Residents and businesses in the ACT will now receive two years of free car registration when they buy an electric vehicle (EV) as the territory looks to cut its carbon footprint.

The deal is extended to new or used EVs bought between 24 May and 30 June 2024.

ACT homeowners can also apply for a $15,000 loan to go toward sustainable energy products including EVs as the territory aims to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

ACT Minister for Climate Action, Andrew Barr, said transport was a large contributor to the territory’s carbon footprint.

“Transport emissions now account for around 60 per cent of the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions and of these emissions an estimated 70 per cent are from private vehicles,” he said

“Reducing the number of high-emitting vehicles on our roads is significant to achieving our targets along with encouraging active travel and public transport use.”

EVs sold in the ACT are already exempt from stamp duty with the territory looking to move its fleet of government cars to electric by the end of the year.

ACT Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury, said the ACT was “leading Australia” on EV incentives.

“Our community understands the need for practical and meaningful action to address climate change,” he said.

“We want to enable and support community action to reduce emissions, and making zero emissions vehicles more available and affordable is one of the ways we can do that.”

States disagree on how to tackle EVs

Despite the federal government working within an EV hotspot, there was little in terms of policy for next generation vehicles in this month’s federal budget.

Instead, states and territories have had to go it alone and decide their own path toward renewable transport.

For Victoria that meant a tax on EVs was introduced into the state’s budget last year.

The tax of 2.5 cents per kilometre was designed to help offset a loss in revenue from the 42.7 cents per litre fuel excise motorists pay to the federal government, which is supposed to be re-invested into transport infrastructure.

It was recently the “worst electric vehicle policy in the world” by a group of 25 organisations and businesses including Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Uber who called on Victorians MPs to vote against the proposed tax.

South Australia planned on introducing its own EV road tax starting July but will instead wait an extra year to see how Victoria’s tax plan pans out.

The New South Wales government, meanwhile, is still deciding the makeup of its EV policy with Transport Minister Andrew Constance earlier this month proposing the government incentivise EV purchases before introducing an equivalent road tax.

Australia’s uptake of electric vehicles is relatively small, making up just 0.6 per cent of new car sales in 2019.

In the UK, plug-in EVs made up over 2.5 per cent of new cars in 2019 and over 10 per cent in 2020.

Local EV imports have increased, however, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics recording a 485 per cent rise in the number of EVs arriving in February.