Nearly one-third of all Victorian drivers would prefer to buy a zero emissions vehicle when they next purchase a car, a new survey from road infrastructure company Eastlink has found.
Overall interest in hybrid, all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars is increasing, the survey found, with purchase interest for hybrid electric vehicles up 3 per cent from last year, and up 2 per cent for zero emission vehicles (ZEV).
The survey also suggested that the percentage of people who would prefer to buy a hybrid vehicle was almost on par with those who would buy a petrol vehicle, as the gap between the two continues to close.
With only 0.2 per cent of respondents currently driving an electric vehicle and only 1.5 per cent driving a hybrid, according to the survey, the numbers certainly represent the imminent shift towards zero emissions mobility in Australia.
Notably, while intent to buy a hybrid over the next 10 years remains more or less the same – around 4 in 10 drivers – the number of people wanting to buy an EV increases over time; from a quarter within the next few years to on par with hybrid purchase intent within the next 10 years.
In comparison, the number of people wanting to buy petrol cars decreases as the years go buy, from 45 per cent over the next few years to only 32 per cent in 10 years. Diesel, similarly, shows a decline in interest.
And while the survey did not distinguish between electric and fuel cell vehicles when it came to purchasing intent, it did look at awareness of electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
It shows that almost all people are now aware of electric vehicles (92%), compared to only 61 per cent awareness of hydrogen FCEVs.
EastLink Corporate Affairs and Marketing Manager Doug Spencer-Roy said this meant that carmakers needed do more work to promote FCEVs.
“Manufacturers and other stakeholders should raise awareness of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, to help with its emergence as a practical option for 100% electric vehicles in Australia,” he says.
The survey also looked at attitudes to road user charges (RUC), asking respondents what they thought about the fact electric vehicles were currently exempt from them due to the fact they are built into fuel taxes.
While nearly half of respondents said it was not fair that EV drivers were exempt from the charges, over half agreed that if governments were to change how RUCs were collect so EV drivers also contributed to road maintenance (eg per-kilometre), they should get a discount.
The survey attracted 18,000 respondents (up 20 per cent from last year) and also looked at attitudes towards self-driving cars and autonomous driver assist features.
While less people showed interest in full self-driving capabilities than last year, the survey did show that 8 in 10 would consider traveling in a self-driving vehicle that had a human driver in the helm.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.