The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has called for a “nationally consistent road user charge for electric vehicles,” following last week's announcement that Victoria would follow South Australia in implementing a per/km EV levy from 2021.
A spokesperson for the organisation – which represents Australia’s motoring clubs and their members – told CarAdvice: “As people move towards electric vehicles and other low emission technologies, revenue from fuel excise is declining, which not only risks road funding, but also means some drivers are paying for roads while others are not, which is neither a fair nor a sustainable model”.
“A nationally consistent approach will be important to drivers, who won’t want a patchwork of unique state charging systems, technologies, or rates,” they added.
However, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) – representing local manufactures and importers – was quick to condemn to move outright.
According to the FCAI's chief executive, Tony Weber, Victoria's electric vehicle tax represents an attempt to “destroy the path to a greener and cleaner motor vehicle fleet for this and future generations”.
“Other countries bend over backwards to increase the use of EVs and other low emission vehicles, because they recognise the benefits,” Mr Weber continued.
The organisation added, however, that if such a tax is to be implemented it should be done so at the national level.
Bill Thomas, the General Manager of Corporate Communications at Hyundai, was similarly critical.
“Now is the time to be encouraging the take-up of EVs - for the good of the climate and in the interests of reducing light vehicle emissions - not introducing taxes to make them less appealing to buyers,” he told CarAdvice.
“All across the world, we are seeing real and meaningful government support for EVs – these demonstrate a clear understanding of electric vehicles’ benefits to the reduction of emissions and pollution, especially in cities,” he added.
“This tax is completely at odds with most of the world's thinking on zero-emissions vehicles, and it’s a shame the automotive industry was not consulted before it was announced."
NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet said earlier this month that a tax similar to the one in Victoria and South Australia was likely to be introduced statewide “during the next 12 months.”
Meanwhile, the Australian Capital Territory remains the nation’s most EV-friendly region, with the government recently promising to introduce free registration and interest-free loans for new buyers.