Interest in electric cars surges, putting big dent in petrol car market, says survey | The Driven
tesla
Image: Tesla

The number of Australian drivers considering buying electric or hybrid electric vehicles as their next car has grown by tens of thousands in just 12 months, a new survey has shown, while the popularity of petrol and diesel cars has taken a “significant” hit.

Automotive data from Roy Morgan shows the proportion of Australians looking to buy electric vehicles in the near future has grown from 2.6 per cent in 2018 to 4.2 per cent in 2019, or from 50,000 people to 63,000.

The number of Australian drivers considering a hybrid electric vehicle as their next car purchase has also jumped, from 8 per cent in 2018 to 12.7 per cent in 2019, or 188,000 people up from 148,000.

Meanwhile, those ranked most likely to buy a petrol engine car over the coming four years numbered just over 59 per cent, which the survey noted was down “a significant 6.3% points” on a year ago.

The number likely to buy a diesel car remained unmoved, at 23.5 per cent of those surveyed – the same as in 2018.

The findings – while showing a slow and steady rise in interest in electric vehicles in Australia – paint a similarly bleak picture for internal combustion engine cars to recent data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The FCAI numbers, tallied over the calendar year of 2019, found sales of petrol and diesel cars to have plunged over the course of the year, down 7.8 per cent on the year before to the lowest level since 2011.

But while the FCAI put this trend down to anything but a shift in popularity to EVs – slower wages growth, tight lending, exchange rate movements, even “the extreme environmental factors our country is experiencing” – Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine reached a refreshingly different conclusion.

“Although electric and hybrid vehicles are still in their infancy in Australia, both engine types are becoming more and more attractive to people intending to buy a new car in the future,” Levine said.

“This comes at the expense of petrol vehicles, which continue to decrease in popularity. … And given the increasing focus on environmental issues, we can expect (electric and hybrid vehicle) numbers to keep rising.”

The Roy Morgan survey, which is based on in-depth face-to-face interviews with over 50,000 Australians, also went into some detail on which electric cars Australian drivers fancied buying.

Of those who intend to buy an electric vehicle in the following four years, 37.5 per cent said they would consider purchasing a Tesla, followed by Hyundai (20.4%), Toyota (19.6%), Kia (12.5%) and BMW (12.3%).

“This data is particularly encouraging for brands such as Toyota and Kia,” Levine added, “for despite them not having yet released electric models in Australia, future car intenders are considering those brands for their next purchase.

“Kia may well consider bringing forward the introduction of their e-Niro and E-soul electric vehicles to the Australian market on the back of such results,” she said.

Wouldn’t that be nice.

Get up to 3 quotes from pre-vetted solar (and battery) installers.