By the end of 2021, Tesla will account for three out of every four electric cars sold in Australia as the country reaches close to 20,000 EVs sold. And, it may be that by the end of the year the Model 3 has outsold the Toyota Camry, of which a little more than 12,000 have been bought so far this year.
Thanks largely to Tesla’s powerhouse electric sedan, the number of electric vehicles sold in Australia in the last 12 months surpasses the number of EVs sold in the decade prior, from 2010-2020.
November alone likely marks the biggest month to date for electric vehicles in Australia, with three states now offering $3,000 rebates (NSW, Victoria and South Australia) to encourage more drivers to make the switch to clean green transport – although the policy environment is dampened somewhat by the introduction of a world-first EV road user tax in Victoria.
Vfacts, the industry statistician reports that 568 electric vehicles were sold in November. Even excluding Tesla, which is not included in the Vfacts data, EV sales are up 300%, with year-to-date figures reaching 4,579 EVs, compared to 2020’s 1,589.
But, as always, it is when we add Tesla into the mix that the real surge in electric car sales in Australia is revealed.
The actual number of Model 3s Tesla shipped to Australia this year is not known (Tesla does not report sales figures) but it is understood the number of vehicles shipped to Australia in November alone could be more than 2,000.
Tesla counts a sale once a vehicle is delivered in Australia, but for simplicity’s sake, we count arrival on docks as Tesla cars typically are shipped once ordered.
It is known that 461 vehicles made it to the Western Australia port of Fremantle at the end of November. Other ships arrived in the eastern states, which means that more than 2,000 Model 3s were shipped to Australia last month.
This means that potentially around 12,000 Model 3s have reached Australia in 2021 out of an estimated 16,000 electric cars total.
Compared to 12,133 Toyota Camry that’s not a bad effort at all, particularly given that the Tesla Model 3 started 2021 at a price of $66,900 for a Standard Range Plus variant. Since then it has dropped to $59,900, and added an extra 50km range and a larger battery.
While that might seem surprising considering the Toyota costs half the price to buy, consider this: multiple reports here and here and here show that the electric has a much lower cost of ownership and depending on how you look at it, might even cost less to own than the Camry.
On a broader note, the introduction of the Model 3 has certainly sparked a wave of change in Australia. There are now more models available than ever, and more on the way.
Of the other EVs currently available, we’ve seen the $44,900 MG ZS EV – which has proven popular here as well as in the UK – sell 1,241 units since its introduction in January. Porsche’s top-end Taycan has also proven a winner having sold 481 units to date followed closely by the Kona Electric (463) which is now available with a refreshed design.
Next on the list are the Nissan Leaf (350), Mercedes-Benz EQC (322) and the Hyundai Ioniq (310).
It will be interesting to see how newcomers like the Hyundai Ioniq, which has sold 88 so far since August, or the Volvo XC40 recharge which has nearly tipped 250 sales since September will forge forward as new electric players like the Kia EV6, Polestar 2, and BMW’s iX and iX3 enter the field in 2022.
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 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.