On the back of global trends, media interest and growing consumer awareness at home, Australia’s electric vehicle industry grew slightly last year, according to a new report released today by the Electric Vehicle Council and ClimateWorks Australia.
The state of electric vehicles in Australia: second report found there were improvements in electric vehicle sales, as well as an increase in the range of models available and the number of charging stations available across the country in 2018 compared with the previous year.
Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said a significant increase in media interest in electric vehicles had occurred alongside a notable growth in electric vehicle sales.
“While Australia still trails behind the global leaders in electric vehicle uptake, with electric vehicles making up 0.2 per cent of new car sales in the Australian market, we have seen a number of small but important shifts across the range of electric vehicle indicators in 2017,” he said.
“The report found there were 2,284 electric vehicles sold in Australia in 2017, representing a 67 per cent increase from the previous year.
“The number of electric vehicle models available for sale in Australia has also increased, from 16 to 23 in 2017. In addition, the number of charging stations increased from 476 locations in 2017 to 783 sites in 2018 – representing a 64 per cent increase over one year.
“We would expect a further increase in electric vehicle sales with nine new plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle models expected to be introduced in the Australian market over the next 18 months – five of which are expected to be priced at $60,000 or less.”
Mr Jafari said the report found business was driving the uptake of electric vehicle sales in Australia.
“Business continues to be the largest buyer of electric vehicles accounting for 63 per cent of sales in 2017, with this figure primarily including manufacturer fleets and dealer demonstrators,” he said.
“Private buyers also make up a substantial portion of the market accounting for 34 per cent of sales while electric vehicle sales in government fleets remains limited at only 3 per cent.
“The low level of government sales is really a missed opportunity. Governments at all levels could use their greater purchasing power to encourage a broader uptake of electric vehicles in fleets.
“Encouraging investment through lower priced electric vehicles and charging infrastructure requires certainty by governments that they’re serious about supporting the transition to electric vehicles.
“Australia has much to gain through improved public health, energy security and increased economic investment from the electric vehicle industry. While this has been recognised by developed countries around the world, Australia continues to fall behind.
“The slight growth in the Australian electric vehicle market demonstrates the need for urgent policy support by government.”
ClimateWorks Australia Implementation Manager, Claire Painter said the report shows electric vehicle sales and the roll out of public charging infrastructure increased in all Australian states and territories from 2011 to 2017, but the rate of uptake differed.
“Over the last seven years, Victorians have purchased the highest number of electric vehicles, with 1,324 vehicles purchased between 2011 and 2017,” she said.
“This was closely followed by NSW with the number of electric vehicles purchased between 2011 and 2017 totalling 1,238, which was the greatest percentage increase over the last seven years.
“In terms of market share, the ACT continues to outperform other states and territories. In 2017, ACT residents purchased 21 electric vehicles for every 10,000 vehicles sold.
“The growth in the number of DC fast chargers in Queensland, from five in 2017 to 24 in 2018 is also notable. This is largely the result of the Queensland Government’s Electric Vehicle Superhighway initiative.
“The increase in charging infrastructure in South Australia, from 42 in 2017 to 76 in 2018 may also be linked to initiatives undertaken by the City of Adelaide.”
The report was written by ClimateWorks Australia on behalf of the Electric Vehicle Council, the national body representing the electric vehicle industry in Australia. It received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as a part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program. This financial support assisted the research, analysis and stakeholder engagement required of the project.