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Should government be doing more to help electric car sales? BMW thinks so

BMW’s next all electric model will be the iX3 SUV, which will give the brand a rival to the Mercedes-Benz EQC.

BMW Australia is charging ahead with its electric vehicle rollout with two fresh models in 2021, but believes government needs to do more to help incentivise the zero-tailpipe-emissions technology.

Speaking exclusively with CarsGuide, BMW Australia boss Vikram Pawah said out the Victorian and South Australia state governments for recently announcing plans to tax full- and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

“We believe any tax that hinders the potential for uptake of electrified vehicles in Australia is highly detrimental,” he said.

“BMW Group is committed to continuing to increase its new plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicle product offering to the local market in the future, including with the iX3 and iX in 2021, but we also require the support of governments and authorities to encourage customers to make the step towards electrified vehicle ownership.”

South Australia was first to announce its intention for a road-user tax in November as electric vehicles (EVs) are exempt from the fuel excise imposed on petrol and diesel cars, with Victoria following suit soon thereafter with a tariff of 2.5 and two cents per kilometre for battery electric and plug-in hybrids respectively.

This flies in the face of overseas markets such as Norway and California, which are stimulating EV adoption with incentives such as financial discounts, free charging and tax reductions.

In the EV space, BMW Australia currently offers its full-electric i3 hatchback and Mini Cooper SE, as well as plug-in versions of the 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series and X5. It’s i8 plug-in flagship is now discontinued.

Next year the brand is also planning to launch three all-electric models – the i4 sedan, iX large SUV and China-built iX3 to better take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace.

Despite the lack of government support, Mr Pawah said BMW is willing to step in and offer its own enticements, but also called for a unified approach to Australia’s EV rollout.

“We are playing our own part to encourage uptake,” he said. “BMW Group has created a tailored program for small to medium enterprises seeking to purchase a new BMW or Mini electric vehicle with a $1500 incentive for new vehicle purchases for company use.

“We also have a successful partnership with Chargefox, Australia’s largest electric vehicle charging network backed by 100 per cent renewable energy.

“This allows us to provide our i3 and i3s 120 Ah customers with a three-year charging subscription including a complimentary 250kW/year allowance.

“OEMs should not be the only stakeholders pushing forward with new product introductions and building incentive programs. It needs to be a combined effort where the manufacturers and the authorities are moving ahead collectively.”