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Australia’s electric vehicle revolution is finally beginning to gain speed, with more plug-in cars sold across the country in the past six months than in the whole of last year.
But car makers warn Australia’s policies to boost EV uptake are lagging behind other nations, reducing the number of models brought into the country and limiting consumer choice.
The federal government has pledged to introduce a new policy to drive EV uptake.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
Figures to be released on Monday show 46,624 electric vehicles were sold in the six months to June 3 – 8.4 per cent of all new car sales and more than the 39,353 EVs sold in 2022.
While there are now 91 electric car, van and ute models available in Australia, they are mostly in small volumes and the Electric Vehicle Council data shows just three account for more than two-thirds of sales – Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3, as well as Chinese car maker BYD’s Atto 3.
Behyad Jafari, the chief executive of the council, which represents major car makers, said Australia’s EV policies were insufficient to attract larger numbers of a wide range of models.
“It’s no surprise that the models that were most available had the highest sales. Many other brands simply sold out of their full allocation of vehicles sent to Australia,” Jafari said.
“Global car makers are still only sending a trickle of the vehicles they produce to the Australian market because we remain one of the few nations on earth without new vehicle efficiency standards.
“Our lack of new vehicle efficiency standards means car makers are essentially rewarded for sending their EVs to markets other than Australia. So small wonder we remain at the back of the queue.”
The federal government last year dropped the fringe benefits tax that applies to cheaper electric vehicle models, cutting the cost by up to $12,500.
It has pledged to introduce a new policy to drive EV uptake, and is consulting the industry over fuel efficiency standards that would limit average CO₂ emissions produced by the overall fleet of vehicles sold into the market by a manufacturer to encourage them to sell more EVs.
Jafari said rising demand for EVs showed current government policies were having some positive effect but called on them to go further.
“By introducing globally competitive standards we can get the supply of EV options to match demand,” he said.
The ACT continues to lead on EV sales as a proportion of new vehicle sales at 21.8 per cent, followed by Tasmania and NSW at 9 per cent, Victoria 8.5 per cent, Queensland 7.7 per cent, Western Australia 7.5 per cent, South Australia 6.5 per cent, and the Northern Territory 2.4 per cent.
Last year, EVs accounted for 8 per cent of new vehicle sales in the United States, 23 per cent in Britain and 25 per cent in Europe, according to the International Energy Agency.
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