the WA announcement is the ‘Clean Energy Car Fund’ which will include a claimed $36.5 million in taxpayer dollars to pay for up to 10,000 rebates of $3500 each, to Western Australians who buy a new EV or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle (FCEV) up to a value of $70,000.
WA in 2021 announced a 45-station, $21 million EV charging network stretching from Kununurra in the north down to Perth, and out to the regional centres of Esperance and Kalgoorlie.
What does all this mean for the bottom line?
Below are ‘drive away’ figures (including any rebates) for the top-selling Tesla Model Y SUV in its least expensive RWD configuration.
The biggest variable behind the differences in the states (after any rebate) is the amount of stamp duty. Stamp duty is non-existent or negligible in the cheapest states, and Western Australia’s pricing reflects its status as the stamp duty heavyweight with purchasers hit with more than $4000 in duty.
- Australian Capital Territory: $67,845
- New South Wales: $68,319
- Northern Territory: $69,965
- South Australia: $70,777
- Tasmania: $70,510
- Victoria: $71,049
- Queensland: $69,304
- Western Australia: $72,639
The above figures are drive-away, and include all the relevant rebates and stamp duty reductions. Some rebates may need to be claimed after purchase.