Two in three Australians feel the move to electric vehicles is inevitable, with a third of consumers ready considering buying an EV.
Those are the headline figures from a Nissan-commissioned study of more than 500 people who intend to purchase a new car in the next three years. The results were released at the Nissan event to introduce the new Nissan Leaf to Australia, though the car won’t be on sale here until mid-2019.
The study – similar to those produced by Jaguar when that company unveiled its i-Pace EV two months ago – suggests almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of Australians are more open to an electric (or other alternative fuel) vehicle than they were five years ago, with half saying that electric vehicles are cool and trendy.
Australians are also willing to change how they use their vehicle in order to own an electric vehicle (for example, plugging the vehicle into an electric socket), while 65 per cent are more likely to consider an electric vehicle made by a well-known manufacturer.
“The research confirms that Australians are overwhelmingly positive towards electric vehicle ownership,” said Nissan Australia managing director, Stephen Lester.
“As more people learn of the advantages of electric vehicles, it stands to reason that more people are willing to consider them.”
Nissan is responding by promising that one third of its vehicle offerings will be electric by the early 2020s.
By the numbers
Vehicle emissions: Since 1990 an increase of 47.5 percent in Australia
New EVs: 75 percent of new car buyers are considering EVs
Cost: 70 percent of Australians will pay more for an EV for lower running costs
While Australians see the benefits of EVs, and 79 per cent feel they have a responsibility to set a good example for future generations, three in four (74 per cent) consumers fear there is a lack of public charging infrastructure, and 73 per cent have concerns over how far they can drive on a single battery charge.
“It is obvious that the industry has some work to do to convince consumers that an electric vehicle can easily meet their daily driving needs,” said Lester, who added that the Leaf with its 270km range is one of the vehicles that should help allay fears.
He also called for “strong electric vehicle policy” from government.
“Countries with higher electric vehicle take up have more charging points and offer tax cuts, toll discounts, parking concessions and more to inspire consideration and purchase.”
The good news, says Mr Lester, is that current car ownership, parking and driving behaviours show that Australians are better suited to electric vehicles than ever before, with two out of three cars parked in owner-occupied garages, allowing for consumer-installed re-charging infrastructure.
Australia has one of the highest levels of garage ownership in the world with 75 per cent of Aussies having a garage to park their car in.
The research showed it’s also a fact Australian vehicles are mainly used for the commute to work, local shopping, running errands, school drop off and pick up, and visiting friends – all within close proximity of the home.
According to the KANTAR TNS survey, our cars spend more time at home than anywhere else, making it perfect for overnight home charging, and only 14 per cent drive 100 kilometres or more once a week – and the vast majority do this irregularly.
As the electrification of mobility continues to progress, it is more than just technological and environmental reasons that are attracting buyers to electric vehicles, people are realising that they are fun to drive, well designed and meet their everyday needs, Mr Lester said.
“The world we live in is evolving via the influence of technology, connectivity and consumer needs pushing boundaries,” said KANTAR TNS Melbourne, client services director, Dr Marcin Point.
Tony Bosworth writes for www.TheDriven.io and RenewEconomy.com.au. He has 35 years experience in journalism, and has been instrumental in launching and editing several automotive magazines including Which Car? magazine in the UK.