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Financial incentives not the key to electric car uptake: Mazda

The Mazda MX-30 E35 Astina is the brand’s first EV, and is priced at $65,490 BOCs.

Mazda Australia’s first electric car, the MX-30 Electric, will start hitting local roads from August this year, but the brand believes the key to local EV adoption isn’t with cost-cutting incentives like the discount recently announced by the Victorian government.

Speaking to CarsGuide, Mazda Australia marketing boss Alastair Doak said renewable energy and more charging options should be the emphasis for governing bodies.

“I think we’ve been consistent in saying our focus is more around a really solid plan to get more renewable energy into the system, and making sure that when you do have an EV or a PHEV, that you are actually charging it using renewable energy,” he said.

“And I guess second to that would be offering more recharging infrastructure, we see that as the key to long-term growth of EV sales in Australia rather than short-term cost cutting.”

Earlier this week, the Victorian government announced a subsidy of $3000 for EV buyers looking to purchase a vehicle under $69,000, which includes the $65,490 before on-road costs Mazda MX-30 E35 Astina.

This is part of the state government’s plan to have half of all new cars sold in Victoria to be with either battery electric or hydrogen fuel-cell electric powertrains by the end of the decade.

Plans for 50 new charging stations are also underway, with the government pledging $19 million to get them built across the state.

The Victorian government’s commitment to emissions-free motoring seems at odds with a proposal to roll out the world’s first road-user charge that will sting EV owners, which has been labelled the “worst electric vehicle policy in the world” by a coalition of organisations including Volkswagen and Uber.

Regardless, EV adoption in Australia has been slow, despite brands such as Hyundai, Nissan, Tesla, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, MG and now Mazda offering tailpipe emissions-free models locally.

So far this year, only 1255 new EVs have been sold, accounting for just 0.35 per cent of overall volume after four months of trading.

Mr Doak said that Mazda is taking a wait and see approach with its MX-30 Electric, committing to just 100 units for now to gauge interest.

“We’re bringing in an initial number of 100 … we know that Australia isn’t the most generous country in welcoming EVs to date,” he said.

“We’ll see what the take up rate is like, and then we’ll order more if the demand is there.”