Electric vehicle (EV) sales grew over the past year and will continue to do so, with help from the NSW Government’s Electric Vehicle Strategy and nearly $500 million in investment to encourage growth in zero emissions vehicles.
The annual report of the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) said the “positive measures” of the NSW and other state governments brought Australia into line with leading international EV policies and would “provide confidence to private sector investors, allowing for the introduction of greater choice for Australian consumers, more places to charge and better services that support e-mobility”.
But the EVC also warned that Australia faced serious challenges around EV market share, policies and consumer choices, notably due to a lack of leadership and action on EVs from the Federal Government.
“After promising a national strategy two years ago, the Federal Government has failed to deliver. We have also seen how state governments can put in place policies that actively worsen the playing field for electric vehicles,” EVC CEO Behyad Jafari said in the report.
“We need to see more electric vehicle models in Australia, particularly at lower price points. To get more models, we need the right policy settings so we can compete with other countries to attract the globally limited electric vehicle supply to Australia.
“Australia is in urgent need of action on electric vehicles, which is vital to meeting our net zero goals, increasing our energy security, and improving our air quality.”
In the first half of 2021, Australians bought 8,688 EVs, compared to 6,900 for the whole of 2020. In 2020, 0.78% of vehicles sold in Australia were electric. “In Norway, the world’s leading electric vehicle adopter, three-quarters of all light vehicles sold in 2020 were electric. Australia is also well behind the UK (10.7%), China (6.2%) and the United States (2.3%),” the report says.
“With additional models – some at lower price points – expected in the coming years, electric vehicle sales and market share will continue to increase.”
Australia currently has 31 EV models for sales, which will grow to 58 by the end of 2022. Manufacturers are pouring billions of dollars into EV development. “Several carmakers have now set timelines to become 100% electric: Jaguar Land Rover (2025), Volvo (2030), Mazda (2030), Ford in Europe (2030), Nissan (early 2030s), GM (2035), Daimler (2039), and Honda (2040),” the report notes.
“Other carmakers have committed to electric vehicle model targets. By 2025, Audi will have 30 electric vehicle models available, Hyundai will have 23 models, Groupe Renault will have 24 models, and GM will have 30 models. The Volkswagen Group will have 70 new electric models available by 2028.
“However, even with this increase, model availability in Australia will remain significantly behind other comparable markets. Drivers in the United Kingdom, for example, already have access to over 130 models and from a much larger variety of vehicle segments.
“Australia’s model availability continues to be restricted by an unsupportive policy environment, as Australian offices of global car makers are struggling to secure supply of new models or volume of electric vehicle models in the local market.”
Rating the various governments for their EV policies, the EVC have NSW a score of nine out of 10, the ACT eight, the Northern Territory and Tasmania seven, the remaining states six, and the Federal Government three.