The head of BMW has urged the government to do more to incentivise the purchase of hybrid or electric vehicles.
BMW Group Australia’s chief executive officer Marc Werner said this week that he was fed up with carmakers and independent bodies “doing the heavy lifting” on EVs and hybrid vehicles, and called out the government for not offering tax breaks to buyers.
“Here in Australia we continue to languish in the doldrums as senior government officials concentrate on their private affairs rather than formulating the advancement of our society,” Werner said.
“If there could be any doubt in the minds of our country’s leaders that they need to do something, anything, then they only need to take a look at the global auto industry.”
The company currently offers a wide-range of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, headlined by the i3 and i8. Last year it achieved cost parity between its 530e PHEV and 530i petrol, albeit at the not-inconsiderable sum of $110,500.
In spite of his reservations, Werner did manage to draw praise to the Coalition and in particular MP Josh Frydenberg for his efforts in promoting electric vehicles.
“I will say it was heartening to see the minister for energy, Josh Frydenberg, write an opinion piece in January citing that he expects to see the EV take up increase dramatically, with one million EVs on roads by 2030,” Werner said.
“While these targets are extremely light compared to other country’s targets, at least the government is thinking about the situation and a policy for lower emissions vehicles, and we commend the minister for his foresight.
Currently, Australian’s are provided with a reduced luxury car tax if they buy a low-emissions car over the price threshold (currently around $65k) but Werner is also urging for stamp duty to be axed on these cars too.
Countries within Northern Europe, China and even California in the United States are leading the charge to help kickstart a transition to electric technology. It is thought that backing the future of electric vehicles now will ultimately improve scale and drive down overall EV costs in the long term.
Further evident within these countries is the commitment to achieving tangible emissions targets. Already France and Britain have committed to stopping new diesel and petrol sales by 2040, while Norway and the Netherlands are hoping to do the same thing by as early as 2025.
“We need urgently to settle short- and medium-term support options to kickstart our market. Things like strong EV targets, CO2 emissions targets, extended charging infrastructure and tax incentives, all work in other countries, why not Australia?” Werner said.
“This will allow us to catch up, the world has given us 20 years notice that we are transitioning to EV. There’s no excuse for the government to ignore this opportunity.”