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Australians aren’t buying electric cars: Three charts illustrate why

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Australian consumers are not buying electric vehicles, but around half of them would – possibly two-thirds – if there was more choice in the market, and greater economic incentive.

That is the broad conclusion of a report released on Thursday by Australia’s newly formed Electric Vehicle Council – its inaugural review of the state of the national EV industry, prepared by ClimateWorks Australia.

EVsurveyVic

According to the report, EV uptake in Australia is currently on a downward trajectory, with sales falling 23 per cent from 2015 to 2016. Australians purchased only 701 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and 668 fully electric vehicles in 2016, making up 0.1 per cent of the total Australian market.

evsalesAUS

But despite these grim figures, the report suggests that around 50 per cent of Australian consumers would, if in the market for a new car, consider buying an electric vehicle – and that this number could increase to almost 70 per cent with the correct policy support.

As it stands, however, Australia’s lack of supporting policies, such as vehicle emissions standards and policies to reduce EV costs, is creating a chicken-and-egg scenario of lack of supply of lower cost models, and lack of sales to drive that supply.

This is not a revelation. It has been the state of play in the Australian EV market for some years now. But three charts – or two charts and one table – from the ClimateWorks research illustrate quite neatly just how much of an difference effective policy support could have on EV uptake, and how much the absence of it has hampered the fledgling market.

Table 4, below, offers a comparison of the current discounts on offer to EV buyers in various states and territories around Australia.

The ACT, which has led the country on climate and renewable energy policy, is also leading the charge on electric vehicles, offering a more than $2,000 rebate for EV buyers. Not surprisingly, this is reflected in figure 2, below the chart, which shows that the ACT is out and away leading the country in sales of electric vehicles.

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 10.20.49 AM copy

“In those states, such as the ACT, where there are stronger incentives for electric vehicles through stamp duty discounts which can reduce the cost of an electric vehicle by over $2,000, we have seen the greatest rate of electric vehicle uptake,” said Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari in comments on Thursday.

“Australia is one of the few remaining developed countries without light vehicle CO2 standards in place,” Jafari added, although the report notes that their introduction is currently being considered by the Commonwealth government.

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EVsAusStates

The third chart, Figure 5, below – paints a neat picture of that chicken-and-egg scenario, as the nation’s overall EV sales chart the same downward trajectory as the number of lower-cost models available on the market.

This tells us that a disproportionate range of prestige EVs, including the $100,000-plus Tesla Model S and X cars, make up the majority of the Australian market – and of current sales. Sales of models between $60k and $100k have also increased, alongside a tiny increase in the number of models available in that price range.

EVs priced at $60k and below, however, have all but disappeared from the market, sales going with them.

evModelsAus

“What we have in Australia is not a lack of consumer interest in electric vehicles, but a lack of suitable models to choose from,” Jafari said.

“The right level of support and standards provide manufacturers with an incentive to invest in Australia by bringing more choice to the market, providing lower cost alternatives.

“With that support driving initial momentum, electric vehicles are particularly attractive as they are cleaner and cheaper to operate.”

The report also notes that perceptions around the availability of public EV charging infrastructure can be crucial to uptake, even if research shows that most car charging is done at home or in the workplace.

According to the report, there are currently 476 dedicated EV public charging stations in Australia, led – again – by the ACT (on a per capita basis), with 3.5 chargers per 100,000 residents.

The report says charging stations are currently concentrated in Australia’s capital cities, but notes there is an expanding regional network as towns and cities capitalise on the potential tourism benefits of providing electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

In addition, governments, membership organisations and vehicle manufacturers are installing electric vehicle fast charging highways, the report says, with spuer-chargers available at regular intervals along major regional routes.

“The electric vehicle market in Australia is still in its infancy but we are seeing it grow, from under 50 electric vehicles sold in 2011, to over 1,350 sold in 2016, and with almost 500 dedicated public charging stations deployed to provide additional convenience and options for electric vehicle owners,” Jafari said.

“We expect this rate of uptake to continue, with manufacturers bringing seven new models to market in the next 18 months, and key to this three of those models are forecast to be under $60,000.

“We already have some innovative businesses being developed in Australia to service the electric vehicle industry. With over $50 billion already invested in the global electric vehicle industry, now is the time for Australia to take action,” he said.  

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  • Charles

    The problem with most of these charts is that they state “excluding Teslas”. Going purely by other figures (spotting by enthusiasts and state vehicle registration numbers) these make up 60-80% of new EVs sold today. That’s a significant amount that makes the remaining statistics worthless.

    • Mick

      “Numbers include estimate Tesla sales”?

    • JET Charge

      You might be interested to know Charles that the figures released by the EV Council do take into account Tesla sales (estimated).

  • Shane White

    Yes, for a safe climate BUY A NEW CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Woohoo!!!!!!!!

    What else can we consume for a bright future? I must maintain my opulent white high carbon lifestyle AT ALL COSTS.

    • Rod

      Agreed, but when my current ICE dies, I would like to replace it with an EV.
      But I won’t be unless the price is similar to a small ICE vehicle.
      Even the mooted 40K for the Tesla 3 will be a push for me.

      My preference would be a conversion.
      Hopefully this will be a realistic option by the time I need a replacement.

      • thecavedweller

        Rod! Buy a second-hand LEAF 🙂 I did two years ago and have never looked back. We bought it as a spare car as our kids were growing up fast and we needed an extra car.. Uni and stuff. I had no idea how good it would be and it instantly became our primary car, so much so that we no longer use the petrol cars AT ALL, they’ve been handed on to our adult children. We clock up 25,000km per year and it’s largely expense free. We save at least $2,300pa in fuel alone not to mention the maintenance costs are almost zero. Even the brakes don’t wear like a conventional car and the joy of freedom from the petrol station can’t be underestimated. And because we charge mostly from rooftop solar, we’ve not noticed any hike in our electricity bill. We’ve not replaced a single consumable part since owning it. Putting all that aside, they are just so much fun to drive. Our 2 late model Hondas seem like rattly old ancient tech when compared with our LEAF. I’ll never own another petrol car as long as I live, and I don’t know another EV driver that will either. Absolutely the best $21K I’ve ever spent. One by one, the world will transition and when we hit the EV S-curve it’s game over for internal combustion.

        • Rod

          Thanks for the Leaf suggestion.
          I’ve declared in public my next car will be an EV. The lack of maintenance costs is a big plus for me.
          Just a matter of how long I persist with our current vehicles. Both have a few years left in them and do less than 10k a year each.

          • thecavedweller

            No worries Rod, I completely get it. Everyone’s circumstances are different. I realise now that my only EV mistake was not getting one sooner. I seriously believe that a secondhand LEAF is the best value car in Australia at the moment. Its super low running costs means it actually pays for itself. Of course there is a need to save up for a new battery but mine is 5 years old and doing fine. PS Your 10,000km pa will go out the window because you will enjoy driving it so much that you will look for any excuse to go for a drive. Factor in at least 15k km in your first year 🙂

          • Rod

            Nah, I’m having too much fun on my electric bike to rack up the kms in a car.
            My “fun” car sits in the shed gathering dust much of the time.

          • thecavedweller

            ROD! I have an electric bike too… a Wallerang! I love it. I’ll tell you what I often do with it. I chuck it in the back of my LEAF and drive down to Goolwa (a coastal town 90kms away) I pop the car on the public charger and then ride the bike to Victor Harbor and back, about 65kms. By the time I get back it’s all charged up ready for the drive home. Not a bad way to spend the day 🙂

          • Rod

            Nice. I see they are mid drive. Torque sensing? Probably EU power/speed restricted?
            I installed a Bafang mid drive on an old Malvern Star. With the motor and battery it must be over 20kg. A bit heavy for me to chuck in the back of my hatch. My usual trip is North East Adelaide to the beach and back. About 56km and still have 5 bars on the dodgy battery meter when I get home.

          • thecavedweller

            Brilliant, we have a guy in Adelaide (MiCycles) who does mid drive Bafang conversions. They look brilliant, we’ve often talked about them. My Wallerang is pretty heavy at 21KG so it is bloody awkward getting it in the back of the car, especially with the flat bars. It is doable however, so worth the effort. Yes torque and cadence sensing. I’ve been a cyclist all my life but just as an electric car has put all the fun back in driving the electric bike has put all the fun back in riding. Mine is good for 93 odd km on the gauge but in reality I’ve ridden over 140km on a single charge and still had juice in the tank because much of my riding is done over 25kph and it’s my legs doing ALL the work. Anyway, we could ramble on forever, it seems like we’re on the same page. Cheers David

          • Rod

            Yes, way off topic so my last ramble.
            I went to Mick or is it Mic to get a quote to fit a motor I had imported. He got a bit snippy about not supporting local etc. so I ended up installing it myself.
            I went with the BBSHD and love it. I also sourced a programming cable and software to tweak the controller to feel more like a normal bicycle.
            Like you, I’m a lifelong cyclist (commuting mainly) and the e-bike has put the fun back into cycling. I also prefer to do MOST of the work myself and leave the motor for when I tire or the climb home.

          • thecavedweller

            Yep! Mic is an interesting guy for sure, he doesn’t hold back. And you’re right about the bike. I find that because it enables me to get as little or as much exercise as I like, it means I do more riding. Love it.

          • Shane White

            So much happiness provided by the electric cars and bikes. Buy more and cease worrying about the warming.

          • Jacob

            Shane, we’re just hairless apes. While individual human minds can vary and have incredible plasticity, aggregate human minds coalesce into a consensus that reflects our underlying biology.

            My point is this: Society is not going to pull a 180 away from consumption. Not by emulation, not by education, and certainly not by ranting. We’re not wired as a species to behave like that. Hunters and gatherers gonna hunt and gather. We accumulate, we consume, we procreate. It’s baked into the cake.

          • Shane White

            So we’re just monkeys with car keys?
            If so then the flood, burn and starvation is enivitable.

          • Jacob

            Monkeys rarely starve. Our fate is to ride the most beautiful and delicate parts of the planet into the ground until we develop an equilibrium that enables some future human society to tolerate whatever sliver of wilderness remains.

          • Shane White

            Well I think you can tick that first task off the list Jacob.
            As for the second, the human population will be reduced to around one billion this century then; as Anderson and Schellnhuber have warned. It’ll be a bit on the nose.

          • Miles Harding

            And rather ugghly as nature imposes limits from the topics on the rhs – famine, disease, pollution, dehydration etc.
            Interestingly, there is only one of the lhs (the side we control) – reproduction.

            Anyhow, the bananas a still tasty. Now, where did I leave the keys…

          • Shane White

            The Other left and right I think?

          • Shane White

            I’m having too much fun on my pedalled bike. Prevents my arse and guts broadening.

          • Rod

            Ah yes, there is a common misconception that electric assistance detracts from the physical benefits of cycling.
            There is a very good reason e-bikes are the fastest growing transport sector. They are fun. I can only assume most buyers are like me. Getting on a bit but not ready to hang up the padded shorts.
            In my case, hip pain was keeping me off the bike so my bits were expanding.
            My motor has nine settings and most of my trip is on the lowest, giving about 100 Watts of assistance.
            I can still pedal as normal adding about 250 Watts, therefore getting some exercise but saving the power for the hills and when the hip gives me grief.
            One problem though. Both of my very nice, lightweight, “normal” bikes are gathering dust because the e-bike is so addictive.

          • Shane White

            Misconception? Hmmmm. It’s more the consumption that turns me off anyhow.
            Rod are the framesets of your “normal” bikes carbon?
            Alteration to saddle, stem and bars may cure your woes.
            If you’re in Adl I could help out.

          • Rod

            I went with the bolt on option as I had a frame spare so less consumption.
            Both my “normals” are aluminium but I did upgrade to preloved carbon wheels and composite forks in an attempt to continue cycling. Worked for a while. The weight and speed difference were a revelation.

            Pretty sure my hip is down to tight hip flexors. Total rest didn’t help and giving up rowing seems to have helped a bit. Just need to stretch a lot more.

          • Shane White

            Euwww aluminium frame.
            Euwww carbon wheels.
            Swap them over Rod! 🙂 Seriously.

            I bought one of those fancy things you see on the TdF and built my own wheels, but I live amongst many steep hills. I highly recommend all this but it ain’t cheap!

          • Shane White

            Rod how many km and what kWh consumption?

          • Rod

            I haven’t ridden to the voltage cut off so not sure what the limit would be but 120km wouldn’t surprise me assuming the rider does most of the work.
            Charging from 2 bars (out of 5) ended up about 1/2 kWh from memory. But I do have PV

          • Shane White

            So about 250km/kWh + pedalling?
            Not bad.
            So what are these friggin cars doing on the road?

          • Rod

            One of the reasons I am so fanatical about e-bikes.
            It makes cycling more accessible and fun so hopefully more people will replace car trips.
            In Australia, IMO, the main impediment is the risk or perception of risk.

          • Shane White

            I believe the impediment is the combination of cheap petrol and that people are stupid.

        • Peter

          My experience is similar with a hybrid vehicle.

          I live in Geelong and purchased a Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid 3 years ago when I also installed solar PV. The vehicle matches what we do, and at present that is an issue and must be a consideration in making a selection. So, the point about the choices available is pertinent.

          I did a before and after comparison July 2013-June 2014 against July 2014-June 2015. Annual travel is about 10,000km. As a result, I saved $1,300 in petrol costs, which fell from 1,200L before to 192L after. Electricity costs did not change, because of the PV system. Switching from petrol to electricity in Victoria saved no CO2 in Victoria – the emissions intensity is about the same. But, the solar panels generated 4MWh which did not need to be generated elsewhere.

          The panels save the planet; the hybrid saves the petrol; and a LEAF eliminates it altogether.

          • Shane White

            Saves the planet? What the?

        • Shane White

          How many km until carbon neutral?
          Where and how are the battery’s components mined?
          What are the implications of scaling this up to meet the wants of billions of people?
          What time is left for that to matter?

          Fail fail fail fail.

          • John Saint-Smith

            Shane, are you trying to make constructive contributions, or are you a depressive oxygen thief? We may strive towards perfection, but we can’t expect to achieve it all in one go.
            Any ‘absolutist’ decision made today to reject gradual reduction and transitions targets and mandate zero emissions and 100% recyclability immediately, restricts our ability to invest in over-the-horizon break-through technologies in the future. It’s called ‘cutting off the nose to spite the face.’

          • Shane White

            So much for my objectivity then.

          • Jacob

            Your objective fatalist viewpoint has been promulgated for the last 40 years and has been entirely logical and well supported for that entire time. It may well be borne out in a few decades. Nevertheless the solutions required are never going to be implemented, so your best bet at happiness is to hope that you’re wrong, and live as if we do have time to make a more gradual change.

          • Shane White

            So aim low and instead of understanding science, reject it and hope. The problem with that is: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-e-mann/the-fat-tail-of-climate-change-risk_b_8116264.html
            Even the uncertainties are pessimistic.
            Ain’t reality a bitch?

          • thecavedweller

            Shane, it’s very easy to cast stones at others while sitting behind a computer presumably powered by something. We are all part of the problem. I don’t pretend to have the answers but I’m happy with my small footprint on Earth. I’ve run a secondhand store and salvage yard for over 30 years encouraging others to make use of what we already have. I’ve been an advocate of “buy it once” all my life. I reuse, recycle and compost the best I can. Yes, I’ve just bought a new bike but I’ve been riding my old road racer, which I still have, for 43 years. I buy most of my clothes from op shops and wear them into the ground. I hang onto my cars for 20 years or more and use (filthy diesel) public transport regularly. I’ve also bought a second-hand electric car which I suspect will be good for another 20 years. I could go on but I’m sure you will just retaliate with some smug comment. Anyway, try and enjoy your life. I remain very optimistic.

          • Shane White

            Optimistic? Try science.
            Scroll through my previous comments and watch some of the videos.

        • Greg Hudson

          $21k is cheap for a used Leaf IMO. Looking for a NEW one is way different though… Example:
          https://www.carsales.com.au/dealer/details/Nissan-LEAF-2012/OAG-AD-14587488/?Cr=5
          This dealer is trying to sell a 5 year old car as USED, even though it is technically NEW, just because it only has 11 kilometers on the clock (no, I did not mean 11 thousand).
          If there was a prime example of why *NEW*? Leafs are not selling, this is it.
          Nissan needs to bite the bullet, take some losses, and start selling them at around the $15k mark. They would get rid of all their old stock in a matter of days. (Sorry to offend those Leaf owners that want to sell theirs before the Tesla Model 3 arrives).

          • thecavedweller

            You won’t offend any LEAF owners Greg, we all agree. Nissan’s disinterest in selling them in Australia is beyond disturbing. If you’ve ever walked into a Nissan showroom to try and buy one, you’ll understand why they never sold well. They actively encourage you to buy something else. Selling maintenance free cars does not sit well with their business model. They’d better come to grips with it because in less than 10 almost all cars will be electric and their service dept, that’s assuming dealerships still exist, had better look for something else to do. Try finding an EV driver who would happily go back to a petrol car. They do exist but but they are few and far between.

    • Chris Fraser

      Well of course lifestyle depends on income.But the sentiment is appreciated. This society will need examples of combined good lifestyle and low emissions for everyone else to follow regardless of their own income.In other words everyone who aspires to go low emissions, should.

      • Shane White

        And everyone FAT should travel by bike instead. Win win.

  • George Darroch

    What that chart tells me is that Tesla is now selling about $100 million in cars in Australia every year, assuming that each sells for $130,000.

    That’s not inconsiderable, and speaks to a market which has been abandoned by other carmakers.

    • juxx0r

      So tesla is responsible for ~$25M in taxes in Australia.

    • Greg Hudson

      The market has not been abandoned, it has been decimated. For every Tesla Model S sold, that’s one less AMG sale for MB, or one less M3 for BMW. Audi? who can even remember the last time they saw an S3 ?
      Mind you, this is a good thing… It gets one more ICE off the streets with every sale.

  • Chris Jones

    Reasons Australians aren’t buying EVs in order –
    1. Limited options, especially in the sub $80k market.
    2. They are still rather expensive for what you get.
    3. People hardly know that they are an option.
    The AEVA has been working hard at making sure point 3 isn’t a problem, but the automakers will have the most influence over points 1 and 2.

    • juxx0r

      You forgot a technology tax branded as a luxury car tax of some $30k per vehicle.

  • KiwiInOz

    I’ve got my Tesla 3 on order. How many other Australians have also ordered them?

    • Rob

      One here. Can’t wait.

      • Shane White

        Of all the times to not hope for the future to arrive “sooner”, this would have to be the worst.

    • Miles Harding

      There will be a lot around eventually, but still a rare sight amonst the sea of ICEs.

      In the mean time many of us are working on the national charge network. By the time your Model 3 arrives, there likely won’t very many places you can’t go.

      • Shane White

        Eventually, while the seas rise and the land burns.

        • Miles Harding

          If the seas go up fast enough, they’ll put the fires out!! 🙂

          • Shane White

            “Climate change has escalated the heatwave risk across the globe, the study states, with nearly half of the world’s population set to suffer periods of deadly heat by the end of the century even if greenhouse gases are radically cut.

            “For heatwaves, our options are now between bad or terrible,” said Camilo Mora, an academic at the University of Hawaii and lead author of the study.

            The best strategies to keep bodies cool in a heatwave, according to researchers.

            High temperatures are currently baking large swaths of the south-western US, with the National Weather Service (NWS) issuing an excessive heat warning for Phoenix, Arizona, which is set to reach 119F (48.3C) on Monday.”

            https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/19/a-third-of-the-world-now-faces-deadly-heatwaves-as-result-of-climate-change

            and

            http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/RegionalDice/

            Sit back and watch your civilisation die.

          • Miles Harding

            Hi Shane. You’re sounding a lot like the warnings from the 1970s, except that they were prefaced by “If we don’t do something …”.

            We did do something, but that something was to step on the accelerator and supercharge consumption, getting us to where we are now: Heading for the cliff with the psychopaths still driving.

            As individuals, we can do a lot.

            Preppers have chosen to defend the fortress – Sort of workable for the first 3 weeks:- until the tinned beans run out, or they gas each other in the bunker.

            I tend to see the path more in the realm of community building. We can be reasonably sure that capitalism will be one of the first casualties; It’s the most leveraged, debt laden and gloablised of any human endeavours. Gloablisation isn’t sustainable without capitalism, so that will leave us much more local, having to grow and make stuff ourselves and locally, as our great grandparents did.

            In a crowd fleeing a burning building (not one clad in dodgy alum-polyprop sheets), if about 3 or 5% of the individuals know what to do, the rest will follow. We have an opportunity to be amongst those few percent.

            Even if the future doesn’t work out as I have outlined, or takes longer, the few will be easily able to step off the consumer treadmill that most seem to trapped on.

          • Shane White

            Like they did in Syria?

      • Greg Hudson

        What? You are telling us you are building SuperChargers? 😉

    • Ian

      Can’t afford one. Have always bought 2ndH…. But do have some shares.

    • Ben

      One here also. Because of its Supercharge network.
      “No fast charging network then no EV”

    • Stewart Rogers

      Looked at a deposit but won’t go ahead. Way too much compared to my petrol vehicle. Nice car but sales will slump when people see the price tag.

    • Shane White

      Bike >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> car

  • John Saint-Smith

    I was amused to hear PNON Senator Malcolm Roberts on the ABC, saying that:
    “What about all of the carbon dioxide that is produced from cars and transport, planes, ships? When are we going to talk about that? We’re not – and that’s not right.”

    For someone who doesn’t believe that humans are responsible for driving up the CO2 in the atmosphere – he believes rising temperatures are causing the increase – it was passing strange that he should be concerned about transport emissions. But none the less, I guess that would make him a potential EV buyer. Can you imagine Appalling Hanson and Co threatening Moslems from behind the wheel of a Tesla?

    • Shane White

      Not believe; understand.

  • Colin Nicholson

    It would be interesting to know how many tesla threes are on order from Oz. Teslas and the cars trying to match them may have made buyers delay any purchase. I know it has for me. Maybe the dip is solely due to that

  • Chris Schneider

    It’s dropped because everyone has signed up for their model 3s. There is so little options in the market at the moment people holding off for this option are making a dramatic impact on electric car sales. Next year I think there will be a massive up tick as people get their Model 3s

    • Bingo. Exactly what I saw when viewing those charts too.

    • Stewart Rogers

      That is if the Model 3 is well priced and if they meet their production targets. I think both of these will be missed.

      • Ren Stimpy

        A lot of people bet against Tesla in the past and they lost out big time.

    • Greg Hudson

      What the charts do not show, is the culling of sales in the ICE market as well… aka BMW-3/MB-C/Audi-3.

      • Chris Schneider

        I get what you mean now…. after reading your other comments. Yes the Model S & X are killing the sales of Luxury model which is why Porsche just announced they would be 50% electric by 2023 and the main moves on Tesla are luxury brands. The Normal consumer market has been hit yet. Wait a year and you will see all the major brands take it serious as Tesla starts to take a small but valuable share in the market.

  • David Mitchell

    I’m going to call BS on this report.

    The reason that people are not buying PHEVs and BEVs (apart from Tesla) is that they are not being SOLD them by dealers. My personal experience in Adelaide was that the dealership* was essentially clueless. I knew far more about the car than they did. They did not have one on display, and there was certainly no effort to really understand what the selling points are. So I bought the same car (like exactly the same car off the stock sheet) from a dealer in Melbourne and had it shipped. I’ve even offered the manager of the Adelaide dealership some help to craft a better pitch, but no reply I’m afraid.

    There are plenty of people with enough money to spend that they don’t care how much they spend. This is the initial target market for PHEVs and BEVs and it is an indictment on our dealers that they aren’t taking advantage of it.

    We don’t need “incentives”, we need people who know how to sell!

    (2 cents well spent, thank you for listening to the rant)
    *Audi, there’s only one in Adelaide.

    • Miles Harding

      The dealers have been a serious impediment. The 2014-2015 hump was significantly from the head office (Mutsibishi and Nissan) forcing EVs onto the dealers.

      Mutsubishi’s i-miev list price limited the potential customers to a few hard core early adopters and the dealers hated selling them with virtually no on-going maintenance income.

      This does appear to be changing. Hyundai will have the Ioniq in its showrooms late this year or early next, but Nissan-renault are current sitting on the fence in Australia. At least, Mitsubishi is going very well with the PHEV outlander – I feel it’s the current day’s prius.

      I have been wondering if Tesla is going to do it again and steal the upper end of the mid-priced car market in the same way the Model-S caused a panic at Mercedes and BMW. Certainly, the timelines are lining up to make this possible.

      • David Mitchell

        Completely agree that Tesla will steal the mid car market. And it will be easier because they already have service centers and superchargers in place.

        This is what Audi is missing. I get that selling an A3 e-tron isn’t very exciting to Audi dealers, but they need to secure an installed user base to sell the new Q6s and future PHEVs and BEVs in the range. Otherwise they are tackling it cold.

    • Malcolm Scott

      There are at least two states in the US where an incentive is paid directly to the responsible sales person for not taking the easy path and selling an ICE with a likely shorter sales effort and higher commission. When the brains trust gets access to anyone planing incentives, I hope this concept is embraced.

      Yes my experience in purchasing my EV was pathetic. It wasn’t even charged. The servicing from a different dealer was just as bad, not charged.

    • Greg Hudson

      -David Mitchell.
      I agree that the report is misleading, especially the chart showing the falling sales rates for sub $60k vehicles… There is a REASON for that, and it is the impending Tsunami that is called the Tesla Model 3. We may not see them hit Aussie shores before mid/end 2018, but (IMO) it is already affecting the sales of the Leaf etc.

      There is also the lack of availability… Where’s the Nissan Zoe? Hyundai Soniq EV? bla bla bla… The list goes on forever.

      And what’s more, Nissan are trying to unload their old 2012/23/14 stock as NEW and at ‘new’ prices, knowing full well that the new Leaf is coming, with a much bigger battery.

      Re the charging stations, this is the main reason I’m choosing Tesla. They are the only ones with high speed charging, allowing me to go from Brisbane to Melbourne, and soon to Adelaide as well.

      Disclaimer: I am a Tesla Model 3 reservation holder (one of around 7,000 in Australia) even though I really want the Model Y, or even better yet, the Tesla pickup truck.

      • David Mitchell

        Agree with you on the Model 3 reservation pool. It was when they finally released pictures of the Model 3 that I decided to not to reserve and buy the Audi instead. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t like the “blunt front” look. Even the hairline Model S grill is enough, but you need something at the front of the car to give it some personality.

        • Miles Harding

          I’m sure that an after-market “fake grille” kit will soon be available, allowing you to dress the front of model-3 like ‘JAWS’, a baleen whale or anything in between.

    • Greg Hudson

      Now that there’s a Tesla store in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall (inside Myer I believe), maybe there will be another car or two you can spot on the Adelaide roads soon? Just yesterday here in Melb on Middleborough Rd, I spotted a Tesla, a BMW i3, and a Nissan Leaf, all within a 10 minute period. Something sure seems to be happening over here in Melbourne…

  • Dennis Kavanagh

    In Australia, the base Tesla Model 3 will probably come in at a price between $50,000 and $60,000. Probably closer to $60,000. It is aimed to compete with the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C class and Audi A4 models. It could also attract buyers from other models by these and other manufacturers. Given that there has been a very rapid rise in the numbers of these types of vehicles sold in Australia in recent years, I expect the Tesla Model 3 will sell very well here starting from the middle of 2018 (assuming production plans are reached). I suspect that the trends discussed in this article will show a very different story in about 2 years from now.

    • Malcolm Scott

      Anywhere near $50k not possible. $35k US base plus charges and fees. When the order book was opened Elon said the configurations selected averaged $41k US. He is now speaking of $50k US. The US interest rates are rising, so the FX will be working against us as well. Yes closer to $60k, but above. Will probably sell well as the Australian premium car market is doing well as is the wealthy end of the Australian population.

    • Shane White

      I’m expecting civilisation to collapse due to drought, fire and flood.

  • Ken Dyer

    There is even a simpler method of determining the take up of EV’s in Australia. Just go to carsales .com.au and search on EV’s. There are just 38 electric vehicles listed in a total of 230,000 Australia wide. That is about half what it was last time I looked. The cheapest EV is a five year old Mitsi i-miEV at $19,000, with 17K on the clock and airbags.
    EV’s simply threaten the dealer network and the automotive industry as a whole. The most profit in the industry is based round servicing ICE vehicles, and solar and wind carving up the coal industry disincentivates dealers from doing anything. No wonder dealers stick their EV’s down the back of the workshop to gather dust.
    And of course, all those government duties that you get slugged with on car sales and petrol and oil etc., is a powerful disincentive for our politicians to act.

    • Peter

      EVs don’t need petrol, so threaten the oil industry, not just the dealers and the auto industry.

    • Malcolm Scott

      Could also mean that the 250 i-MiEVs, 250 Volts, 600 Leafs are much loved by their owners, and especially so because there are no affordable replacements yet. I didn’t include the i3 as that model is probably too recent to be generally traded in the preloved market. Not sure about Outlander PHEV although many people I connect with love them. Preloved at <$30k the should be in demand even with their limited contribution to the full EV clean energy experience.

    • David Mitchell

      Ken, I think the real damage will be done by the PHEV’s, not the BEVs. It’s an easy sell to buy a PHEV. You get the benefits of EV, but not the range anxiety.

      I have only 40km of EV range, but this means that I effectively do not fill the gas tank in the city. I wouldn’t have believed it unless I experienced it myself. The EV range covers all my shortish trips round town and only takes 2.5 hrs to charge from empty. So a tank of gas lasts me ~5,000km of city driving.

      Then I started thinking about how many cars like mine would be required before the service stations started shutting down. They make their money from the shop, not the petrol, and if I aren’t coming in to fill up, then what happens to the revenue stream.

      (Oh, and before I get the “your petrol will go stale” line. I’ve checked with the service mechanic, no issue so long as I fill up once a year).

      • Greg Hudson

        Disappearing service stations are already happening in my area (Doncaster, NE Melbourne). I was recently driving my wife’s ICEmobile, ran low on fuel, and had to go to 4 outlets before I found one that had not shut down. IMO the writing is on the wall already. The smart money is going to the Service Station owners who sell out to Chinese property developers that put up multi story apartment blocks. I see absolutely NO new service stations being built anywhere, but lots of apartments…
        Anyone seen a new one anywhere lately ?

      • George Darroch

        They’re essentially drive-in convenience stores that aren’t very convenient and happen to sell petrol. Ones that adapt will do well.

  • Malcolm Scott

    We should not kid ourselves that an incentive of $2,000 makes a scrap of difference. Where sales have exceeded 1% of market share the incentive has been in the order of 1/3 mainstream EV price, and sometimes significantly more.

    Another factor the makes a step change in sales is not just model choice, but importantly buyers are brand loyal (perhaps a proxy for nationality of the brand).

    Additionally, the Australian market is strongly represented by Toyota and Mazda, both of whom don’t have a serious EV strategy, or in the case of Toyota not here at least if you think 0-40 km all electric range of a Prius Prime changes the world (albeit proving to be already a runaway sales success if priced competitively within the incentives framework).

    Furthermore, whilst generally our cars are relatively costly compared with other countries, in the mainstream market where Clio, Yaris, Corolla, and Mazda 3 play the $20-25k is very competitive by world standards (China & Korea impact). The Renault Zoe is likely to be about $20k more than it’s related Clio model (extrapolating the UK price to Australia based on Clio pricing would give about $40k and $50k). Given a usual customer will save about $1,500 to $2,000 per year on operational costs, how do we create a business case for a Clio customer to buy a Zoe? A Corolla customer to buy a Prime, a Golf customer to buy an e-Golf, a petrol Ioniq customer to by the EV version, an Outlander customer to buy the PHEV version, et al? And then there is the HiLux and Triton challenge not solved anywhere yet. At least we don’t have many monster trucks like the F-150 and their ilk.

    Right now the temporary and reducing transitional incentive needs to be about $15k, and how to do that and still have keen competition? John Howard did this for the milk industry, and Ansett through a within market sector transfer of money. Today’s coalition government could do the same as a temporary transition measure for the automotive market. A coalition government that doesn’t have a clue about how its getting 26-28% CO2e reductions by 2030 in all sectors might be compelled to do this with urgency?

    The state governments doesn’t have many levers that are very large. They should look after making sure that something like what the proprietary Tesla charging architecture and deployment is, also occurs for mainstream internationally standards compliant EVs. Obviously a Type 2 ecosystem. Because this is a natural monopoly and first mover has considerable dominance that may well be market impeding, this is not something that should be left entirely to the private sector. Moreover, with only about 5% of charging going through fast chargers, the economics for the private sector are poor or worse – again a sub-optimal outcome in respect of Australia’s emissions profile.

  • JohnRD

    Most of the round trips we do are less than 50 km with 2 or less people in the car and nothing much bigger than a weeks shopping. A small electric with a choice of how much range is paid for would be attractive, particularly if there was the space add extra batteries if required.

    • Shane White

      WELL CYCLE THEN. ARGGGH!

  • Stewart Rogers

    Wouldn’t touch it at current prices, way too much compared to the 110/litre I pay for unleaded. Also when it can go 600km on one tank at the same price as my petrol car then we can talk.

    • John Saint-Smith

      You assume that your ICE will have as low a maintenance bill as an EV. Did you know that once the autonomous EVs hit the market – less than 5 years away – human controlled ICEs will be swept away, and eventually banned from highways. The cost benefit analysis is overwhelming. Why own a car that spends 90% of it’s life in a garage, using up space and losing value? The current cost of home generated electricity to power an electric car is $zero/100k x 6 = 0. If you buy grid electricity it costs the equivalent of 20c/litre in a conventional car minus the maintenance. In 20 years we’ll all be using an autonomous EV service which will provide grid storage during their ‘down time.

  • Shane White
    • Shane White

      “Electric vehicles now comprise one 20th of one percent of that fleet, but even if we could change that to 75 percent by 2050, we would deplete the world’s lithium supply and still have a billion gasoline vehicles, the same number we have today.
      So, what are the genuine solutions? We have been approaching “sustainability” backwards, starting with the high-consumption industrial lifestyles and trying to figure out how to make the necessary plunder “sustainable.” We need to start with the answer and work back, look at what Earth’s systems can supply, then fashion a human lifestyle that preserves Earth’s productive ecosystems. Sailing boats, neighbourhood gardens, public transport and small scale animal husbandry may fit into that genuinely sustainable scenario, but electric cars and windmills for eight, ten, or 12 billion people do not.”

      Says it all.

      • David Mitchell

        Actually, there will be no issue with lithium supply, that has been debunked already.

        However, you do make a good point, we only have one planet. Where we disagree is the way to tackle that. From my purely pragmatic perspective, we need to offer solutions that will be accepted – and that starts at the high end where people have discretionary money, particularly for EVs. Once adopted you drive down the price and increase adoption. As we have seen with solar panels.

        i would love to think that we could fashion a “sustainable human lifestyle” as you describe. But I can’t see it being voted in at the ballot box. So my choice is to work for a solution that has some prospect of being adopted. Which is to appeal to the “I want one too” gene. So the more EVs, the more solar panels we deploy, the more it becomes normalised and away we go.

        • Shane White

          Consumption is a solution? Out of curiosity I’ll check what the IPCC WG3 has to say.

          There are problems with lithium mining, and there are problems with cobalt mining. Horrible horrible problems, but hey, it’s not your children working in the mines, playing in the polluted rivers and eating food irrigated with water from those rivers. Car makers’ dirty secret?

          • John Saint-Smith

            Nature uses trillions of leaves to photosynthesize and store solar energy in simple organic compounds for later use. I’ve not noticed that all the plants, including algae in the oceans have noticeably reduced the supply of Lithium, or Cobalt, (or even Magnesium and Carbon, for that matter, which they do use for photosynthesis)
            Once again, your obsession with short-term technical solutions blinds you to the potential for unlimited abundance through improving biomimicry.

          • Shane White

            That’s out-there. You’ve totally lost me John.

        • Shane White

          Away we go?
          David can you have a look through some of my older comments made in other stories about the scale and rate of GHG reductions and sequestering now needed because we’ve left change so late. Or – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016EF000392/abstract
          So much more change is needed than just buying EVs and installing PV panels.

          • David Mitchell

            Hi Shane,

            I’m well aware of the scale and rate of the reductions that we need to stay below 2C. The word “daunting” does not even start to cover it.

            In my view the (simply put) solution is to decarbonise the grid as rapidly as possible, and simultaneously electrify everything that we can, resource extraction, transport, shipping, and industry. That leaves us LULUCF and agriculture to manage with offsets. The grid looks pretty straightforward now, massive wind and solar, plus storage in various guises. Many technical integration issues to overcome, but the economics are favourable. Transitioning the rest of the industrial economy will be more challenging, particularly some of the industrial processes like cement.

            The question is how do we get the “public” to accept that? Clearly the “sky is falling” doesn’t get anywhere – even if it is true. People just can’t get their heads around it. So we have to seduce them to change, with bright shiny baubles, the promise of a better user experience and by making the “new” world normal.

            That’s why I bang on about EVs and solar panels. They are the thin end of the wedge. Once the momentum starts, it will be unstoppable – like the internet.

            As an aside, the whole of the world’s electricity consumption could be supplied by a single solar farm half the size of the Atacama desert in Chile. So installing solar panels is exactly what we need!

          • Shane White

            David, 2C will lead to catastrophic sea level rise. Watch Hansen’s video.
            As I’ve said, solar panels and EVs alone are inadequate. We now need emission reductions beyond historic precedent as well as a carbon sink of the order of the globe’s oceans.
            Why is that as soon as PV panels or EVs are mentioned everyone’s bright-eyed and happy, without questioning what’s needed for a safe climate, how urgent the matter is and what solutions can be scaled up to meet the wants and needs of over 7 billion people?

          • David Mitchell

            So what do you suggest Shane? Maybe we should catch up for a coffee and push some numbers around on the back of a napkin?

          • Shane White

            I think the problem is beyond numbers David – that’s part of our problem; that we’re all buried in numbers and technology. The only solution that seems to me to be capable now is the declaration of an emergency and a war-like effort to alter our society. As one person, all I can do is make people aware of the facts.

            Is there any future in capitalism and democracy? Seems to be the perfect formula for ending civilisation. How ironic.

            What I expect to happen is that we’ll carry on as is, dribbling EVs, solar PV and wind into our society while the seas rise and bushfires become more frequent and severe. Slowly cities important to financial markets will drown causing calamity, drought will spread into areas important for agriculture, species will become extinct more rapidly and a mire of war, famine and disease will bring down civilisation.

            If you consider our continued fossil fuel expansion, the frequency people fly, exisiting fossil fuelled infrastructure and transport and the urgency needed for change, it’s obvious we need political and social change much more than the technological change being offered.

            As Ramanathan has stated: We need public support for drastic action. But even on this website, much of what I read is bias, ignorance and prejudice.

          • David Mitchell

            All right, I’ll buy into this. Consider that the call is heeded and emergency declared. We are ready, able and willing to respond to the emergency. Now, what exactly would you like us to do? Next 100 days will be enough for starters.

          • Shane White

            “Buy into this”? Sounds to me like you’ve already decided to ignore the science.
            And if I don’t have the plan you request, does that undermine the need? No it doesn’t, does it?
            Having said that I suppose our fearless leaders would first need to devise something called a plan that would reduce our emissions in accordance with climate science and international equity.
            How does that sound? Not personal enough?
            Well concurrently all citizens could adopt carbon rationing, imposing a limit on their carbon emissions.

            But before all the above could occur, we need just one thing and we need it desperately: Public support for drastic action. The urgency and demands of the science needs to be communicated. At the moment, the public level of consciousness seems to be constrained to “climate change is bad” and “solar, PV EVs and wind are good”. That’s about the level of detail we ascend to, sadly.

          • David Mitchell

            Well Shane, you have outed yourself as a shouter, not a doer. You have no plan and no solution except to deride others trying to contribute.

            I’m as much across the science as you, and the “plan” I am following is for Australia to emit 10.1 gt CO2-e between 2015 and 2050 which is what the CCA calculates is our fair share of global emissions to stay under 2C. Needless to say, current government emission targets for 2030 don’t do that, which is a problem that will need to be addressed, but will only be addressed if we can create enough downward momentum by (say) 2025.

            Concrete actions between now and 2020. Push as much renewable energy into the grid as possible so that we reach a tipping point where we can’t go back to the old “baseload and peak”. Luckily we are just about there. Certainly in South Australia where we will generate ~57% of electricity from wind and solar FY2017. I am confident that the transition to renewable energy sources will now proceed pretty quickly. I’ll make a prediction, by 2030, 75% of Australia’s electricity generation will be renewable. Storage will play a big part in this and there are three promising technologies, batteries, pumped hydro and the concrete railcars among a host of others.

            Simultaneously we need to get as much transport and industry off fossil fuels and onto electricity. Hence our discussion about electric vehicles. We are also aided by the strong increase in domestic gas prices, which will assist on converting industry to electricity, and probably self consumption which drives more solar and wind deployment. Industrial heat is another issue to solve, but there ways to deal with that as well.

            This is all a technology answer. From a social perspective, lets educate more people, which is how you slow population growth, stop having wars about energy, water and food security and finally decrease inequality. Easy to say, hard to do.

            All of those who are working to achieve these goals, no matter how small an effort, have my respect and support.

          • Shane White

            So you don’t know me and claim I’m not a doer. Thanks. And you’re wrong.

            Secondly 2C is utter BS. Read and watch the media from Hansen and Rignot. Have a browse through my comments history for links – maybe just the vids.

            I read your solution. Yes it’s mostly tech, and the social is weak. How about personal carbon rationing, banning flying, rationing meat consumption blah blah blah. Fundamental ways of life need to change.

            I’ve changed my life as far as humanely possible but all this will do is make me feel better; nobody will cease flying simply because I don’t and can present an objective case for not doing so. All I can do now is communicate.

            So much for my statement: “And if I don’t have the plan you request, does that undermine the need? No it doesn’t, does it?”
            I knew you wouldn’t listen. Yet, I did provide some sort of plan, just didn’t go into enough detail for you.

            A paradigm shift is needed, brought about by a declaration of an emergency with public support for drastic action. How to bring that about is the question. Sounds like you’re in SA – go stand (or cycle) alongside the SE freeway sometime. Physically stand there for 5 mins and think. I cycle up and down it and just shake my head at the chasm between normal and reality.

          • Shane White

            “The West Antarctic Ice Sheet rests on bedrock that is below sea level and is protected by a fringe of floating ice shelves. The melting and disintegration of these ice shelves would accelerate the flow of ice into the ocean. Were the ice sheet to melt completely, as probably occurred during the Earth’s last inter-glacial period about 125,000 years ago, it contains enough mass to raise global mean sea level by three meters (11 feet).”

            Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-scientists-large-scale-surface-event-antarctica.html#jCp

            And Earth’s mean temp is now what it was during the Eemian (last interglacial). Yet we have another 0.6C (rounding up) in the pipeline (energy imbalance stored in the oceans), and if we were to remove all cooling aerosols such as sulphur aerosols from coal fired power stations, we’d add another 0.6C very quickly (months IIRC?). Taking aerosol removal into account, 2C corresponds to 405ppm of atmospheric CO2 according to Mann, and CO2 is currently 409ppm.

            Somehow I think Nature will be reaching tipping points before us. Buying and selling stuff is never the answer to an emergency.

          • Marley

            Back on to the Lithium supply Shane, there is, and will be no shortage of Lithium for the world’s passenger car fleet.

          • Shane White

            That’s nice but did I ever question or cast doubt on lithium supply?

      • Marley

        When are you going to get around to Tesla’s alleged “Whompy wheels” Shane?

        • Shane White

          You’ve lost me too.

  • Les Johnston

    EV and hybrid sales are not being helped by the tax incentives for companies to buy big 4 wheel drives as trade vehicles and the diesel fuel rebate. All levels of Government are not addressing the significant air pollution coming from ICE vehicles and in particular the ultrafine particles. With 10 years out of date new motor vehicle emission controls, Australian has a highly polluting motor vehicle fleet. Health effects of the air pollution caused by ICE emissions should be applied as a pollution charge. This would at least recognise the scientific evidence of health damage caused by ICE vehicles – even new obsolete vehicles relative to those in Europe and US.

  • Robert Comerford

    This situation will only change when they are price competitive and fast chargers are as convenient as petrol stations are now.
    An intelligent population would have insisted the government encourage local manufacture of a suitable vehicle as they did in the 40’s. A PHEV SUV with enough battery to do an average daily commute and a charger motor that could run on a range of liquid renewable fuels as well as fossil ones for the long haul. One day in the future it may be possible to have long range battery only vehicles that everyone can own but in the meantime we would be better served if most of us did not have to go to the bowser on a regular basis.

  • Radbug

    I love Vespas! The Li-S battery-powered Vespa will be awesome! (The Li-ion Vespa is already on the market.) It is so lovely to travel on a “motor”scooter that is as quiet as a car. In Queensland, at least, there is a big problem, if one wishes to buy a car AND a scooter, he/she will have to buy Third Party insurance for BOTH vehicles, even though only one vehicle at a time is ever used!! Purchase of an E-Vespa, in addition to a car, is hampered by this costly State government regulation. The solution is to require everyone who obtains a car licence to purchase TP insurance, automatically. If you want a car licence it is because you want to drive a car, right?