Australia’s federal government has been slammed for its “stunning failure” to establish a functional electric vehicle market, after reports emerged that some second-hand EVs were being sold online for more than they had cost brand new.
Lloyd’s Auctions said on Thursday that a combination of tight local supply of EVs and soaring petrol prices was driving a “huge spike” in the resale value of used electric vehicles, with second-hand Teslas, in particular, selling for higher prices at auction than their original retail price.
“Right now, we have a 2022 Tesla Model 3 on offer with the current bid sitting at $71,000 where they actually retail for around $68,000 and the bidding is set to close in a few days time,” said Lloyds Auctions chief operations officer Lee Hames.
A 2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus with 41,080km on the clock is also on offer on the website, with a current bid of $45,000 and four days of the auction left. That price, at least, is significantly below the asking price then of $70,000.
“With the current fuel prices, people are realising how much they can save in fuel per year by owning an electric vehicle, where savings could be up to 70% on fuel alone,” said Hames.
“The electric car market is still very new to Australia which is actually a massive benefit to purchasing electric vehicles second hand, as they are in such great condition usually only having been used for a few years, with previous owners now upgrading to the newer model electrics.”
But Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council said on Thursday seized on the “remarkable” revelation from Lloyds that second-hand EVs were now selling in Australia for more than their original retail price as a sign of a deeply dysfunctional market.
“This is a stunning reflection of how the Australian government has allowed demand to totally outstrip supply on EVs, leaving Australian consumers with the choice between a massive wait or paying above-retail for a used car,” said EVC chief Behyad Jafari.
“The Morrison government seems to have confused its own myopic views about EVs with those of average Australians, and has completely misjudged how demand would grow.”
Indeed, according to Lloyds, interest in electric vehicles has grown “exponentially” since early last year – Hames says customers are rapidly becoming more open to the idea of driving electric, and the “fun benefits” that come with cars like Teslas.
“Lloyds biggest challenge is finding enough electric vehicles to resell, it is a very tight market,” the auction house statement said.
Added to the distinct lack of federal government policy direction in Australia – which has seen the Australian market bypassed by many EV manufacturers – have been global supply chain bottlenecks and shipping delays, exacerbated first by the Coronavirus and more recently by the conflict in Ukraine.
As The Driven has reported, delays to Australian deliveries of new electric vehicles and cost increases to popular models have been a common feature of the EV market over the past year, creating pent-up demand and long queues for new stock.
Putin’s war on Ukraine and its effect on the price of petrol has only exacerbated the situation, creating fresh demand at a time of already tight supply.
“Australians have seen right through the nonsense that was peddled by the government about EVs at the last election, and they’re now queuing up to buy one,” said Jafari.
“But the shelves are empty because the federal government has made Australia such a uniquely hostile market to EVs.
“Global car makers are far more interested in selling cars in Europe or the US or even New Zealand, where fuel efficiency standards are established and governments offer unambiguous support to the transition,” he said.
“Every Australian who wants to buy an EV should have the same array of options as their counterparts in America or Europe. The fact that they do not is the fault of the federal government and its unique hostility to EVs.”
Meanwhile, experts from the University of New South Wales have weighed in on the subject, saying government policies, rather than the price of petrol, will be the crucial factor behind a healthy electric vehicle market.
“Where we have seen major progress in EV uptake around the world, the key factor has been government policies to make owning an EV cheaper and more convenient – subsidising up-front costs, providing other incentives and supporting infrastructure buildout,” sais Professor Iain Macgill, joint director at UNSW’s Collaboration on Energy and Environmental Markets/
“Such support also gives manufacturers a reason to focus on your market – already in Australia demand for some EVs way outstrips the vehicles available.
“But part of the challenge with energy transition to date is almost certainly lack of intent. Although we say that we need to stop investing in oil and gas, we are not actually moving away from these fuels – certainly not at the rate required. What we need to do is realise how important it is to step up investment in clean energy as we wean ourselves off fossil fuels,” he said.
“What is happening right now is perhaps such a teachable moment in this regard. Some nations, including Australia, are imposing sanctions on Russian oil. But perhaps the most powerful thing we can do is for governments to say: ‘We’re going to work to kick our oil addiction’.”