AGL Energy Ltd joins Tesla to push for electric vehicles

Source: Wikipedia

Australian buyers of Tesla’s Model 3 electric car are expected pay at least $60,000 when the cars start being delivered in late 2017.

But a coalition of not-for-profit and for-profit companies such as AGL Energy Ltd (ASX: AGL) are pushing the government for a raft of policy changes to make electric cars cheaper and accelerate their take up to combat one of Australia’s fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

That includes a number of incentives such as making them exempt from fringe benefits tax (FBT), up-front purchase incentives, rebates on annual registration, priority lanes and reduced CBD parking fees. The coalition is also seeking incentives to install charging facilities and mandated targets for electric vehicle buying in vehicle fleets.

One of the current issues facing anyone wanting to buy an electric car, particularly a Tesla, is that Tesla only has seven supercharger stations in Australia currently, extending from Melbourne up to Sydney and on to Port Macquarie. See map below

Tesla supercharger stations

Source: Tesla

Also in the collation is NSW transmission network operator Transgrid, Queensland power supplier Ergon Energy and car maker Renault. Trans grid executive general manager Greg Garvin has pointed to the wind-down in Australia’s car manufacturing industry and says now is the time for policy to support the uptake of electric vehicles.

Only 948 electric cars were sold in Australia in 2014. Tesla sold 50,000 of its Model S electric cars alone in 2015, up from 31,000 in 2014. Total vehicle sales in 2014 in Australia were 1,113,224, with electric vehicles representing 0.09%.

Australia has 13.5 million registered vehicles on the road, and our transport sector is reported to produce 17% of Australia’s carbon emissions. Electric vehicles could reduce carbon dioxide from road transport by up to 47% by 2050 according to the report.

Energy suppliers like AGL and Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) are ramping up their renewable product offerings for Australians, rolling out solar energy plans, including without any upfront costs, as well as increasingly offering battery storage solutions.

Foolish takeaway

It’s clear that Australia lags other developed countries when it comes to electric vehicle takeup. Maybe it’s something the federal government needs to consider.

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