The Federal Government's plan for increasing electric vehicle (EV) uptake in Australia has leaked.
A draft of the 'Future Fuels Strategy' document – which details the Federal Government's electric vehicle strategy for coming years – was obtained by the ABC ahead of its anticipated full release in the coming weeks.
Headline policies promoted by the paper include $72 million of previously-announced funding for the construction of EV charging infrastructure, updating the Green Vehicle Guide website, and a two-year trial of an electric vehicle fleet for COMCAR – the agency that provides vehicles and drivers for Australia's politicians.
The document also encourages asking energy-related government agencies and companies to explore options for vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid battery use – technologies experimented with by a range of car brands in recent years, including Nissan, Renault and Lotus.
However, the paper does not discuss a potential introduction of tax-based or other financial incentives to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles – as is offered in the US, UK, Germany and other nations – nor does it include a percentage target for EV market share.
In a media statement released this morning in response to the leaked draft, Electric Vehicle Council chief Behyad Jafari said: "Transitioning to electric vehicles is unarguably in our national interest, yet this strategy does nothing to accelerate the process."
"If Australians were supported toward electric vehicles we could significantly reduce respiratory illness in our cities, shake off our fuel insecurity, cut our carbon emissions, and even firm up our grid with a giant collective battery. This strategy does not help us realise this exciting future," Mr Jafari said.
"This strategy leaves Australia miles behind just as the exciting global transition to electric vehicles is picking up pace, "he added.
The Government's electric vehicle strategy, first confirmed to be in the works in early 2019 in the lead-up to the federal election, was recently renamed as the 'Future Fuels Strategy' discussion paper.
Initially set to be released publicly in mid-2020, the ABC understands the paper will now become official before the end of the year, with Energy Minister Angus Taylor telling the media organisation the document will be released "in the coming weeks".
The publication of details from the leaked document comes less than a month after both South Australia and Victoria proposed the introduction of road taxes for electric vehicles, in place of the 42.3-cents-per-litre fuel excise typically incurred when filling up a petrol or diesel-powered combustion vehicle.
Victoria's tax – effective from July 2021 – would see electric vehicle owners charged 2.5 cents per kilometre travelled, with plug-in hybrids billed at a lesser 2.0 cents per kilometre rate.
Using the 15,000km average annual distance covered by motor vehicles in Australia – based on Census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics – the Victorian tax would see electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid owners charged $375 and $300 respectively.