Australia’s peak electric vehicle body has again called on the federal government to introduce vehicle emissions standards, as the local market continues to lag embarrassingly far behind the rest of the world despite a leap in domestic sales this year.
EVs now represent 3.39% of all vehicle sales, up 65% on 2021, according to the Electric Vehicle Council’s latest annual State of EVs report released on Friday.
Electric Vehicle Council head of policy Jake Whitehead says that while the jump in EV is welcome, Australia needs a much stronger national EV strategy to catch up to the rest of the world.
An afterthought for EV manufacturers
“It’s great to see so much momentum behind EV sales in Australia, but to put our 3.4% in context – Germany sits at 26%, the UK at 19%, and California at 13%,” Whitehead said. “The global average is 8.6%, so Australia has a long, long way to come.”
As a result, Australian consumers have a smaller range of EVs to choose from and are forced to wait for months or years to take delivery of new vehicles, he says.
Australia’s limited EV model availability is restricting choice for consumers, raising the prices of available models, and holding back the transition to EVs.
“Because our governments have lagged the world on EV policy, Australia is still something of an afterthought for global EV manufacturers,” Whitehead said.
Minister for climate and energy Chris Bowen in August launched consultation on Labor’s promised National Electric Vehicle Strategy, that aims to lower the cost of EVs and curb transport emissions. The consultation period closes on October 31.
“If Australia does not introduce fuel efficiency standards on par with the EU and the US we will continue to lag the world by a huge margin,” added Whitehead.
Given transport makes up 19 per cent of Australia’s emissions the country cannot claim to be serious about achieving 2030 emission reduction target without introduction fuel efficiency standards, he says.
State of EV uptake in Australia
Data from the EV Council’s report shows the ACT leads the nation in EV sales, with 9.5 per cent of all new vehicles sold electric. New South Wales was a distant second at 3.7%. Victoria stood at 3.4%, Queensland 3.3%, Tasmania 3.3%, Western Australia 2.8%, South Australia 2.3%, and the Northern Territory 0.8%.
As of September, 2022, there were 25 different EV models in Australia that have sold more than 200 vehicles each during 2022. The sales figures for the 15 top- selling EV models are included below.
The report highlights that the Tesla Model 3 has continued to dominate EV sales so far during 2022, accounting for 33% of new EVs sold. Despite first deliveries of the Model Y starting only in August of this year, this model has already risen to second place on the sales chart, representing 20% of new EV sales.
The EVC report once again grades Australia’s jurisdictions on their approach to EVs, and while no single government leads on every policy area, the ACT and NSW lead overall (8/10); followed by federal (7/10); Queensland (6/10); Victoria (5/10); SA, NT and WA (4/10), and Tasmania (3/10).
“The good news is the new federal government understands the opportunities of EVs and is working on a genuine EV strategy. Although that strategy will need include a range of measures, high on the list must be fuel efficiency standards.
Temporary incentives and critical policy levers
The report urges implementation of temporary incentives to reduce the upfront cost of EVs, and support for the deployment of charging infrastructure – critical policy levers for driving EV adoption, and getting Australia on an emissions reduction pathway aligned with the national targets of a 43% reduction by 2030, and net zero by 2050.
As at 30 June 2022, the number of public charging locations totaled 2,147, while the number of individual public EV chargers in service reached 3,669 — 15% increase in charging locations compared to early 2021.
There has been a 22% increase in fast and ultra-fast charger locations since 2021, with around 350 chargers now available to the public, according to the report.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world…
Globally, UK’s Rethink Research predicts that by 2030 the EV car fleet will stand at 268 million versus 26 million vehicles worldwide by the end of 2022, making up 20% of all passenger cars on the planet, and 63% of all new car shipments. It largely cites accelerated EV adoption in Europe and China for the forecast increase.
In Europe, still in the grip of a prolonged energy crisis, consumer demand for total new passenger vehicles is falling, while perversely demand for battery electric vehicles continues to grow, according to Rethink.
“European EV demand will continue to climb as charging infrastructure rolls out and grids are progressively electrified under the impetus of Russia’s weaponisation of natural gas,” it said
Chinese vehicle sales remain incredibly strong and while regional lockdowns still occur in China as it pursues a no-Covid policy, this hasn’t had a significant impact on consumer demand or EV supply, Rethink added.