The State Government has delayed the introduction of a user charge for electric cars by a year to allow time to monitor similar measures interstate.

Key points:

  • The SA Government has delayed an electric vehicle road user charge by 12 months
  • The government wants to monitor the introduction of similar taxes interstate
  • It will begin industry consultation this week

The Treasurer Rob Lucas announced as part of his State Budget in November last year that the government planned to charge electric vehicle drivers for using the road, just as other motorists pay the fuel excise duty.

The charge was expected to raise about $1 million per year starting from July this year, but the government has announced a 12-month extension.

Mr Lucas said the extension will provide more opportunity to monitor developments in other states, such as Victoria, to ensure a degree of “national consistency”.

Victoria’s government is expected to introduce a road user charge for electric cars from July 1.

Mr Lucas said South Australia’s legislation will be based on a similar distance-travelled scheme as Victoria, where drivers provide their odometer readings and will not include GPS tracking.

“The reality is, if you’re driving an electric vehicle then you’re not paying fuel excise at the pump and you’re contributing significantly less to the vital upkeep of our vast road network,” he said.

“Ultimately this reform will have to happen, as more and more Australian motorists shift to zero and low-emission vehicles.

“All governments will need to ensure there is sufficient funding for ongoing road maintenance and infrastructure investment.”

The government will begin industry consultation this week.

An electric car recharges at a charging station in Adelaide’s CBD.(

Supplied: CSIRO


User charge is discouraging for buyers

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said it was premature to impose a tax on electric cars.

“The priority today should be putting in measures to help more people choose to drive an electric vehicle, and adding in new charges, like road user charges, later on in the decade,” he said.

Mr Jafari said the government should have consulted with the industry before announcing the proposed user charge.

“What they found was as a result they made a whole bunch of mistakes in their assumptions of how it would work, how it would apply and the really damaging impact it would have on something they supported — the transition to electric and zero-emission vehicles.”

Mr Jafari said it was sensible for the government to spend at least the next 12 months working out the logistics of the tax.

“We’ve heard a lot of thought bubbles coming out of the government around whether we would put in GPS trackers, have people self-report; in Victoria, we have heard them say the police will do random checks of people’s odometers,” he said.

“Clearly these are things that haven’t been entirely thought through.”

Under the model proposed in Victoria, charges will apply to light vehicles that are not predominantly powered by a fuel source subject to the federal fuel excise, such as petrol, diesel or LPG.

A 2.5-cent/km charge would apply to zero-emission cars and hydrogen vehicles and a 2.0-cent/km charge would apply to plug-in hybrid electric cars.