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The EV landscape in Australia

15 March 2020
This article first appeared in the March 2020 edition of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine.

How many electric vehicles are there in Australia?

It’s a bit of tricky one to answer as Tesla don’t release their sales figures, but there are roughly up to 20,000 EVs on the road in Australia currently. This number is pretty insignificant when you consider there were 19.2 million registered vehicles in 2018 and 19.5 in 2019.

In fact, EV sales in Australia are much lower than comparable developed countries and we’re almost at the bottom of the EV uptake list for OECD members.

Tesla leading the charge 

Due to the delivery roll out of the Tesla Model 3 and the popular Gen 2 Nissan LEAF, the numbers of EVs on Australian roads has doubled in just the last three months. Some legacy manufacturers are now picking up their EV game to catch industry disruptors like Tesla and Rivian, and many experts are expecting the rapid sales trajectory to continue.

This is backed by evidence from a 2018 Roy Morgan poll that showed a slow decline in public interest for diesel vehicles, but a steady increase in interest in purchasing an EV. There is also plenty to suggest Australian drivers are holding off on the purchase of a new car until an electric vehicle that meets their size, range and price requirements comes on the market.


Will we follow overseas trends?

Globally, there are over 5.6 million EVs on the road. 

Over 2.6 million of them are in China alone, a figure that doubled in within the space of 12 months. In Norway, strong climate targets have led to 60% market share for electric vehicles, a number which could be higher if not for the waiting lists as dealers struggle to import enough vehicles. Elsewhere in Europe, the continued rapid uptake of electric vehicles is now a certainty following policy decisions, such as that by the British Government last month, that new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars will no longer be sold after 2035.

While Australia is slow on the uptake, we can’t help but follow the rest of the world in transitioning to low-emission, zero-tailpipe vehicles. 

So, what’s coming in 2020?

A good mix of premium and family-budget-friendly electric vehicles will enter the Australian market throughout the year. The MG ZS EV, Mini Cooper SE hatchback, Polestar 2 and Glory EV will be priced in the $40,000 to mid-$60,000 range, putting them almost at price parity with ICE counterparts. 

The Tesla Model Y price is still unknown, but the Audi e-Tron, Mercedes Benz EQC and Porsche Taycan will all cost you over six figures, however the Volvo XC40 is a little lower, starting at $73,000.

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