Tesla continues to lead the way in a shift to electric mobility in Australia, but sales and deliveries have slowed in the last month as customers in the country’s most populous state pressed pause while they waited for EV rebates to come into force.
Electric car sales figures reported to industry statistician Vfacts show a 138% growth from July to August and 192% growth year-on-year, but these figures do not show the whole story.
Tesla – which accounts for the majority of electric vehicle sales on the global stage as well as in Australia – where it is thought some eight out of ten EVs sold are from the Californian EV maker – does not report local sales figures to Vfacts.
The Driven has been tracking Tesla sales based on shipping data collected by ship tracker @Vedaprime. It is understood that generally, Tesla ships cars based on orders which are then recorded as a sale once delivered.
But with cars shifting more slowly from the docks to Autonexus, which prepares Tesla’s cars ahead of delivery, it is thought that NSW customers have been asking the EV maker to pause their deliveries until the new $3,000 rebates and a waiver of stamp duty started on Wednesday.
Although the NSW government has been unable to inscribe the offered incentives to those switching to an electric car in law due to recent Coronavirus lockdowns, it has promised to honour the start date of September 1, 2021 once it can.
Recent electric vehicle sales data released by the Electric Vehicle Council said that 8,688 electric vehicles (including battery-electric and plug-in hybrid cars) were sold in the first half of 2021, reaching 1.57% auto market share.
Compared to shipping data plus sales numbers collated by The Driven, this means that there are as many as 2,000 Teslas waiting on docks for delivery to customers. Other discrepancies occur when vehicles are shipped but are not delivered within the same reporting period.
There has also been a slowing down of Tesla shipping in August. Tesla typically ramps up deliveries before the end of a quarter, and August shipping has likely also been impacted by a reported four day shutdown of the EV maker’s Shanghai factory due to the global semiconductor shortage.
“Quite a number of cars from June and July were held back for delivery in NSW in September, so there will be a difference between arrivals and registrations across the last few months,” Vedaprime tells The Driven.
Nevertheless, EV sales are continuing an upward trend – and are likely to ramp up further as drivers take advantage of rebates and other incentives in NSW and Victoria (although Victorians may also be put off by the introduction of a road user tax for EVs that has been lambasted by industry stakeholders, the NSW transport minister Andrew Constance and met with derision by EV owners).
NSW will introduce a road user tax for EVs by 2027, or when EV sales reach 30% market share.
Following the Tesla Model 3, which is giving the Toyota Camry petrol car a run for its money, the two most popular EVs in Australia continue to be the MG ZS EV and the Porsche Taycan, both sitting at either end of the EV pricing spectrum.
But with new models on the cusp of entering the market, this trend is more than likely to change. In August we see new entrants on Vfacts charts including the Mercedes-Benz EQA, of which 31 have already been registered.
Three Ioniq 5s (which will consist of vehicles for staff training, publicity and media) have also been listed – deliveries to customers of the first two long-range variants are expected to commence in October.
We are also expecting to see the Polestar 2 and the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo to make an appearance in coming months, as well as the – fingers crossed – the Tesla Model Y.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.