Tasmania's energy minister has described federal Labor's target of having 50 per cent of new car sales to be electric by 2030 as "arbitrary", but believes Tasmania's renewable focus makes it better placed to support electric vehicle uptake.
Guy Barnett announced $450,000 in government grants for organisations to install fast charging or destination charging stations last week, and has himself test-driven electric cars making it from Launceston to Hobart and back on a single charge.
He said they remained cost-prohibitive for most Tasmanians, however, and was concerned that setting a specific target could limit affordable new car choices.
"We support and encourage the use of electricity where appropriate, but for the government to demand for example 50 per cent by 2030, the fear would be the imposition of extra cost on Tasmanians that couldn't afford it," Mr Barnett said.
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"We have to try to get the balance right. We certainly support the use of electric vehicles wherever possible and appropriate, subject to people's ability to pay."
The ACT Government has set a nation-leading target of having 100 per cent of its government fleet to be electric by 2020-21, and is quickly ramping up the installation of charging stations.
Mr Barnett said the Tasmanian Government would "consider all the options", but the state was already doing its fair share on renewable energy.
"Being the renewable energy state, we are way ahead of the rest of Australia in terms of being 100 per cent fully self-sufficient and fully renewable by 2022," he said.
Labor's policy - announced in the lead-up to the May election - also included carbon emission targets for new cars. It does not mention any difference to second-hand car sales.
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It attracted heated debate last week, including senior Coalition members claiming it would "end the weekend" and mean tradies would be unable to buy a Toyota Hilux in the future.
Toyota Australia itself has a target of selling 5.5 million electric vehicles annually by 2030, including utes, and a zero carbon dioxide emissions target for vehicles and sites by 2050.
The company believed significant infrastructure would be required before mass electric vehicle uptake could be achieved.
In its Climate Solutions Package, the Coalition itself found that modelling indicated electric vehicle uptake of between 25 and 50 per cent for new car sales by 2030.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Australia lagged behind other nations in electric vehicle uptake, and it could also be a way to boost local manufacturing after the demise of the Australian car industry.
Transitioning to an electric car future
Use of Tasmania's first electric vehicle fast charging station - in the Paterson East car park in Launceston - has started to increase after its launch in October.
The charger takes 30 minutes to fully charge a vehicle.
In the first six months, the charger was used for 66 sessions including 29 in March.
City of Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten said Launceston was leading the state.
"The installation of Tasmania's first publically available DC fast charger was an important first step in unlocking electric vehicle usage in the state," he said.
"he rise of electric vehicles is important for the state as the zero-emission driving capabilities of EVs ensures we can keep our biggest asset - our air and environment - clean for residents and tourists."
Tasmania had 90 electric car charging points in February.