Image by Gerd Altmann

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Australia’s newest grassroots campaign, Charge Ahead, will urge policymakers to accelerate the nationwide electrification of cars, buses, trucks and trains in order to reduce transport emissions.

The campaign is an initiative of existing community group, Solar Citizens, which helped Australia become a world-leader in residential solar uptake.

An initial priority of the campaign will be opposing the introduction of road user charges until more EVs are on the road, as well as encouraging governments to electrify bus and government vehicle fleets and power trains and trams with clean energy. 

Solar Citizens’ National Director, Ellen Roberts said there will come a time when road user charges for EVs will “make sense” however currently she says they are acting as a “handbrake on the transition to EVs”

“We want barriers removed to make electric vehicles more affordable for consumers, but also to grow the use of renewable energy in transport by electrifying bus fleets and repowering trains and trams with clean energy.”

Charge Ahead is asking all government decision makers to support specific policies to increase the uptake of EVs, some of which have already been adopted to varying degrees by state leaders. 

These are:

  • targeting 100 per cent of new car sales to be electric by 2030
  • deferring road user charges until EV uptake reaches 50 per cent
  • providing upfront subsidies to make the purchase costs of EVs on par with ICE vehicles
  • waiving motor vehicle duty and registration fees
  • provide funding to fill gaps in public and private charging infrastructure, and supporting homes and businesses to be EV ready

“Australia lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to the transition to electric vehicles, but there are opportunities to turn this around so more people can share in the benefits of clean and quiet vehicles that are cheaper to run and maintain,” Roberts said. 

“The success of Australia’s rooftop solar industry shows what is possible when governments incentivise consumers to make smart choices.”

The campaign will officially launch with an online event on Thursday 29th July featuring electric vehicle (EV) champion Senator Rex Patrick, renewables researcher Professor Andrew Blakers and EV driver Jan McNicol.

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