Kia believes government assistance should be put towards recharging networks, not providing taxpayer-funded discounts on electric cars.

The boss of Kia Australia has repeated earlier calls for taxpayer money be directed towards the installation of recharging stations, rather than providing discount prices for electric cars.

The controversial stance is at odds with the majority of the car industry – including sister brand Hyundai and the peak automotive lobby group, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries – which has been calling for government subsidies to bring down the purchase cost of electric vehicles, even though most are priced in the luxury-car class and well out of reach of average buyers.

Kia Australia believes market demand should determine the sales success of electric vehicles, whereas as other countries have provided generous tax subsidies to jump-start the technology.

Kia Australia boss Damien Meredith said: “I struggle to understand discounts on (electric vehicles) for people who are buying not inexpensive cars. Is it fair for people to be getting discounts on (expensive) cars? The (taxpayer) money should be spent on putting in infrastructure (such as recharging networks) so people can … better use them.”

Mr Meredith said “we don’t believe in taxpayer-funded discounts for electric cars” but instead the company believes “government should give clear direction around infrastructure … and environmental parameters”.

The Kia executive said “it would be fair to say the Federal Government has not the led the way” on electric-car policy, and added it was “not a good idea for State Governments to be interfering with taxation (on electric cars),” the latter a reference to some states creating an extra tax for electric vehicles because they don’t pay road tax via fuel excise.

Kia estimates electric cars will account for about 10 per cent of sales among mainstream manufacturers in Australia within the next 10 years, and believes the success of the vehicles should be determined by normal influences of supply and demand.