At My Electric Car we would be delighted to tell Australians that their governments are actively encouraging the switch to clean, non polluting vehicles. Unfortunately we cannot – we believe this situation is shameful.
The health effects from our toxic vehicle fleet alone provide a convincing argument to offer incentives and tax breaks for emissions free vehicles. The additional factors of reduced foreign oil bills, a cleaner environment, increased productivity, better energy security and improved air quality make it compelling.
Around the world more enlightened developed nations are accelerating the switch to clean vehicles by offering inducements. These come in the way of tax incentives or cash rebates to individuals or fleet operators purchasing electric vehicles.
The following table is by no means comprehensive of the sorts of subsidies being offered to individuals and fleet owners by various governments around the world but it is indicative of the trend.
Many countries are also taking an agressive approach in providing subsidies to battery manufacturers and auto manufacturers. For example in the U.S. President Obama announced in March 2009, $2.4 billion for electric transport development.
In China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MITI) intends to give large subsidies to buyers of electric cars and $1.5 billion to encourage the automotive industry’s modernization plans.
China’s Electric Push
In the U.K. there has been an agressive approach to boost the change to electric. London intends to take the lead as the world’s most electric vehicle friendly city and has plans to have 25,000 charge stations available by 2015.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson also announced plans for the Greater London Authority to have 1 million electric vehicles in its fleet by 2015.
Electric vehicles in the UK are exempt from road tax, enjoy free or subsidised parking and are exempt from congestion charges.
UK Electric Car Incentive
The Spanish government aims to have 1 million electric vehicles in Spain by 2014. In July 2009 the Spanish Minister for Industry, Miguel Sebastián announced the Movele plan which is funded with 8 million euros and includes money for the purchase of 2,000 electric cars and installation of charge stations in Seville, Barcelona and Madrid. The Spanish government sees this as a key strategy for lowering their dependence on imported oil.
In Denmark which has a punitive 200% tariff on new cars (so that a $20,000 vehicles costs $60,000) there will be no tax on electrics. Better Place is teaming up with the Danish government and the biggest Danish power company to roll out the infrastructure and wire up the streets.
Subsidies and tax breaks are mushrooming all over Europe – Germany, France, Italy all have plans in place or have announced them. You get the idea.
Under much local fanfare Toyota Australia has recently announced the production of the first Toyota Camry hybrid. Developed under the Federal Government’s $1.3 billion Green Car Fund, the Camry uses an imported (from Japan) power train including the hybrid engine. It is not a plug in hybrid and as such does not qualify to be featured on the MEC website.
From a fuel efficiency perspective it hardly rates at over 6 litres per 100kms. Think VW petrol Golf or indeed the Toyota Yaris offer the same or better levels of fuel efficiency. It gets nowhere close to the Hyundai i30 diesel at 4.7 litres per 100kms. (Figures from the Green Vehicle Guide)
The petrol engine of the Camry generates the electric power for the nickel-metal-hydride battery pack – this outdated approach no longer makes sense from a consumer cost perspective, an environmental perspective, urban pollution perspective and health perspectives. The penny has dropped at Toyota who will be delivering limited numbers globally of the plug in Prius this year.
Governments around the world have recognised that the change to electric will rquire incentives. It is time the Australian Federal and State Governments offer incentives to those choosing zero emission vehicles that help reduce health costs, reduce pollution, reduce CO2 emissions and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
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