South Australia Launches Electric Car And EV Smart Charger Subsidies

Electric vehicle subsidies in South Australia

Subsidies to support the purchase of electric vehicles and EV smart chargers are now available in South Australia.

Electric cars are still an uncommon sight on South Australian roads and the Marshall Government says it wants to help change this with a total package worth approximately $35.2 million.

South Australia’s EV Subsidy

A $3,000 subsidy is now available for the purchase of a new battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, with a price cap of $68,750 inclusive of GST.

If you’ve already ordered a qualifying EV or have taken delivery and haven’t registered your electric car yet, you’re in luck. The subsidy applies to vehicles first registered in South Australia from 28 October 2021 and there is no restriction on when a vehicle was originally purchased to be eligible.

An individual can claim the subsidy for one eligible vehicle and a business can claim for up to two.

“This is a green light for South Australians who may have been considering purchasing a new electric vehicle, to take advantage of the generous incentive now on the table,” said South Australia’s Treasurer, Rob Lucas.

There are 7,000 of these subsidies available.

Free EV Registration In SA

Also available is a 3-year registration fee exemption for new battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles first registered from 28 October 2021. It will be available for new registrations up to 30 June 2025 and again, the cap on the value of the vehicles is $68,750 inclusive of GST.

There’s still a bit of work to do on integrating this, so initially eligible electric vehicle subsidy recipients will receive an additional $138 as a rebate on the first year’s registration charge.

EV Smart Charger Subsidy

Also launched yesterday were subsidies of up to $2,000 for households with new or existing plug-in EVs for smart charging solutions.

So, what is a “smart EV charger”? In this case, it’s considered an EV charger that aligns vehicle charging to times when household and state-wide electricity demand is low according to Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

Other than that, eligibility isn’t clear at this point as Treasury is yet to provide more details.

Minister van Holst Pellekaan says the use of smart chargers will contribute to an even more stable grid, put downwards pressure on power prices and take advantage of SA’s abundant wind and solar energy. RenewEconomy recently noted the share of wind and solar in SA’s grid has averaged 62 per cent over the last 12 months, and rooftop solar power has delivered up to 92 per cent of local demand at times.

The 7,500 smart EV charger subsidies will be available until they are all snapped up, or for the next four years – whichever comes first.

More information on electric car incentives in SA can be found here.

An EV Road User Charge – But Not For A While

Something aspiring EV owners in SA should be aware of is a levy that will eventually be charged on electric vehicles in South Australia based on distanced travelled, and in addition to registration.

The levy will be based on charges of:

  • 2.0 cents per kilometre for plug-in hybrid vehicles; and
  • 2.5 cents per kilometre for any other electric vehicles.

Rates will be indexed annually from 2022-23 by movements in the Adelaide Consumer Price Index.

However, the road user charge won’t commence until 1 July 2027 or when the battery electric vehicle sales reach 30 per cent of new motor vehicles sale in South Australia, whichever happens first.

South Australia’s road user charge was originally to have kicked in from next year, but there was some strong opposition to it. Victoria has already introduced a road user charge; which was dubbed the “worst EV policy in the world“. This was quickly followed by an EV subsidy and the situation was likened to robbing Peter to pay Peter.

If you’re interested in electric cars, check out SolarQuotes TV Episode 10: The Ultimate Guide To Electric Vehicles, and also SQ’s Homeowner’s Guide To Solar And Electric Cars.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Geoff Miell says

    A $3,000 subsidy is now available for the purchase of a new battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, with a price cap of $68,750 inclusive of GST.

    Where would South Australians refill their hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (HFCEVs)?

    As far as I can tell, the only public hydrogen refilling stations available in Australia include at:

    * 51 Mildura St, Fyshwick ACT
    * 494 Grieve Parade, Altona North VIC

    A third refilling station is apparently due in Brisbane by the end of this year. And specialist fleets have access to hydrogen refilling stations in Melbourne & Canberra. Hyundai also has a hydrogen refuelling point behind its Sydney headquarters, however it is not open to the public.

    I think a subsidy for HFCEVs is pointless without having adequate availability of hydrogen refilling stations.

  2. George Kaplan says

    The 2.5 cents per kilometre road\fuel tax for non-hybrid EVs, is still far far lower than what petrol users are required to pay.

    At petrol costing $1.50 per litre, you’re paying roughly 13.6c for GST and 41.2c per litre in fuel tax. Assuming a range of 10 km per litre (which is fairly poor), that equates to 5.48c per km, assuming my maths hasn’t gone horribly wrong.

    It’s not big sums, but if you’re travelling hundreds of kilometres those few cents will add up – $2.50 per 100 km versus $5.48 per 100 km.

  3. Des Scahill says

    Well, SA is at least trying to do what it can to help kick-start a new industry.

    But where are all the eventually needed mass consumer market customers going to come from? And when?

    Given all the ‘disruptions’ currently occurring and which are also increasing in both frequency and intensity, I suspect it’s going to take a lot longer than many of us might expect before some kind of ‘new normal’ finally arrives.

    Until it does, I suspect many will delay purchase of a new EV or HFCEV for as long as it takes for the twin criteria of both a rapid drop in price and increased availability of charging and refueling facilities to be far more adequately met.


    • Geoff Miell says

      Des Scahill,
      But where are all the eventually needed mass consumer market customers going to come from? And when?

      With likely rapidly rising petroleum fuel prices, and perhaps petroleum supply scarcity added to the mix, BEVs would become a ‘no brainer’.
      See my comments at:

      A Goehring & Rozencwajg blog post on Nov 19 headlined Running Out of Spare Capacity, looking at the global oil market outlook over the next year, concludes with:

      The only countries with material remaining spare capacity are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Iran, and Russia. Iraq has spare capacity, but given the security considerations, it is extremely unlikely production will grow in the near or medium term. We have discussed our skepticism regarding Saudi spare capacity in the past and intend to revisit the important topic next quarter. Ultimately, we believe Saudi Arabia can produce between 10 and 10.5 mm b/d – well below the stated 12.2 m b/d capacity. Saudi has only produced above 10 mm b/d on two occasions and both times it was for only a brief period and the fields had to subsequently be rested. Assuming Saudi has pumping capacity for 10.5 m b/d (a big if), we believe total OPEC+ crude capacity to be 46.9 m b/d – not enough to meet global demand by 4Q22.

      Twelve months ago, few people listened when we predicted an energy crisis was imminent. Now, our models suggest that we could be entering a new period in the history of oil – a period without any excess global pumping capability. The ramifications could be huge. Investors today have hardly any exposure to oil producing companies at all. After having averaged 10-15% of the S&P 500 for decades (and reaching a maximum of 30%), energy stocks today stand at less than 3% of index.

      Just as few investors saw the energy crisis, fewer believe an oil crisis is looming. Position yourselves accordingly.

      • George Kaplan says

        Geoff, you didn’t address US capacity – though the link you provide does. It suggests demand will exceed capacity by 4Q22 as well – with current shale basins suffering decline, but fails to address untapped\unprofitable oil fields, or those currently out of play due to environmental considerations. Given a new administration in 2024, or even a new Congress in 2022, that could change.

        Given China has greater control over the EV market than the petrol market, an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality may endure.

        • Geoff Miell says

          George Kaplan,
          Earth scientist David Hughes has examined the data behind the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest projections for shale oil and gas output and finds its long-term outlook is so biased, it borders on fibbing, in a new report titled Shale Reality Check 2021.

          So why are US tight oil and shale gas resources greatly overestimated? Hughes’ reasons include:

          1. Highly productive “sweet spots” are a small proportion of what are often depicted as very large plays;

          2. Worsening geology ultimately trumps technology;

          3. Wells can only be so close together;

          4. The rate of technological improvement is slowing; and

          5. High decline rates will inevitably overcome increased drilling rates and production will fall.

          Hughes thinks we are headed into a future foretold by the Barnett Shale much sooner than the EIA will admit and policymakers and the public realize. We are not ready for that future.

          I’d suggest a new US administration (or Congress) won’t change US tight oil and shale gas geology.

    • I am waiting for the mass produced budget electric cars before i purchase.
      Currently all the EV’s are chock full of all the bells an whistles and are being sold at a premium.
      I think I heard somewhere there are 22 moving parts in an EV, vs hundreds in a petrol car, then why are they so expensive.
      I dont need 450km range, a 30 speaker stereo system and a 3.0sec 0 to 100. Give me a practical city EV with 300Kms and a $30,000 price and ill get one.

      • James, the cost isn’t in the moving parts – it’s in the battery.
        EVs won’t be cheap until someone figures out how to make cheap batteries.

      • George Kaplan says

        James, I agree with you about not needing the stereo system, rocket boosted acceleration, or any of the other bells and whistles, but range actually is a critical consideration. Something limited to a mere 300 km simply won’t sell outside the cities.

        The example I keep going back to is the Tesla Model 3. While it can do 510 km of city driving in mild weather, that range drops to 250 km when doing highway driving in the cold. Sure cold isn’t too common in Australia – Tasmania aside, but what of baking hot summers? Does AC have as high of power use as heating? My point is any non-urban vehicles need far more range else thy simply cannot replace petrol.

        Shepparton to Melbourne and back is over 350 km, Longreach to Rockhampton is almost 700 km. The Tesla Model 3 can’t do the latter, and might not manage the former. Even IF a fastcharge station is available, that adds another 30 minutes to your journey. Should no fastcharge option be available, well better tack another day on because you won’t be going anywhere.

  4. I like the idea of the smart chargers.
    Plug it in and let it charge when the prices are low.
    I would hope you could program it to run during specific time periods or when solar hits a certain point as well.

  5. I can’t understand why luxury car tax is applied to EVs.
    Further, it is almost impossible to purchase an EV vehicle with long range and keep under the “luxury” tax purchase price limit.
    The luxury tax doesn’t apply to boats so why the disincentive to buy a battery electric vehicle.
    To rub salt into the wound, free registration in some states is about to be offered to EV owners again pegged to the luxury car tax limit.
    In due course so called luxury EVs that have missed out on all incentives still have the same planned road taxes applied to them.
    Alright I get the fact that raising taxes on “luxury” vehicles is an easy gift for governments revenue raising however surely incentives should be offered to everyone who takes global warming seriously.

    • Ken Smith,
      It’s also an energy security issue. IMO, the current Federal Government is ‘asleep at the wheel’ as we rush headlong towards the energy security abyss.

      There was a parliamentary debate on 24 Nov 2021 on Matters of Public Importance, raised by the Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, on Australia’s fuel security.
      Transcript at:

      I highlight part of the Member for Warringah, Zali Steggall’s speech, from time interval 0:01:24 in the YouTube video titled Zali Steggall speaks on fuel security in the wake of COP26, given below:

      Australians spend $29 billion per year on imported fuel, and we are highly dependent on these imports. We cannot service our needs with oil from domestic oil production. It’s not enough, and it’s the wrong type of oil. Over 90 per cent of our fuels are imported from countries in the Middle East, Asia and North America. It leaves Australia exposed to supply disruptions in our region emanating from conflict, natural disasters and other pressures. We hear the government talk about national security. Then it should care about this issue, because it is intrinsically linked. We’ve seen with the pandemic what happens with supply chain disruptions and what they do to prices. At the moment, we’re seeing the price of a barrel of oil go through the roof, and no amount of sovereign oil refinery capacity will keep us secure from these disruptions. It’s a fundamental national security issue.

      You only have to look at the skyrocketing price of petrol to think: is this system really working for Australian households? We’re now paying almost $2 a litre at the bowser. No platitudes or magical thinking from the Prime Minister will reduce petrol prices. No blaming another side of politics or doing the usual political football is going to change that reality. Rather, we need to come up with some proper planning and not just prop up something that isn’t working. We need a transition to move away. But there’s no credible plan to wean us off this. The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has projected that oil demand will increase to 2040 if we don’t change policies.

      • George Kaplan says

        We’re now paying almost $2 a litre at the bowser?!?!? Where does Steggall buy her petrol from, Harrods? A quick look at petrol prices shows them ranging from about $1.40 to $1.60, which is a far cry from $2 per litre!

        Ironically enough on another site a chap is complaining that efforts to phase ICE out are simply an attempt to return to the 19th century, except no horse travel means we’re actually even worse off.

        And a car magazine recently included an article about a trip to Winton driving a Tesla Model 3 – ironic since that’s the model I frequently refer to in range arguments. They consistently ran into range warnings, and had to beg a few times to get somewhere to recharge said vehicle. Add in fastcharging being slow, and mains charging being an overnight affair, EVs are simply not (yet) compatible with non-city living – and that’s ignoring affordability.

        Yes the petrol supply disruption concerns are legitimate, but there’s as yet no perfect solution.

        • Interesting how things may vary throughout Australia.
          Yesterday prices were around $1.89 per litrre and todays prices range up to $1.79 per litre in Adelaide for 91 petrol.
          The prices for fuel have been rising throughout the year and have been even higher in recent weeks.
          We certainly are getting close to the $2 per litre mark.

        • Geoff Miell says

          George Kaplan,
          We’re now paying almost $2 a litre at the bowser?!?!?

          It seems to me you haven’t look beyond where you live. It depends on where you are in Australia and what type of fuel is purchased.

          Per an article by Gareth Hutchens on Nov 25 headlined Will petrol prices rise above $2 a litre?, it included:

          According to online aggregator FuelPrice Australia, the average price for 98 Octane currently sits at $2.08 per litre in Queensland, $2.05 in Melbourne, and $1.82 in Sydney.

          For Unleaded 91, the average price is currently $1.86 per litre in Brisbane, $1.81 in Melbourne and $1.60 in Sydney (although there’s large variation within cities).

          The Australian Institute of Petroleum provides weekly fuel price reports for ULP and diesel at:

          Average national weekly ULP fuel pricing has fallen from a peak on Nov 28 at $1.704 to $1.628 on Dec 12.

          Zali Steggall has apparently recently acquired a Hyundai Kona BEV.

          High petroleum fuel prices (and fuel scarcity) will be incompatible with “non-city living”! ?

          • George Kaplan says

            Where I live is what matters to me, and yes which fuel you buy matters too – E10 v 91 v 95/98. E10 is what I’m looking at since that’s universally available while 98 is premium.

            E10 Prices via Petrol Spy
            Sydney 2000: 152.7-191.9
            Melbourne 3000: 139.9-169.9
            Brisbane 4000: 149.7-164.9
            Adelaide 5000: 175.9-184.9
            Perth 6000: 139.7-171.9
            Hobart 7000: 171.9-185.9
            Darwin 0800 (sic): 164.9-169.7

            According to this Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth have the cheapest petrol – roughly a third less than the $2 folk are warning about. Sydney, which I thought was supposed to be relatively cheap based on media articles, is close to that $2 mark, with Adelaide and Hobart midway between the other state capitals.

            AIP National Average for Week Ended 12 December 2021:
            National Average: 162.8
            National Metropolitan Average: 162.1
            National Regional Average: 164.2
            Five Major Capital City Average: 159.0

            Sydney: 178.7
            Canberra: 170.0
            Melbourne: 153.2
            Brisbane: 162.1
            Adelaide: 146.2
            Perth: 155.1
            Darwin: 169.1
            Hobart: 178.7

            National Average by Fuel Type
            Premium Unleaded (PULP95): 177.0
            E10: 160.4
            LPG: 106.8

            Again Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth are substantially cheaper, though oddly enough Adelaide is included this time. Sydney is again the most expensive, but Hobart is tied. And of course E10 offers a roughly 10% savings according to the figures above.

            Apparently you are correct about the FuelPrice Australia claim regarding 98 hitting $2 last month – it’s back down to $1.79, and April 2020 saw it hit $1.08! So radical variation for a premium fuel. If you shop wisely you won’t be paying $2 regardless of the average listed.

            While technically true that high petroleum prices will make non-urban life more expensive, it will also make urban living more expensive – food has to make it to the cities from the country, and trucks use diesel not batteries. Certainly scarcity and cost will make travel more of a challenge, but so long as petrol is available it will be possible. So long as EVs fail to offer decent ranges they simply won’t work for non-urban lifestyles, and the impression I get is that urban dwellers don’t want longer range EVs as it raises the cost to provide something they don’t require. Given EVs are already costing $60,000+, and one I saw which might actually have decent range started at $133,000 they’re simply not a viable alternative to a standard ~$30,000 petrol sedan which has a range closer to 800 km, the ability to refuel quickly, and refuelling stations all throughout Australia.

            If in a decade or so EV prices have dropped, and the range risen to something decent, then the situation will be different. Of course by then the government may have placed a 50% tax on electricity like Germany, or added the ~40c fuel tax to power instead and added tax on top, in which case we’ll look back on the early 2020s and think how cheap electricity was back in the good old days.

          • Geoff Miell says

            George Kaplan,
            If in a decade or so EV prices have dropped…

            You (and many others) may well be in for a big shock soon. Accumulating indicators I see suggest we don’t have “a decade or so” to rapidly reduce Australia’s petroleum fuel dependency.
            See my comments at:

            Also, from the Energy Bulletin Weekly for 13 Dec 2021:

            Shale Oil:Shale Reality Check 2021” by The Post Carbon Institute’s David Hughes seriously undermines the long-term forecasts made by the US Energy Information Administration for US oil and natural gas from shale deposits. Of the 13 significant plays he evaluated, Hughes rates the EIA’s production forecast for five as “moderately optimistic,” five as “highly optimistic,” and three as “extremely optimistic.” Saturation of sweet spots in crucial shale plays may lead to an irreversible production decline.

            The EIA’s forecasts count on shale oil for 69% of all US oil production from 2020 to 2050 and 77% of all US natural gas production in the same period. And it matters to the world because between 2008 and 2018, growth in US oil production accounted for 73% of the entire increase in global supplies.


            Petroleum refuelling stations all throughout Australia will become useless if fuel becomes unaffordable or unavailable. I think you (and probably many others) still can’t comprehend the possibility of that happening in your lifetimes, and happening soon.

  6. Hi Geoff,

    I’m not sure that ‘asleep at the wheel’ is the right analogy.

    It seems more a case of – Scomo driving a car, gaze fixed on road ahead, . still muttering ‘we are meeting and beating our targets’. – smug look on face as he’s convinced himself that no-one has noticed the car is actually in reverse gear.

    The land of OZ still suffers from a political leadership that overall seems to have completely lost contact with some major aspects of today’s realities.

    As a result, we still have situations such as::
    – a distribution grid that’s no longer fit for purpose. However that may not ultimately matter because it’s busily being progressively destroyed by sundry extreme weather events anyway.

    – regardless of whatever their motives or reasons are for doing so, efforts to retard the transition to renewable energy sources continue.
    We still have very high electricity prices (including the fixed charges component), as a consequence of that.

    Australia is not alone in experiencing this. There is total outrage in Scotland over the fact that the UK government decided to impose additional grid charges for renewable energy supplied to the UK by Scotland.

    To quote from the article:

    “A 1GW windfarm off the Scottish coast will pay £38 million a year and a 1GW windfarm off south east England will get paid £7m a year – a £45m differential and close to a billion pounds over a 20year period.”

    This UK action may have something to do with the difficulties the UK experienced when it accelerated the phasing out of coal as a fuel source for electricity generation back in 2016.

    Since then there has been some UK difficulties in bringing nuclear generation fully on stream, and currently UK consumers are paying record prices for electricity due to massive increases in the cost of natural gas
    ( see: ).

    On the surface it does seem bizarre that the UK wants to ‘penalize’ Scotland for supplying cheaper electricity.

    There may be some twisted underlying political motivations involved, however rather than attempt to guess at what those are, the most likely cause seems to me, that just like OZ, the UK has made a complete shambles of its attempts to transition to 100% renewable sources in a orderly manner.

    Australian industry seems on the cusp of giving up completely on any hope that Federal political leadership will do anything remotely sensible regarding setting an acceptable energy policy that will endure for longer than the date of their next Cabinet meeting.

    .I hope it’s not too late for our nation to at least mitigate to some extent future adverse climate change impacts.

    I notice too, that Indonesia relies very heavily on natural gas sourced from fracking, for both internal consumption and export, and has done so for a long time. . Whether or not such extraction has been a contributing factor in the recent volcano eruption hasn’t been established though..


    • George Kaplan says

      Des, some renewable energy skepticism is completely justified. Just consider the ABC report on windfarms being built up Cairns way. Local conservation groups and climate groups are both sounding the alarm about the environmental destruction of ecologically valuable land but nobody is listening. It seems government is more concerned about development of renewable energy than the environment or endangered species.

      If windfarms are built in non-sensitive ecological zones that’s fine, but oddly enough that’s not what’s happening. Solar at least doesn’t (as far as I’m aware) suffer that same issue.

      As for very high electricity prices, do we? I recently saw that the average price for household electricity in Germany (for 2020) is 31.47c per kWh. I’m assuming that’s Euro cents rather than US or AU cents meaning that 31.47c equates to about AU 48c-51.6c. At the turn of the millennium German power was 13.94c or AU 21.5c-22.5c which is roughly the current price per kWh of electricity in Australia. Worth noting is that 53% of the German price is taxes, levies, and surcharges, whereas in Australia there is only GST which adds a mere 10% to the bill. If Australia follows the German model and adds renewable surcharges, electricity taxes, and other such things, Australian prices could soar. And that’s just home use. What of EV recharging costs?

      According to one article written earlier this year, users of public charge points currently pay from $0.40 to $0.45 per kWh, while users of the Tesla network of 40+ supercharging points scattered around Australia pay 52c per kWh! To put this in perspective, a ‘full tank of power’ for a Tesla S will cost around $50, or close to what you’re currently paying for a full tank of petrol, and this is before any rises or levies have occurred. Since road\fuel taxes comprise one third of the price of petrol, and since Australia doesn’t currently have significant taxes on electricity, the current low cost of power is unlikely to remain.

      A change in perspective can be useful, but I’m not sure that seeing how much Germans are paying for power, or how much of that is taxation, is entirely reassuring for the future of Australian energy. Anyone at SQ able to explain the German paradigm and its implications for Australia? : )

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