EV market growing despite prohibitive costs

One in three Australians are considering buying an electric vehicle within the next five years although high prices remain a key barrier, according to the latest Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) report.

The biannual Transport Opinion Survey of 1,030 Australians reveals 4% of Aussies own or have ordered an EV, with 9% are thinking of buying one in the next 12 months, while a further 27% are considering it in the next five years.

However, 44% of Australians say they cannot afford buying an EV and the remaining 15% also say they can afford one but have no interest.

Director of ITLS at the University of Sydney Business School Professor David Hensher says the survey shows there remains a challenge to improving the affordability of EVs and convincing more than half of Australians they are an alternative to standard internal combustion engines.

“Once the market’s full potential has been reached for those who own, or intend to order, EVs – about 40% of the population according to our research – will a further increase in EV uptake halt because of a lack of interest or affordability? It is a question to consider for a sustainable future,” he says.

In the Electric Vehicle Council’s latest Australian Electric Vehicle Industry Recap 2023 report, over the course of 2023, the EV market in Australia experienced strong growth in terms of both sales and model availability. 

While these signs are positive, the council says significant work remains to accelerate adoption to align with Australia’s climate targets, and take further action to address the high cost of transport in this country which is contributing to the current cost of living challenges. 

“Active policy support to decarbonise heavy vehicles is also lagging, with more work required in 2024. With the recent announcement by the Federal Government of its preferred design for a New Vehicle Efficiency Standard, 2024 is set to be an exciting year ahead, with the opportunity for more Australians over the coming years to have greater choice in efficient car models, and slash their fuel bills,” the report says.

Last year, the ACT continued and extended its national lead in terms of EV market share, being the first Australian jurisdiction to pass 20% of all new vehicles sold being EVs, achieving 21.9% by year-end. 

In second place, New South Wales achieved 9%, followed by Queensland (8.3%), Victoria (8%), with Tasmania and Western Australia both (7.8%), South Australia (6.8%) and the Northern Territory (3.2%). 

However, EV sales in the NT more than tripled in 2023 compared to 2022. The EVC says the NT is effectively only one year behind the national average.

It is estimated there are now more than 180,000 EVs on Australian roads. EVs now represent about 1% of the total light vehicle fleet in Australia.

According to the EVC, in recent months there has been a steady stream of claims made about a slowdown in EV sales in the United States, and more broadly across the globe.

The EVC reports primarily its focus on developments in the Australian EV market, given the breadth of misinformation being spread on this issue, here we have included a brief overview of how the US EV market actually performed in 2023.

Contrary to what some have claimed, the US EV market has continued to grow significantly, with a record 1.4 million EVs sold in 2023. That’s more than the total number of all new vehicles sold in Australia in 2023.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

Images: iStock & Electric Vehicle Council
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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.