Sales of electric and hybrid cars in Australia took a tumble in 2016, with sales of electric vehicles falling a whopping 69 per cent from the previous year.
Hybrid vehicle sales also fell, down four per cent on 2015 figures.
VFACTS statistics show that Australians bought 220 electric vehicles in 2015, but just 65 last year. Hybrid sales were down from 2,697 to 2,588.
Lack of private buyers was the cause of the fall, especially in the electric SUV segment which saw a 92 per cent decline in sales from 2015, down from 92 to seven. Electric passenger car private sales fell 30 per cent, from 145 to 101. Private hybrid SUV sales were down 21 per cent, from 1,152 to 840.
Non-private sales picked up some of the slack, with sales of hybrid SUVs and passenger cars both increasing from 2015 to 2016. Non-private hybrid SUV sales were up 25 per cent, from 914 to 1,148, while non-private hybrid passenger car sales rose nine per cent, from 7,375 to 8,049.
However, non-private sales of electric SUVs plummeted 93 per cent, from 661 in 2015 to just 42 in 2016.
The dramatic fall in sales can be attributed to the low cost of oil and the relatively high price of electric and hybrid vehicles. It has reached the point that Australia’s first electric car, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, is no longer in showrooms and the Nissan Leaf can only be bought via special order.
Hybrid vehicles are faring better than electric, in part because of their suitability for taxi fleets.
Meanwhile, diesel-powered vehicles experienced an 8.6 per cent rise in sales, with more than 363,000 purchased in Australia in 2016.
Petrol is still king, however, with over 768,000 sales of petrol-powered vehicles last year.