ZLEV road-user charge

Learn more about the road-user charge for Victorian registered zero and low emission vehicles (ZLEVs).

Introduction of the ZLEV road-user charge on 1 July 2021

VicRoads will be writing to affected registered users of zero and low emissions vehicles (ZLEVS) and operators of conventional hybrid vehicles in the coming weeks to explain how the new legislation will affect them. 

Registered operators of conventional hybrids will not be subject to the road-user charge, although they will lose the annual $100 registration concession. The annual registration costs for conventional hybrids will align with all other regular light vehicles. Conventional hybrid vehicles are not considered to be ZLEVs.

Registered operators of plug-in-type electric and hydrogen vehicles (ZLEVs) will pay the road-user charge invoiced with their registration renewal. ZLEV registered operators will retain the annual $100 registration concession.

ZLEV registered operators will be required to make odometer-reading declarations and submit photographs of the dashboard odometers to verify their declarations. They will also be required to keep records of their declarations for a period of five (5) years.

VicRoads customers with myVicRoads accounts will be able to perform these operations online. Customers without myVicRoads accounts can make these transactions over the counter at VicRoads Customer Service Centres.

See below for common help topics, examples and FAQs.

What is a ZLEV?

Motor vehicles that emit zero or low emissions by means of electric (BEV), hydrogen or plug-in electric-hybrid (PHEV) propulsion systems (or other zero-emissions systems) are classified as ZLEVs.

Conventional hybrid vehicles – those that are not recharged by electrical plug-in – are not classified as ZLEVs.

Is my vehicle a ZLEV? Do you stop to purchase petrol, diesel or gas from a service station? If the answer is 'No', then it is a ZLEV (a BEV). It will incure2.5 cents per/km road-user charge. It will also be eligible for the ZLEV discount on registration. if the answer is 'Yes', then ask: can you also plug the car into a power outlet to recharge the battery? If the answer to this question is 'No', then it is not a ZLEV, it does not incur a road-user charge and it is not eligible for the ZLEV discount on registration. If the answer is 'Yes', you can plug the car into a power outlet to recharge the battery then the answer is 'Yes', it is a ZLEV (a PHEV) and it does incur 2 cents per/km road-user charge and it is eligible for the ZLEV discount on registration.

About the ZLEV road-user charge

Australian drivers pay Commonwealth fuel excise when they purchase petrol, LPG and diesel. This funds the development and maintenance of Australian roads. The fuel excise is currently charged at 42.3 cents/L for petrol and diesel, and 13.8 cents/L for LPG. For every 60L tank of petrol vehicle owners contribute $25.38 fuel excise to the road network.

From 1 July 2021, a new user-pays charge is required for Victorian-registered ZLEVs. ZLEV registered operators pay little or no fuel excise because these vehicles are primarily powered by electric or alternative fuel sources. The ZLEV road-user charge means that all road users will pay their fair share.

The new road-user charge requires ZLEV registered operators to make a fair contribution to funding Victorian roads. The Victorian Government will use this revenue to invest 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.

Because ZLEVs have environmental benefits, registered operators of these vehicles will pay about 2 cents/km less towards the maintenance of road infrastructure than owners of petrol or diesel other vehicles.

ZLEVs & charges

The new charge will depend on the vehicle type and how far it is driven. The following rates (indexed annually) are applicable from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022:

Vehicle type Proposed charge Registration concession available?
Electric, other zero emission vehicles and hydrogen vehicles 2.5 cent/km 

Yes

Plug-in hybrid electrical 2.0 cent/km  Yes 
Conventional hybrid  N/A No             

ZLEV road-user charges DO NOT APPLY to mobile plant vehicles such as electric forklifts, telehandlers or special work vehicles.

ZLEV road-user charges DO NOT APPLY to motorcycles.

The average yearly distanced travelled by light passenger vehicles in Victoria is 13,500km. In the 12 months from 1 July 2021, electric vehicle registered operators could expect to pay $337.50 and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles registered operators to pay $270 in ZLEV road-user charges.

Odometer declarations

The ZLEV road-user charge is calculated based on the distance travelled within a given registration period. To enable us to work out the ZLEV charge, ZLEV registered operators need to provide us with odometer readings when requested.

VicRoads will require ZLEV registered operators to provide a photo image of their vehicle's odometer.

Odometer readings will be requested at the start and end of a registration period:

Start period

  • 1 July 2021 scheme commencement
  • New or second-hand vehicle registration
  • Transfer of a ZLEV

End period

  • Registration renewal
  • Registration transfer
  • Registration cancellation

ZLEV registered operators will be sent requests via email or mail for their odometer readings to be provided via their myVicRoads account (External link).

If a ZLEV registered operator opts not to sign up for a myVicRoads account (External link), they may declare their odometer at a VicRoads Customer Service Centre (External link) by a providing photograph to VicRoads of the ZLEV's odometer.

Failure to comply with the scheme will result in the suspension and cancellation of vehicle registration. Other penalties may include an automatic pro-rata* invoice based on a yearly travelled estimate of 13,500km. (*If a ZLEV operator has had a vehicle registered in their name for 179 days, then their usage estimate will be (13,500km/365) x 179 = 6,620km.)

For brand new vehicles, the starting odometer will be assumed to be 0km if the start-period odometer reading is not declared by the ZLEV registered operator.

ZLEV road-user scheme exemptions

There are very specific conditions in which travel in a ZLEV will be exempt from the road-user charge.

Kilometres travelled interstate travel are not exempt from the ZLEV road-user charge.

Paying the ZLEV charge

When ZLEV registered operators declare their odometer readings (including any exemptions), the ZLEV road-user charge will be calculated and an invoice sent.

Registered operators have 14 days from the date of request to provide their odometer reading.

The distance calculation is as follows:

  • Distance travelled during registration period (end odometer reading less start-odometer reading)
  • Plus any additional days of use between the start period and date of first declaration (based on average use per day throughout the registration period)
  • Less any additional exempt distance declared (private road use)

The total distance charged is multiplied by the applicable road-use rate for the type of vehicle.

The ZLEV invoice can be paid online via your myVicRoads account (External link) using Visa or Mastercard (a card payment fee (External link) applies), or at a VicRoads Customer Service Centre (External link).

Transfer of ZLEVs

When the registration of a ZLEV is transferred (the vehicle is bought/sold), VicRoads will send requests for odometer declarations to both the seller and buyer.

The seller must provide an end-period odometer reading.

If the seller fails to declare the odometer reading, an automatic pro-rata* invoice based on a yearly travelled estimate of 13,500km will be issued. (*If a ZLEV operator has had a vehicle registered in their name for 179 days, then their usage estimate will be (13,500km/365) x 179 = 6,620km.)

The buyer must provide a start-period odometer reading to enable their ongoing use to be calculated. If the buyer fails to declare the odometer reading, the ZLEV registration will be suspended and then cancelled.

Cancelled, stolen or written-off ZLEVs

When the registration of a ZLEV is recorded as cancelled, stolen or written-off, VicRoads will send a request to the ZLEV registered operator for end-period odometer declaration.

If the ZLEV registered operator does not have access to their vehicle, one of the following options may be taken:

  • The owner may provide evidence to support their declaration, eg. insurance report or wrecker’s receipt, roadworthy certificate, police report, insurance report, or
  • The road-user charge will be calculated pro-rata* on a yearly travelled estimate of 13,500km (*If a ZLEV operator has had a vehicle registered in their name for 179 days, then their usage estimate will be (13,500km/365) x 179 = 6,620km.)

What happens if I don’t declare my odometer reading on 1 July 2021 or the date the first declaration is requested?

If you delay in providing your odometer declaration, any missed days will be added onto your invoice after you declare your odometer declaration based upon your average use throughout your registration period.

For example: If your odometer declaration is requested on 1 July and you don’t declare until 12 July, at the end of your period an additional 12 days’ use will be added to your invoice.

This only applies to your initial odometer declaration, as for all future periods your use is calculated from end-period to end-period odometer.

When do I need to provide my odometer reading?

VicRoads will notify all ZLEV registered operators when their odometer readings are due.

ZLEV registered operators will be informed that they're required to declare an initial reading, either on 1 July 2021 or upon the subsequent acquisition of a new or used ZLEV.

Once a vehicle's start-period odometer reading has been declared further readings will be requested coinciding with the vehicle's registration renewal period. 

If the vehicle's registration is transferred or cancelled VicRoads will request an end-period odometer reading.

How will I be notified to provide my odometer reading?

ZLEV registered operators with a myVicRoads account (External link) will receive notifications by email to submit their odometer declarations.

Customers who don't have accounts with myVicRoads will receive notifications delivered by mail to their registered address.

How can I declare my odometer reading?

Using a myVicRoads account (External link) ZLEV registered operators can submit their odometer readings online at www.vicroads.vic.gov.au (External link). They will need to upload a photo of their odometer reading.

Customers who don't have accounts with myVicRoads (External link) are encouraged to sign up. If they choose not to use a myVicRoads account, they will need to visit a VicRoads Customer Service Centre and make an odometer declaration over the counter. They will need to bring with them photographic verification of their odometer reading.

Do I need to provide an odometer declaration if my vehicle is brand new?

Customers who purchase a new ZLEV that has significant kilometres recorded on the odometer (an ex-demonstrator vehicle) are recommended to submit a start-period odometer declaration.

If a purchaser does not submit a start-period odometer declaration the first distance-based charge will be calculated from 0km.

What happens if I fail to declare my odometer reading?

ZLEV registered operators will be sent requests via email or mail for their odometer reading.

Registered operators have 14 days from the date of request to provide their odometer reading before the penalty process commences. Failure to comply may result in an automatic pro-rata* invoice based on a yearly travelled estimate of 13,500km, or a penalty process that may lead to registration suspension or cancellation. (*If a ZLEV operator has had a vehicle registered in their name for 179 days, then their usage estimate will be (13,500km/365) x 179 = 6,620km.)

For brand new vehicles, the starting odometer will be assumed to be 0km if the start-period odometer reading is not declared by the ZLEV registered operator.

What happens if I don’t pay my ZLEV invoice?

Registered operators have 14 days from the date of request to provide their odometer reading before a penalty process commences.

Failure to comply with the scheme will result in the suspension and cancellation of vehicle registration.

If you don’t pay your ZLEV invoice and the vehicle is no longer registered in your name, you will accrue penalty interest and may be subject to civil penalties.

What do I do if I want to change my ZLEV odometer?

If you didn’t claim an exemption on distance travelled, you can visit a VicRoads Customer Service Centre (External link) to provide evidence to our staff. The evidence will be sent for review and you'll be contacted within 7 to 10 business days.

What types of travel are exempt from ZLEV road-user charge?

If you believe your ZLEV invoice has been incorrectly calculated or you didn’t claim an exemption on distance travelled, you can visit a VicRoads Customer Service Centre (External link) to provide evidence to our staff. The evidence will be sent for review and you'll be contacted within 7 to 10 business days.

The following travel is exempt from ZLEV charge:

  • Use on private roads – distances travelled by ZLEVs on private roads or agricultural lands

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 exemption 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.

What evidence can I provide to claim an exemption?

All evidence provided to support exemption claims must identify the vehicle.

Evidence that can be provided to support exemption claims is:

  • 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

Can I still get the hybrid or electric vehicle registration discount?

ZLEV registered operators who are subject to distance-based charges will continue to receive a $100 registration discount on their annual Victorian registration.

Conventional hybrid vehicles, predominantly powered by a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine, will no longer be eligible for a $100 registration discount on their annual Victorian vehicle registration.

Learn more about the registration discount (External link).

Are there any changes to motor vehicle stamp duty for low emission vehicles?

No, there will be no changes to the motor vehicle stamp duty (External link) concession for all low emission passenger vehicles which produce 120 grams or less of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre travelled.

Are there exemptions for Licensed Motor Car Traders?

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 exemption 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.

What if I have been notified that verification performed on my ZLEV has failed?

Odometer declarations are audited by VicRoads to ensure that declarations have not been made fraudulently. If a declaration has failed an audit, the registered operator will be notified to provide further evidence to support their odometer declaration or to visit a Customer Service Centre for inspection within 14 days.

How much you’ll need to pay depends on how far you drive.

The average distanced travelled for light passenger vehicles is approximately 13,500km a year so, on average, electric vehicle registered operators will pay an additional $337.50 a year and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles registered operators will pay an additional $270 a year.

Read the below examples to learn more.

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.

Example 3: I have a Toyota Camry Hybrid that I use as a ride-share operator

Riley owns a Toyota Camry Hybrid he uses for part-time ridesharing and drives about 40,000km in a typical year.

Conventional hybrid vehicles, like the Toyota Camry Hybrid, are not subject to distance-based charges.

Riley has previously received a $100 concession on vehicle registration; however, the Toyota Camry Hybrid will no longer be eligible for this concession from 1 July 2021.

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