From performance to cost, you’ll be surprised about the potential of zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs). Get the facts here and apply for a $3,000 subsidy to buy your new ZEV today.

First, learn your vehicle acronyms:

  • Zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs), including battery electric vehicles (BEVs – or commonly known as EVs) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEVs)
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), which, like BEVs, have an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery, however, they also have a ‘range-extending’ petrol-based internal combustion engine.
  • Internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs)

See how else the Victorian Government is supporting the transition to zero emissions vehicles.

Zero emissions vehicles heading with car and person


Many ZEV models currently available in Australia, such as the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Kona, can travel at least 350-450 kilometres on a single charge – and with Victorians travelling an average of just 38 kilometres a day, that’s more than enough to get you where you need to go through the week. The Government is also investing in a further roll-out of EV charging infrastructure, adding to the network already on our highways, in regional towns and at our favourite tourist spots. In fact, you can already drive from Adelaide to Melbourne and on to Sydney with easy access to ultra-rapid charging stations (found via an app on your smartphone, such as PlugShare), so you don’t have to worry about running out of charge.

Charging time

The Victorian Government is building a network of public fast-chargers, in addition to a series of ultra-rapid chargers that can be found across Victoria, so you can always top up on charge when you need it.  Some of the fastest chargers can provide 400km of range in 15 minutes. At home, the average charging time for an EV is 6 to 8 hours, meaning you can easily charge your car at home overnight - just like your smart phone. If you’ve got solar panels on the roof, the benefits are even greater – you can charge your car with cheap, renewable energy. With some of the most popular models of ZEVs, a full charge will give you 450km of range - which for most people can last up to 10 days.


Currently, there are around 31 passenger ZEV models available to buy in Australia and right now you can get a $3,000 subsidy when buying one of the models that fall under the $68,740 subsidy cap. Adding on the estimated yearly savings of $1,600 for fuel, maintenance, and registration means you can expect to save over $10,000 in the first five years of owning your new car.

Environmental benefits

Just as the name indicates, ZEVs have zero exhaust emissions, making them better for the environment – and our health - than a fossil-fuelled ICEV. Research has shown that even if a ZEV is charged by our grid electricity (including coal-fired sources) it will still generate overall improvements in net emissions, due to their energy efficiency and ability to recharge when braking. The cleanest and cheapest way to charge your ZEV is by using a renewable energy source, such as solar. And taking advantage of the Solar Homes Program, you have the potential to drive completely carbon neutral, charging your car from the clean power you generate through the day. Furthermore, ZEVs have proven to be more carbon-efficient than ICEVs over their lifecycle (even when powered by fossil fuels) including raw material extraction, manufacturing, fuel cycle and end-of-life recycling. Take a look at this article explaining more about the efficiency of ZEVs.

Fuel excise

Australian drivers currently pay a fuel excise – so when you fill up your petrol tank, a large portion of the cost (up to 42% for some fuels) is a tax that helps maintain our roads. The new distance-based tax for owners of ZEVs will be up to 2.5 cents/km – much less than the fuel excise - and ensures all motorists pay their fair share towards the maintenance of Victoria’s road network. This distance-based tax helps fund the $3,000 ZEV Subsidy – an important investment in Victoria’s clean energy future.


Research has shown that driving a vehicle with a battery is just as safe as driving a vehicle that runs on petrol or diesel. In fact, a study by Hyundai has shown that the risk of a fire in a ZEV is lower than in an ICEV.

Hydrogen fuel cell refuelling

Refuelling a FCEV is no more complicated than refuelling an ICEV - you use a bowser pump and nozzle at a hydrogen refuelling station, and it takes about the same time to fill up the tank too.

Grid demands

The early stages of EV transition will allow our electricity system to be upgraded in an orderly manner and will even include the ability for electric vehicles to help with grid stability. For example, the widespread rollout of rooftop solar systems means that during the day there’s more power than we need in some areas - EVs can help by absorbing some of this excess capacity. Furthermore, in the future, EVs could act as another source of energy when they are parked in your garage – such as powering your home in a blackout - with current battery sizes said to be able to power your home in the evenings for up to 3 days. As a mobile source of energy, EVs have other possibilities – such as the potential to power your worksite, and the growing potential for them to put electricity back into the grid. Take a look at this article explaining how EVs can support in the grid.


On top of the environmental and cost benefits of owning a ZEV, you’ll also find that they outperform fossil-fuelled cars in other ways. Unlike ICEVs, EVs deliver great acceleration, making them nimble around town and giving confidence when merging onto the freeway. EVs that have their batteries mounted along the bottom of the vehicle also have a lower centre of gravity, meaning better handling and cornering. In addition, many EVs are more spacious than a similarly-sized ICEV due to the placement of the batteries and the electric motor taking up less space than an ICEV drivetrain – leaving more room for groceries or the camping gear.

Charging access for those without off-street parking

As more and more public chargers become available, Victorians who don’t have access to off-street parking will have more options for charging their EV. In fact, the Victorian Government is investing $19 million to accelerate the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure across Victoria. There is also work underway to make charging easier in the future through the Victorian Government’s approach to planning and building standards, meaning more charging locations at workplaces and public spaces.

ZEV targets

More and more people are choosing to drive a ZEV - and with many countries around the world setting targets to phase out the sale of ICEVs, the pace of the global switch to ZEVs will only accelerate. The Victorian Government has now set its own target of 50% of all new light vehicle sales to be ZEVs by 2030, accelerating the adoption of this exciting technology in our State. ZEVs, with their many benefits - environmental, economical and technological – are the future. And with a $3,000 subsidy when you buy a model under $68,740, now is a great time to make the switch.

See how else the Victorian Government is supporting the transition to zero emissions vehicles.

Page last updated: 29/03/22