A 203 per cent jump in Australian electric vehicles sales for 2019 is welcome, but underscores just how transformational EVs could be with just a little more support from government, says the Electric Vehicle Council.
Newly released figures show 6,718 EVs were sold in Australia last year, up from 2,216 in 2018, says the council, the national body for electric vehicles.
In the same period, combustion engine vehicle sales dropped by 7.8 per cent.
Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said while the trend was promising, it showed how far Australia could go if it supported the EV industry like most other nations.
“The good news is that the number of Australians buying EVs is surging despite a lack of government incentives or support,” Mr Jafari said.
“The bad news is that even with this strong growth, EVs still one represent 0.6 per cent of sales. That compares poorly to 3.8 per cent of sales in Europe and 4.7 per cent of sales in China.
“If the Australian EV market had the same incentives and support as the EU and China, we would be talking about some 50,000 new EVs on our roads,’’ he said.
“That would actually start delivering significant benefit in terms of cleaning our air, lowering our carbon emissions, and lowering our dependence on foreign oil.
“Recently British PM Boris Johnson, a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, announced the UK would ban the sale of combustion engine vehicles by 2035 at the latest. EV tech will flood into the UK and stimulate the British economy. UK consumers will have access to the latest and most affordable EV models, and charging infrastructure will proliferate. If we embarked on similar policies the same thing would happen here.
“These new sales figures show that Australians are enthusiastic early adopters. We love seizing the advantages of new tech, and we love getting on board first. So even without government support we are still eager to embrace the myriad advantages of EVs.
“But if we had politics that really backed the electrification of our fleet, and people understood the government was behind the transition, we could be actively transforming our cities and our economy.
“Given that Australian decision makers at all levels are eager to start taking stronger action on climate change, transitioning away from combustion engine vehicles would be an excellent place to start.”