VicRoads is sending out road-user charge emails to Victorian EVtax customers

EV owners will pay to use the roads from July 1st. ...

Today, Victorian EV owners began receiving emails from VicRoads regarding the upcoming ‘Zero and low emission vehicle road-user charge’, also know as the EVtax.

As we reported back on May 25th, the new law passed and is due to come into effect from July 1st, 2021, just 2 weeks from now.

The new EV tax will see 2 different per kilometre rates depending on characteristics of the vehicle, as a small bonus, there is a $100 registration concession available.

  • 2.5 cents per km for electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles;
  • 2.0 cents per km for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

With the average distanced travelled each year by a light passenger vehicles being approximately 13,500km, EV owners should expect to pay an additional $337.50 a year.

How the EV Tax works?

On the 1st of July, EV owners, will be sent a request to declare your vehicle’s current odometer reading by providing a photograph of your dashboard odometer (Model 3 owners should look to their modern center display for this). After establishing how many km your electric vehicle currently has on it, you’ll then be asked to pay the tax each subsequent renewal of your registration.

In Victoria, vehicle owners have the ability to select from 3, 6 or 12 month options to pay for the registration and the easiest method of submission is via the VicRoads website, but you will need to register if you haven’t already.

Exceptions

It seems there are a number of exemptions from the Victorian EV tax.

First off, those Licensed Motor Car Traders (LMCTs) are exempt from the road-user charge for the first 1,500km of travel in the first registration period (irrespective of the length of the period). This is intended to cover any short periods of ZLEV use, such as new vehicle pre-delivery or vehicle transfer, without the need to provide evidence to claim exemption.

There’s a couple of exceptions for these charges, with the ZLEV road-user charges not applying to mobile plant vehicles such as electric forklifts, telehandlers or special work vehicles. ZLEV road-user charges does not apply to motorcycles, which is confusing, particularly given there are electric bikes on the road in the state.

Finally use on private roads, that is distances travelled by ZLEVs on private roads or agricultural lands can be exempt. Evidence to support exemption claims include:

  • Proof of address for rural properties
  • Proof of employment (eg. agriculture)
  • Photographs of the relevant vehicle’s odometer and other photographs to support an application for an exemption
  • Diarised entries in electronic or manual logbooks
  • Telemetric data with global position system capabilities
  • Inputs and outputs from in-vehicle tracking applications, including any applications developed by the Department of Transport

Obvious Issues

The second last item, ‘Telemetric data with global position system capabilities’ is an interesting one. Potentially an automaker like Tesla, who has the telemetry and GPS location data available to log, could do so for the purposes of generating a precise calculation of the distance traveled in Victoria. This would solve the obvious issue of interstate travel, where many thousands of km could be added to the odometer between registration periods, for family holidays etc.

Until then, the existing model, these km, traveled on non-Victorian roads, would be money that goes to the Victorian Government. There’s also the issue of many interstate EVs, particularly NSW and SA that border VIC, who’s EVs won’t be paying registration or the EV tax for the road-use they conduct in Victoria.

So yes, right now, there’s some very big gaping holes in the policy.

Examples

VicRoads provides a couple of examples to assist people in estimating how much the new charge may cost them.

Example 1: I drive a Tesla Model S that I use to commute to work

Patrick usually uses his Tesla Model S to commute to work and to get around on the weekends. He typically drives 10,000km a year. Patrick will need to pay 2.5 cents/km – $250 a year in total – in distance-based charges.

Example 2: I drive a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV that I use a lot

Natasha owns a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. She drives about 20,000km per year. Natasha will need to pay 2.0 cents/km, or $400 per year, in distance-based charges.

Natasha usually remembers to charge her car at home each night but sometimes she forgets. On those days, she fills her car with regular unleaded petrol and pays the associated fuel excise. She still needs to pay the ZLEV road-user charge, even when using petrol. That is why PHEVs are charged a lower per kilometre rate than electric and other zero-emission vehicles.

The email sent to Victorian EV owners by VicRoads today reads:

Dear {First name} {Last name},

From 1 July 2021, a new distance-based road-user charge will be introduced by the Victorian Government for all registered zero and low emission vehicles (ZLEVs).

As the operator of vehicle {Registration number}, you will be required to participate in this scheme by providing declarations of your vehicle odometer to determine the distance travelled by your vehicle. Registered operators of ZLEV vehicles are eligible for a $100 annual discount on registration. This will be automatically deducted from your annual registration costs.

What happens next?

On 1 July, you’ll be sent a request to declare your vehicle’s current odometer reading by providing a photograph of your dashboard odometer. Any days between 1 July and when you submit your opening reading will be calculated based on your average daily use.

Each time you renew your registration you’ll be asked to provide an updated odometer reading and then be invoiced for your road use.

Failure to comply may result in your vehicle registration being suspended or cancelled, or other penalties.

The easiest way to declare an odometer reading is online via a myVicRoads account, so make sure you sign-up before 1 July.

Alternatively, you can visit a VicRoads Customer Service Centre to make your declarations.

Why has this charge been introduced?

The Victorian Government is introducing a ZLEV road user charge to ensure all motorists pay their fair share towards the costs of building and maintaining Victoria’s road network.

The charge is designed to ensure ZLEV owners pay a fraction of the motor vehicle‑related taxes and charges that traditional internal combustion engine vehicle owners pay.

The Victorian Government is also investing in the accelerated adoption of zero and low emission vehicles, including new electric-vehicle-charging infrastructure and reforms to enable electric vehicle-ready new buildings, which is made possible by the ZLEV road-user charge.

Visit the VicRoads website for more information. Sign up for myVicRoads.

Yours sincerely
Director, Customer Services

As much as we may not like it, the EV tax is here in Victoria and we’re going to have to pay it. There’s always hope that a future Government would reconsider taxing electric vehicles so early into their entry into the country.

With less than 1% of new car sales being EVs, this move to introduce a tax now, certainly looks politically opportunistic, and works as a disincentive to other efforts in the Government to accelerate EV adoption (like the A$3,000 rebate), which will assisting the same Government in achieving their goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

Can existing EV owners afford another few hundred dollars a year, sure, most can, particularly given the dramatically lower ongoing costs of owning an EV, but the point is, we should have to. The larger issue I foresee is that this rate of charges now are not locked in, they can, and will be changed. As EV adoption does increase over the next decade, the Government now has a funding tap they can turn on or off, depending on the budget challenges of the day.

Even on the VicRoads website, they list ‘This funds the development and maintenance of Australian roads.’ While some of the income generated by the EV tax may indeed find its way into road maintenance, there is no requirement to do so.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021
2 Comments on this post.

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  • Rosco
    17 June 2021 at 12:21 am

    Does that mean we get a discount for fossil fuel powered cars then?

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  • Neil
    17 June 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Just wondering if i get a tax rebate from the electricity my EV uses from charging at my home address? Otherwise it becomes a double tax as I’m only using all that extra power due to my vehicle. Obviously if you use a destination charger for free in a shopping centre or other public outlet it’s only fair if you have to pay a levy but in principle taxing something that is already taxed (home electricity) is wrong. Also many people bought these cars after carefully doing the maths on what you save on fuel, services etc over the time they intend to own the vehicle compared with the extra cost of an EV. It isn’t a vanity purchase (model 3’s don’t look like Ferrari’s) but a carefully calculated investment as well as a greener choice so to speak. With that in mind why couldn’t they have made the tax only applicable to vehicles purchased after 1st July 2021? Please anyone clarify these issues and explain to me where I’m wrong??? I’m reasonable and will listen.. And to be honest it’s not really the money but the principle of what they are doing which currently feels sickening…

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