Shifting to zero emission vehicles

Zero emission vehicles deliver a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits. When compared with internal combustion engine vehicles, zero emission vehicles save users on ongoing refuelling, vehicle maintenance and registration costs. All zero emission vehicles tested in the last 5 years received a 5-star safety rating from the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

There are 2 types of zero emission vehicles:

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEV)
    • powered by an electric motor only
    • produce no direct tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions
    • fully zero emission when powered by renewable energy
    • energy stored in a battery
    • typical driving range 300-600km
    • the battery is charged by using external chargers and regenerative braking (kinetic energy captured during braking) to charge the battery
    • see our Queensland Electric Super Highway for on the go charging options.
  • Hydrogen vehicles or fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)
    • emerging market technology
    • produce no direct tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions
    • refuel at hydrogen refuelling stations (similar to regular service stations)
    • more suitable for heavy vehicles
    • fully zero emission when powered by renewable hydrogen
    • typical driving range of 300-600km.

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is not a zero emission vehicle but could be considered a suitable alternative to an internal combustion engine vehicle when used mainly on battery power.

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is not eligible for the $3,000 rebate.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles:

  • are partly powered by an electric motor/s (charged by a wall socket or specialised charger)
  • have an internal combustion engine (petrol, diesel, or biofuel)
  • the internal combustion engine is primarily used to generate electricity to recharge the battery or to extend driving range for longer trips
  • have a lower electric-only driving range than battery electric vehicles
  • overall driving range of 500-700km, with a full electric driving range of up to 60km.

Zero emission vehicle costs

Vehicle registration duty savings in Queensland

Hybrid or electric vehicles attract the lowest vehicle registration duty costs—get an estimate for vehicle registration duty costs.

Battery electric vehicles attract the lowest level of registration—get a registration quote.

Purchase rebates in Queensland

Buyers of new eligible zero emission vehicles with a purchase price (dutiable value) of up to $58,000 (including GST) on or after 16 March 2022 can apply for a $3,000 rebate and continue to receive existing benefits like discounted vehicle registration and registration duty costs.

Dutiable value is the total amount paid (including GST) for the vehicle, which includes delivery costs, accessories and options added to the vehicle and any other charges or fees levied by the dealer on the purchaser. Registration fees and vehicle registration duty are not included as part of the dutiable value.

The rebate is available to battery electric passenger and light commercial vehicles only and will be paid after 1 July 2022.

Applicants are encouraged to keep proof of purchase information (such as contract of sale, Dealer tax invoice displaying final payment and date the vehicle was sold) to support their application.

The following are not eligible for a rebate:

  • second-hand vehicles
  • dealer/demonstrator models
  • a retro-fitted zero emission vehicles and other vehicle conversion kits (including any other alternative fuel source)
  • hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
  • heavy vehicles over 4.5t such as trucks and buses
  • personal mobility devices for example electric/motorised wheelchairs, electric scooters, mobility scooters and electric bicycles
  • electric motorcycles, trikes and mopeds
  • electric boats or marine vessels
  • zero emission vehicles registered before 16 March 2022
  • zero emission vehicles that are managed through a lease or a fleet management organisation
  • zero emission vehicles that have previously received a rebate, grant or subsidy in other Australian state or territories.

Zero emission vehicle running costs

The upfront cost to purchase a zero emission vehicle is currently more expensive than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. However, zero emission vehicles have fewer moving parts that require servicing and according to the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia, the operating costs of a zero emission vehicle are about 70% cheaper per km when compared to a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle1. The battery pack accounts for roughly one-quarter of the total zero emission vehicle cost. With battery prices expected to reduce, this is likely to correspond with lower zero emission vehicle purchase prices in the future.

Researchers and market analysts forecast zero emission vehicles will potentially reach upfront price parity with internal combustion engine vehicles from around 2025/26, however, this will vary depending on the type of vehicle and a range of market conditions.

Compared to internal combustion engine vehicle costs, it is much cheaper to recharge an electric vehicle than to refuel an internal combustion engine vehicle. The average Queenslander drives 13,400km annually and spends approximately $1,900 on fuel annually (at $1.90/L). A zero emission vehicle travelling the same distance would cost around $502 annually in electricity costs, or charging could be free if home charging through solar panels (depending on weather and solar system capacity).

The following table compares the costs of a zero emission vehicle and an internal combustion engine vehicle in Queensland.

Electric vehicle cost comparison
July 2022
Operating cost itemDecorative icon
Zero emission vehicle
Decorative icon
Internal combustion engine vehicle
Comparable vehicle cost $49,900 $34,600
Vehicle registration duty $998 $1,038
Upfront cost rebate (for eligible ZEVs)$3,000-
Registration fee (excluding compulsory third-party insurance and traffic improvement fee) $274.20 $348.70
kWh/100km 15 -
Litres/100km - 7.5
Electricity cost ($/kWh) $0.30 -
Fossil fuel cost ($/L) - $1.90
$/100km $3.00 $14.25
Annual fuel savings over 13,400km
Vehicle registration duty and registration savings over 5 years
Estimated total upfront and operational savings over in 5 years

This table of information is a general guide based on the following information:

  • Figures based off the average cost of zero emission vehicles under $55,000 available in the Australian market in 2021 and popular 2021 4-cylinder internal combustion engine vehicles.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles have a registration duty rate of 2% (compared to 4 cylinder vehicles which have a registration duty rate of 3%).
  • Battery electric vehicles attract the lowest level of registration.
  • The average distance driven annually in Australia is 13,400km (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018).
  • Note: due to lower maintenance costs, zero emission vehicle savings could be further increased.
  • Electricity cost is based off average kilowatt cost from the Queensland grid in 2021. Charging from a home solar system in the daytime would further decrease running costs.
  • Compulsory Third Party (CTP) and traffic improvement fee have not been included in this table analysis.
  • Registration duty calculator.

For more vehicle comparisons, visit the Green Vehicle Guide.

Hom much does it cost to run an electric vehicle? An EV uses approximately 1kWh of battery electricity for every 5-6km of travel. This means that the average EV uses 15-20kWh for every 100km. If you pay 25 cents per kWh for your electricity, this would equate to $3.75-$5 per 100km. Or equivalent to paying $0.50 per litre at peak electricity prices.

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Queensland's transport sector accounts for approximately 14% of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions, making it the second highest emitting sector in the state.

Across Australia battery electric vehicles emit on average 29-41% less life-cycle emissions than a typical fossil-fuelled vehicle for every kilometre driven in Australia. The extent to which electric vehicles can lower emissions varies depending on which state or territory you live. Much depends on how much electricity is generated from renewable sources, such as solar, wind and hydro.

Battery electric vehicles produce zero exhaust emissions, therefore, emit no harmful emissions, and do not pollute the air or cause/contribute to respiratory health issues. This technology will assist in reducing air and noise pollution, leading to improved public and environmental health and urban convenience.

The energy used to charge zero emission vehicles from the grid will become greener and more sustainable as the government continues with its 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

While Australia is highly reliant on imported liquid fossil fuels for most of its transport needs, Queensland is completely self-reliant in terms of electricity production. By using electricity, zero emission vehicles will help reduce the Queensland economy’s dependency on fossil fuels, while supporting the use of renewable and locally produced energy.

Many owners charge their zero emission vehicle from a home solar system, making them carbon neutral and free or low cost. A zero emission vehicle fully recharged by solar energy can save between 2.9 to 3.4 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually when compared to an internal combustion engine vehicle (driving 13,400km per year).

Most energy for the Queensland Electric Super Highway, fast charging infrastructure is sourced from green energy and offsets.

Zero emission vehicle batteries

Battery electric emission vehicles are extremely efficient, converting over 77% of the electrical energy from the grid to power the vehicle. Comparatively, internal combustion engines only convert 12-30% of the energy available in petrol and diesel2.

Several zero emission vehicles on the market today have enough battery range to meet the average Australian's driving needs (480-550km) for over a week. The average Australian drives 38km per day so like using internal combustion engine vehicles, there is not always a need to 'fill up' every day, and zero emission vehicles also have the benefit of being able to be charged via a power point at home or anywhere with access to electricity.

Vehicle manufacturers and private companies are continuing to research into battery recycling and re-purposing. This has led to significant success overseas, specifically in areas such as grid management demand services.

The Queensland Government is also developing a battery strategy to consider opportunities to expand battery manufacturing in Queensland.  This will extend the local supply chain for new economy minerals and the development of battery chemicals potentially creating additional economic development and employment in Queensland.

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