The Western Australian government has launched the Clean Energy Car Fund doted with almost $60 million (AUS – almost 40 million euros). This includes rebates for the purchase of battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and charging infrastructure, but also an extra road tax for drivers of these vehicles.
The Gowen government will provide up to 10,000 rebates worth $3,500 to residents buying a new electric car (EV) or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCEV) up to a value of $70,000. This part of the fund has been earmarked with some $36.5 million Australian dollars (approx. 24.2 million euros).
Other areas being funded from the total amount is for “for climate action research and planning” which has a budged of $31 million (21 million euros). Although one part of this is said to include electric buses and public transport schemes, the government has not given further details on the amounts or targets of these – only revealing that it will be “introducing electric buses onto the network through our current electric bus trial in Joondalup,” according to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
In other areas of transport, part of this “climate action research and planning” fund will be used to “implement strategies to reduce emissions and transition the agriculture, freight and regional heavy transport industries to net zero as part of the Sectoral Emissions Reduction Strategies.” The total amount must also cover carbon farming projects, funds to develop a Carbon Farming Industry Development Plan as well as a fund for climate risk assesments, reporting and adamptation planning for government agencies.
Charging infrastructure will take special focus in the fund with a further $22.6 million (approx. 15 million euros) committed to increase EV charging infrastructure across the State. The funding will be granted for local governments, small and medium sized businesses and non-profit institutions, railway stations, and eight new charging stations across the National Highway so that charging extends all the way across the vast southern coast of the state to South Australia. Charging infrastructure in the state was funded in the middle of last year for 45 locations for an electric vehicle fast-charging network in the state.
Simultaneous to the $60 million AUS in funding with the Clean Energy Car Fund, drivers chosing clean vehicles will have to pay an extra road tax. This kind of policy was already introduced among considerable outrage in the state of Victoria. This charge, says now the Western Australian government will “ensure all motorists pay their fair share towards the maintenance and construction of WA roads.” Strangely perhaps, the government does not explain why those driving non-polluting vehicles must pay more for roads, one can only assume they are looking to recoup the funding simultaniously granted.
The Gowen government says that the charge for electric and hydrogen vehicles will have a base rate of 2.5 cents per kilometre and two cents per kilometre for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Developing options on systems for monitoring and collecting this future road user charge is itself to require an investment of $200,000 which the government will fund out of the same pot as the above-listed subsidies.
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