CANBERRA, AAP – Researchers are calling for tax breaks on home charging to help businesses to run fleets of electric cars, utes and vans.

Zero-emission vehicles in the fleet mix is an area where Australia is lagging behind much of the world, according to research released on Wednesday.

Diane Kraal from Monash University and Anna Mortimore from Griffith University are looking at ways to cut costs of ownership and make sure fleets have the right equipment to reduce stress on the electricity grid.

Fleets of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) run by businesses and governments could accelerate the transition to cleaner energy.

“Currently, BEV technology is not affordable in Australia and workplace charging infrastructure is either low or non-existent,” Dr Mortimore said.

Tax breaks for workers recharging the vehicles at home could be the answer and would also give more people a stint behind the wheel without having to buy their own.

Nationally, transport is responsible for almost one fifth of Australia’s carbon emissions.

Since business fleets make up the majority of passenger and light commercial cars on the road, the researchers think transforming the fleets could have a big impact.

Australian business fleets are mostly petrol and diesel, resulting in the sector producing 41 per cent more emissions per kilometre than in Europe, they said.

Dr Mortimore said accelerating the uptake by business would also boost the supply of more affordable used electric vehicles when ex-fleet BEVs are sold on to the public.

Although Energy Minister Angus Taylor has dismissed subsidies for private “luxury” electric cars, the roll-out of charging and refuelling infrastructure for commercial fleets is a focus of the federal future fuel fund.

The first round of grants is providing $16.5 million for public fast-charging in capital cities and regional centres.

Currently, battery electric vehicles make up just one per cent of vehicles in business fleets.