The new national electric vehicle (EV) strategy is "sparse on detail", lacks purchaser incentives to enter the EV market, and fails to develop standard emissions policy for new cars, according to the Tasmanian Electric Vehicle Association.
Many car companies are now producing electric vehicles but the standard consumer is still priced out of the new car market, with the average price sitting at more than $50,000.
The Federal Government's new Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy says that 30 per cent of all new car sales will be electric by 2030, and promises $250 million into the sector, mostly into electric charger infrastructure.
The strategy however provides little information on how EV purchases will increase.
Australian Electric Vehicle Association state branch media contact Cliff Attwater said purchaser incentives have proved effective in stimulating the uptake of EVs overseas, but added the lowering of EV prices, combined with fuel and maintenance savings, was reducing the need for such incentives.
"The cost difference today in Australia is less than it was in the times when those incentives were introduced overseas, although they are still important and would provide a lot of stimulus to purchasers."
Mr Attwater added that a national emission standards policy could have a greater impact on electric vehicle sales.
He said these policies provide stimulus for companies to develop cleaner, more fuel efficient cars with low emissions, and to offer more and possibly cheaper electric vehicles to the market.
"Probably more important than a purchase incentive is the Federal Government's failure to develop realistic emission standards," he said.
"These standards mean car manufacturers can sell some dirty cars but they have to offset these by offering some really clean, competitively priced electric ones...It puts pressure on manufactures to up their game, and that has much more of an impact as having a subsidy for consumers."
Mr Attwater said that another failure in the national policy was its absence of a promise to convert its Federal Government car fleet to electric.
He said such a failure "shows a fairly week level of commitment".
"Most individuals don't buy new cars. 70 per cent of the market is used cars, and most of those used cars come through fleets, so getting electric cars into fleets is important," Mr Attwater said.
"Several states have announced they will convert their state government fleets to electric vehicles, typically by 2030. The Federal Government could simply start by saying they will convert their fleet. It's a cost they can manage, and it would be a contribution towards developing an electric vehicle used car market."
What about business fleets?
Mr Attwater said some of the challenges for businesses converting to electric vehicle fleets was not simply the higher cost price, but the unknown maintenance, fuel costs and resale values.
"Businesses more often will look at whole of life cost of having the vehicle than just the up-front purchase price. They are more likely to factor in cost savings in fuel and maintenance, and depending on the fleet, some have fairly high kilometres per year," he said.
"There is a very little established used car market for electric vehicles, and leasing companies assume the sales prices will be quite low. They also don't have a lot of experience yet with the actual maintenance costs, so they are not necessarily recognising all of the savings."
He said new EV purchasers face an eight month wait.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.