A debate about Tesla sales data for Australia in 2021 has been ironed out after figures shared with the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) and released on Monday were much higher than data collated by Austroads, an organisation that shares vehicle registration data between states.
The debate arose yesterday after Austroads’ NEVDIS service, the same service that provides VINs for vehicle recalls, said that 12,094 new Tesla cars were registered in 2021.
Tesla had told the EVC that 15,054 new vehicles were registered, prompting The Driven to note this meant Tesla had not only entered the top 20 carmakers for 2021, but it had also sold more Tesla Model 3s than Toyota had sold Camry sedans.
The updated figures still place Tesla in the top 20, but puts the Model 3 some 1,000 vehicles behind the Toyota Camry.
In a note to The Driven, the EVC said: “Due to a human error, the Tesla delivery figures for 2020 were erroneously added to the delivery figures for 2021 by Tesla before the figure was provided to the EVC.
“So instead of 15,054 Tesla Model 3 deliveries in 2021, the figure reported should have been 12,094. Correcting the total Tesla deliveries (all models) reduces the total number of EVs delivered in 2021 from 24,078 to 20,665.”
The Driven contacted Tesla for comment and is awaiting a response. A spokesperson for Austroads told The Driven that the service had checked its data and was based on registrations only, not sales. As noted yesterday by The Driven, it is understood that Tesla counts it as a sale once a vehicle has been delivered to a customer. However, registrations also occur before deliveries.
While it is disappointing that the error occurred, the EVC noted that the fundamentals of the message delivered by the figures are that 2021 was a phenomenal year for electric vehicles in Australia.
In total, 20,665 new EVs were registered in Australia in 2021, and six out of 10 of those were made by Tesla. The fact is that EV sales still tripled in 2021, but that increase could have been far higher were overseas head offices of legacy carmakers encouraged by supportive policy to confirm more inventory for Australian drivers.
It is the first time that Tesla has provided local sales data in Australia to any organisation, with the EVC having secured the data with the intention of underlining the work that still needs to be done in Australia to accelerate the EV transition.
“Governments that take the path of encouragement will capture myriad societal benefits – cleaner air, reduced respiratory illness, smaller carbon footprint, quieter roads. Those that lag will make themselves a dumping ground for old tech, dirty vehicles,” said EVC CEO Behyad Jafari in a statement.
“It’s great that some state governments have received the global message, but at a national level we’re stuck in the past. We desperately need the federal government to introduce Australian EV rebates alongside fuel efficiency standards, just like other developed nations. If we get these changes, you’ll see sales figures really rocket ahead.”
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.