Victorians rushed to claim electric-car subsidies in final days

Electric-car buyers in Victoria scrambled to claim the State Government's $3000 subsidy in the final days of the program.

Demand for Victoria's electric-vehicle rebate has jumped significantly in the final month of the program, new data obtained by Drive reveals.

As reported in early June 2023, the Victorian Government quietly axed its $3000 subsidy for electric cars, claiming a lower-than-expected take-up rate – despite the new-car industry reporting electric vehicles sales were up almost 111 per cent to the end of May compared with the same point in 2022.

Figures provided by the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action show motorists rushed to claim the subsidy, with a total of 2037 applications approved last month – ahead of its expiration at 6:00pm on 30 June 2023.

That figure equates to 20 per cent of the 10,163 applications that have been claimed since the subsidy was launched more than two years ago.

It's understood more than 800 applications were made in the final ten days, based on data obtained by AAP.

When the program launched in May 2021, the Victorian Government had aimed to support the purchase of up to 20,000 zero-emissions vehicles over three years.

The original $100 million package was then promised a $7.2 million boost in April 2022, extending the program to cover a further 2600 vehicles.

However, the government confirmed the end of the program in its 2023-24 State Budget Papers in May 2023, as first reported by The Driven.

"The [electric-vehicle] subsidy has laid the groundwork for 50 per cent of all Victorian light vehicle sales being [zero emissions] by 2030," Stan Krpan, CEO of Solar Victoria – the department tasked with distributing the rebates – told Drive in a written statement.

For the first five months of 2023, Australians purchased 12,387 electric cars – equating to approximately 7 per cent of all new-car sales – compared to 5873 electric vehicles sold during the same period of 2022.

Victoria is now one of the few regions not to offer any kind of incentive to purchase an electric vehicle, with the exception of a $100 discount on annual car registration.

Victoria also lays claim to being the only government to impose a road-user tax on electric-car owners at this point, charging 2.8 cents for each kilometre driven – an 8 per cent jump over the previous year's rate, coming into effect on 1 July 2023.

The state's controversial road-user tax – designed to recoup lost revenue from the fuel excise – is currently before the High Court in a constitutional challenge being supported by the Federal Government.

As Victoria's electric-car rebate came to an end on 30 June, the Queensland Government doubled its subsidy for electric vehicles to $6000 from 1 July – the same day Tesla cut prices across its model range.

The move allowed the entry-level Tesla Model Y RWD to come in under the Queensland Government's $68,000 threshold, and adding up to almost $10,000 in discounts for buyers.

Ben Zachariah

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than 15 years. Ben was previously an interstate truck driver and completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the area of classic car investment.

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