Tue, 24 May 2022

SYDNEY, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The government of the state of Western Australia (WA) on Tuesday announced 60 million Australian dollars (about 42 million U.S. dollars) of funding to incentivize the state's transition to zero emission roads.

The program, dubbed the Clean Energy Car Fund, would allow 10,000 residents in the state to receive 3,500 Australian dollars (about 2,440 U.S. dollars) rebates when purchasing an electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

"Our 3,500 Australian dollars rebates are one of the most generous grants on offer in the nation and will see an extra 10,000 electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on our roads," said WA Premier Mark McGowan while making the announcement.

While the lion's share of the fund would go towards rebates, the state would also use part of the fund to expand the state's lagging electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that the combination of policies would incentivize people to switch to using EVs, adding that the state would also be rolling out a new fleet of electric buses and reducing public transport costs.

"Government initiatives like METRONET and the two-zone cap will encourage more people onto public transport, helping to reduce transport emissions," said Saffioti.

The announcement saw WA join other Australian states and territories, which have all already offered some kind of financial incentives to its residents buying EVs, either in the form of government rebates or interest free loans.

Despite this, when stacked up to similar countries around the world Australia still trails in its uptake of EVs.

According to a report from Australian automotive platform, Carsguide, in Australia EVs accounted for just 1.6 percent of car sales in 2021. This same figure was 11.6 percent in Britain, and 65 percent in the world EV leader, Norway.

A poll conducted by the platform showed that 87 percent of Australians find cost being the primary barrier to purchasing an EV.

As Australia's general elections will be held later this month, emission reductions have become a major issue, with the opposition pledging to exempt EVs from regular car import tariffs to increase affordability.

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