Electric vehicle sales double but face long road ahead

Electric car sales have more than doubled in Australia over the past year as consumers and government policies perform a U-turn on zero-emissions transport technology.

But some states and territories are performing significantly better than others, a report from the Electric Vehicle Council has found.

It wants the federal government to set a strong standard to encourage automakers to bring more car options to Australia.

The report card arrives months after the government released the National Electric Vehicle Strategy and pledged to unveil a fuel-efficiency standard before the end of the year.

The State of Electric Vehicles report for July, released on Monday, found sales of battery-powered cars soared by 121 per cent over the past year, with more EVs sold in the first six months of 2023 than throughout all of 2022.

About 130,000 electric vehicles were being driven on Australian roads by July, the report found, with the country on track to haven almost 180,000 in use by the end of the year.

Three models dominate the market, with Teslaā€™s Model Y and Model 3, plus BYDā€™s Atto 3 making up 68 per cent of sales.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the sales jump showed Australians ā€œnow know the future of driving is electric,ā€ but potential buyers were still being held back by a small range and less stock.

ā€œWhile Australians have some high-quality options to choose from, itā€™s no surprise that the models that were the most available had the highest sales,ā€ he said.

ā€œGlobal 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.ā€

Mr Jafari said the lack of supply could be addressed if the federal government introduced a ā€œglobally competitiveā€ standard to help brands secure greater vehicle allocations for the country.

Despite the sales boost, the report found Australia was still lagging other countries in the electrification race, including Canada, New Zealand and Singapore, in addition to market leaders Sweden and Norway.

Some states and territories were much further ahead than others, with the ACT and NSW leading the nation and scoring nine out of 10 in the report for their electric vehicle policies.

The Northern Territory and Tasmania tied for last place, with low marks for vehicle sales, data and industry initiatives, while Victoria scored only a little better, with five out of 10 after cancelling its vehicle rebate early and charging EV drivers to use roads.

ā€œThereā€™s really encouraging momentum across most of Australia on EV policy but our report also finds there is abundant room for improvement,ā€ Mr Jafari said.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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