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NT announces EV Implementation Plan

Simple and Pragmatic: The FCAI has welcomed the Northern Territory’s new EV Implementation Plan but repeated its calls for federal action.

Free rego, reduced stamp duty for new and used EVs, PHEVs in the NT from July 2022

21 Jul 2021

THE Northern Territory government has announced a new ‘EV Implementation Plan’ that will incentivise the purchase of both new and used electric vehicles through free registration and reduced stamp duty for five years as of July 2022.


Spanning primarily from 2021-2026, the new plan will also see an expansion of EVs within government and agency fleets, an expansion of the territory’s charging infrastructure, the exploration of renewable energy solutions to support said infrastructure and increase the amount of consumer information available.


Like other states’ strategies, the NT plan also encompasses plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) but not traditional hybrids (HEVs) as they don’t “represent a significant shift from conventional vehicles and don’t have the potential to operate as zero emission vehicles”.


As a result, changes to the territory’s vehicle registration classes will be made to allow for separate registration of battery-electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen vehicles when the plan comes into effect next year.


The basis of the implementation plan was the ‘2019 NT EV Discussion Paper Survey’ in which 78 per cent of the 146,000 participants indicated they would consider purchasing an EV within the next five years.


No budget or predicted cost has yet been specified for the plan, although the reduction in stamp duty for the “first time registration of new and second hand EVs” will be $1500 per vehicle, essentially erasing the duty on vehicles priced up to $50,000.


By 2030, it is hoped the NT’s government fleet will comprise around 200 EVs at a rate of 20 additional vehicles per year – 82 per cent of survey respondents agreed the territory government should set a goal for its own fleet.


While far from the $490 million strategy outlined by the NSW government last month, the plan has been welcomed by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), with CEO Tony Weber describing it as a “very simple and pragmatic way to promote the expansion of EVs across the territory”.


“We commend the territory government for this and look to work with them to expand plans to enhance the uptake of low emission vehicles into the future,” he said.


“The FCAI supports state and territory governments creating incentives to enhance uptake of electric vehicles, but recognise the importance of a nationally harmonised position across the nation for the benefit of the Australian motorist.


“For some time the industry has been highlighting just how inefficient stamp duty and other taxes are.


“We are pleased to see this as a potential first step in the Northern Territory adopting a broad-based road user charge (RUC) scheme which could eliminate a myriad of inefficient taxes.”


With new-vehicle registrations in the NT totalling less than three per cent of the number registered in NSW so far in 2021, the territory government has openly stated it is unlikely to be a national leader of EVs but insists the technology is the way forward for modern transportation.


“EV uptake in Australia has lagged behind the rest of the world, however EVs are coming,” a government spokesperson said in a statement.


“The rate of EV uptake is expected to soar as the price difference between EVs and conventional vehicles narrows.


“As a small jurisdiction, with a low and widely dispersed population, the Northern Territory is unlikely to have a lead role in supporting EV uptake in Australia. 


“Any policies or programs implemented by the Northern Territory government to encourage the uptake of EVs are likely to have limited impact nationally. 


“However, now is the time to position the Northern Territory in relation to the introduction of EVs. 


“The Northern Territory needs to be prepared for the transition to EVs and harness the benefits which EVs can provide.”


Two of the key barriers identified in the 2019 survey were range anxiety and a lack of charging infrastructure, with 78 and 80 per cent of respondents respectively agreeing that government and the private sector should invest in public charging infrastructure.


Given the baking climate of the NT and abundance of intense sunshine, solar energy was identified as a key resource in powering the future charging infrastructure, with plans already under development to promote daytime charging of EVs and discourage charging at peak times.


“EV charging at peak times should be discouraged to reduce the impact on the grid and the impacts of EV charging from non-renewable energy,” the plan says.


Support of the World Solar Car Challenge will continue indefinitely in the hope of fostering the innovation of solar EV technology.


According to the plan, territorians drive an average of 36km per day – well under the typical 300-400km effective range of modern EVs – however the bulk of the population reside in major centres such as Darwin and Alice Springs.


For those in smaller centres, a grants program will be implemented to “encourage the provision of charging infrastructure” so people in the regions do not miss out, simultaneously mitigating range anxiety for those who undertake longer journeys.


“To see the Northern Territory Government including grants for EV infrastructure development as part of this strategy demonstrates a mature and long term approach to increasing the number of electric vehicles on Australia’s roads,” Mr Weber said.
“We look forward to more jurisdictions developing nationally consistent EV strategies across Australia to the benefit of Australian motorists.”


The territory government has also committed to installing a minimum of 400 charging points at what it calls ‘priority Northern Territory Government buildings’.


It is the government’s hope that eventually, previous buyers of vehicles with internal combustion engines displacing two litres or less will opt for EVs instead – in 2019, 36,000 such vehicles were registered.


So far this year ending June 30, 5197 new vehicles have been sold in the Northern Territory.

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