Progress on the electric front
BMW Australia says it's being heard in its efforts to raise awareness about electric mobility, and is pleased about the level of discussion taking place.
Speaking to media at the local launch of the new X2, BMW Australia boss, Marc Werner said the recent announcement by the South Australian Government about Stamp Duty exemptions for electric vehicles is an indication of process.
“I think we are being heard,” Werner said.
“If you look at the most recent announcement and the activity on the various statewide bases, there is certainly movement and momentum – and we will continue with our activities as we have done over the last couple of weeks and months, and we will see where we end up.”
Werner stopped short of saying he expects the taxpayers to fund electric vehicles through exemptions or otherwise, rather suggesting the government needs to form a rounded policy as part of its efforts to reduce CO2.
“Our position is very clear. We are asking for support from the government and it has to come with a long term policy and long term strategy so it cannot just be a tax exemption or tax incentives," Werner said.
"It really needs to be a 360-degree approach, and really a framework that comes with the support from the infrastructure side and additional support, for free parking for example... we have seen in some other markets that tax incentives will also be beneficial to really generate more momentum.”
For now, Australia remains the only first-world country in the world offering no real tax incentive for electric vehicles. That may change in the near future, if the Federal Government intends to bring about strict CO2 targets to mirror Europe and North America.
“First of all, even in Australia we will have a CO2 target coming sooner than later. It’s a question of legislation and we already know that governments change here often… and we are taking a more visionary approach here.
"But having said that, the consumer will decide that at the end of the day, it will need to be convinced by this technology.”
Whether the Federal Government will budget for electric vehicle incentives remains to be seen, but, according to Werner, any strategy to promote EVs needs to be done with a long-term plan in mind.
“I believe that it needs to be a sustainable strategy, so it cannot be like putting the tap on and then putting the tap off. It would be unfair to the consumer, but it’s the customer that decides.”
For now, BMW is happy its calls for change have been heard to an extent, and plans to continue bringing attention to the electric cause.
“It’s good to see that there is now discussion about it, there is now momentum so we are very pleased with the current level of discussion, at least there is activity which wasn’t the case some months ago,” Werner said.
In 2017, only 1124 pure electric vehicles were sold out of a market of almost 1.2 million cars. A further 11,209 hybrid vehicles were sold (including the likes of the Camry Hybrid and Corolla Hybrid), representing a total volume of less than one percent of the market.