The local automotive industry has welcomed a Federal Government plan to inject $74.5 million of funding into the take-up of emissions-free vehicles across Australian businesses and communities.
The Future Fuels Fund, announced by Minister for Energy Angus Taylor on September 17, is expected to subsidise business adoption of electric vehicles and corresponding infrastructure, with more details to be shared in the coming weeks.
CarAdvice understands the grants could be used for projects like upgrading workplace power supply to allow for on-site fast charging, enabling the purchase of electric cars for commercial fleets or improving access to charging or other sustainable refuelling sites in regional areas.
The fund is part of of a broader $1.9 billion investment package in future technologies to lower emissions, which also includes funding for a hydrogen export hub, new microgrids in regional and remote communities and carbon capture projects.
The Morrison government says the Future Fuels funding will "help businesses and regional communities [to] take advantage of opportunities offered by hydrogen, electric, and bio-fuelled vehicles".
The announcement was warmly received by both the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC), Australia's peak body for electric cars, as well as the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI)
"We know businesses are waking up to the many benefits of electrifying their fleets and these grants should be the incentive they need to break with combustion engine tradition," EVC CEO Behyad Jafari said.
The program will have the flow-on benefit of getting more electric vehicles into the used-car markets – with more compelling prices.
"Businesses tend to recycle their fleets every few years so if they are incentivised to purchase new electric vehicles today we should see them starting to appear in numbers on the used car market soon," Mr Jafari said.
"This is a positive step from the Federal Government and we hope to see it built upon in the coming weeks."
FCAI CEO Tony Weber, meanwhile, said the investment could encourage international automotive manufacturers to bring their environmentally friendly technologies and products Down Under.
“[I]t is heartening to see the Federal Government focus on encouraging the uptake of low and zero emission vehicles, particularly in business and regional communities, through the Future Fuels Fund," Mr Weber said,
“With these initiatives in place, automotive manufacturers could continue to do what they do best – and that is to bring the latest, safest, and most fuel-efficient vehicles to the Australian market."