'I am optimistic that we will get there.'

Audi is optimistic the Australian government will join the rest of the first world and offer buyer incentives for choosing an electric vehicle (EV) over an internal-combustion one.

Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new e-tron in San Francisco, Paul Sansom, Audi Australia managing director, said he sees incentives for EVs as high on the agenda, based on a commitment from both major Australian political parties to meet environmental targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

“I am optimistic it will [come],” Sansom told CarAdvice about government incentives.

“Because there is benefits for everyone, in that, and it’s very much part of Government or opposition’s policy and commitment to the Paris agreement. So, I am optimistic that we will get there.”

Nonetheless, Sansom acknowledged the once-large gap between EV and internal combustion pricing is closing, given the scale of production and the maturing of the technology across the industry. Even so, he believes even if the price of the two technologies was comparable, the government should still provide an incentive for buyers to encourage further EV uptake.

“[The price of EVs coming down] doesn’t erode it, maybe it strengthens the case from a consumer point of view. The question we are asking is affordability," Sansom said.

"Governments are tipping in around the world to equalise the two things. How ever we get there, [the aim] is to get a price point where consumers are willing to pay for it.

“I think we are getting ever closer to that without government help, but that doesn’t mean we are not campaigning hard to them to support electrification.”

If or when the Australian Government decides to join the majority of other first-world nations providing some sort of incentive for buyers to pick electric vehicles, Sansom believes they should be well though out, and not a short-term approach.

“What is important is that you don’t go from one day to the next with different incentives, it’s important to get that incentive to get the critical mass into having the confidence that EVs are the way forward, and then slowly phasing that out over a period of time and not switching it off, because I don’t think that’s great for a consumer… as it will cause a lot of customer dissatisfaction.”

Sales of electric vehicles remain relatively stagnant in Australia, making up only 0.001 percent of the reported market.