Zero Emissions Vehicles

More than 40% of the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions come from private vehicle use. This means changes to the way we use cars, and the cars that we use, can help us make a big reduction in our emissions.

Switching from a petrol or diesel car to a zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) is a great way to save money on your vehicle running costs and help the ACT meet our 2045 net zero emissions target.

What is a Zero Emissions Vehicle?

A zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) is any vehicle that does not produce greenhouse gas emissions when driven. A ZEV can be any type of vehicle from a motorbike to a passenger car to a freight truck.

There are two main types of ZEV:

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs - commonly known as EVs) use electric motors and are powered by rechargeable batteries using energy from the ACT’s 100% renewable electricity grid. EVs are the most common type of ZEV in the ACT and globally.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) also use electric motors, but don’t use electricity from the grid. Instead, they use hydrogen as a fuel to generate electricity through a chemical reaction.

Other low emissions vehicles

Low emissions vehicles are vehicles that produce less emissions than standard petrol and diesel cars – like hybrids. Hybrid vehicles use a combination of petrol and electric power and there are 2 common types.

  • Hybrid vehicles (HEVs) harvest the kinetic energy that is normally wasted by braking and use it to power an electric battery but cannot be plugged in to charge like an EV.
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are like HEVs but can charge their battery using a power outlet or charger just like a standard EV or a mobile phone.

The ACT Government is committed to making ZEV ownership more affordable and accessible for all Canberrans. Find out more in our Zero Emissions Vehicles Strategy 2022 - 30.

Did you know?

Switching from a petrol or diesel vehicle to an EV could save you around $18,000 in running costs over 10 years. It also has the potential to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by around 3 tonnes per year. Read more about the benefits of electric vehicles.

Incentives for buying a ZEV

The ACT Government offers generous incentives for people and businesses when they purchase a ZEV. These include:

Other incentives

The Australian Government also provides tax exemptions for ZEV purchases. From 1 July 2022, employers do not pay fringe benefits tax (FBT) on eligible zero or low emissions vehicles. This makes it more affordable to lease an EV or PHEV through your employer.

Did you know?

Over a 5-year period, total ownership costs for a new EV may be more affordable than a petrol or diesel alternative. Use our free total cost of ownership calculator to compare a wide range of vehicles available in the ACT.

ZEV popularity in the ACT

More and more Canberrans are making the switch to ZEVs. You can see the growing number of ZEV registrations in the dashboard below (updated at the beginning of each month).

Free ZEVs advice for local businesses

ACT businesses and community organisations of all sizes can get free, independent advice about transitioning their vehicles to ZEVs through the Sustainable Business Program. Any business with an ABN can receive advice.

To find out more, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or email

Charging your EV

The ACT Government is making it easier for you to charge your EV at home and while you are out and about. Find out more about public charging in the ACT.

Check out the electric vehicle charger buyers guide for more information on charging your EV at home.

How ZEVs use clean energy

EVs are sometimes criticised about using electricity from non-renewable sources like coal to charge their batteries. However, the ACT is powered by 100% renewable electricity. This means that charging and using an EV in Canberra creates zero greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, if you have a home solar system and charge your EV at home, your EV can run on free energy from the sun!

FCEVs get similar criticism because creating hydrogen uses a lot of energy. The climate benefit of FCEVs is reduced if the hydrogen they use is created using non-renewable energy. However, green hydrogen produced using renewable energy also creates zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Learn more about the environmental and financial benefits of EVs.

Petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles

The ACT Government is exploring options to prevent the sale of new light internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles – like petrol and diesel cars – from 2035.

Petrol and diesel cars are the biggest contributors to ongoing greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT. This includes hybrid electric vehicles because they still get most of their energy from fossil fuels.

This means hybrid vehicles are not eligible for all ACT Government ZEV incentives. However, some hybrid vehicles are eligible for discounted registration and stamp duty exemptions.

If you are looking to reduce your transport costs and emissions, you could also choose from other sustainable transport options like:

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the ACT and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.