Drivers are jumping on the electric vehicle bandwagon

Electric cars, electric vehicles, EVs – whatever you call them, it’s hard to ignore that Australians are obsessed with transport alternatives that don’t consume petrol or diesel.

Green car sales are up 120% this year, and that’s only halfway there.

In fact, from January to June, 8.4% of all new car sales in Australia were electric, compared to just 3.8% for the whole of 2022.

Nearly 50,000 EVs have been sold across the country since we entered 2023, with an estimated 130,000 EVs now being driven on Australian roads.

Compare that to last year’s total of 33,410 cars, just 3.1% of the total new car market.

Electric car charging.

So, what’s all the fuss about?

According to the National Electric Vehicle Strategy Framework, light vehicles account for approximately 62% of transport emissions.

Heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses and railways make up another 26%.

Australia aims to reduce its emissions by 43% by 2030, and net zero emissions by 2050.

Electric vehicle proponents believe that all drivers should embrace efforts to decarbonize transportation sectors by moving away from gas-powered vehicles.

Types of electric vehicles

There are currently two types of electric cars on Australian roads; Battery electric vehicles, or BEVs, are the most popular, currently accounting for more than 90% of the market (109,000) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which appear twice in the top 15 makes and models and account for 21,000 of the PHEVs. Electric vehicles on our roads.

Brands and models

Tesla still holds first place in Australia, where the Tesla Model Y represents 30% of total electric car sales.

The brand is currently worth US$90 billion, boasts Elon Musk as its largest shareholder, and accounts for the majority of electric vehicle sales in Australia.

Tesla Model Y, Tesla Model 3 and BYD Atto 3 account for more than 68% of the country’s electric vehicle market.

The 5 best-selling electric cars in Australia in 2023

Tesla Model Y – 14,002

Tesla Model 3 – 11,575

World Atto 3 – 6,196

MG ZS EV – 1,787

Volvo XC40 – 1,596

An electric vehicle charging station has been installed at Lake Macquarie City Hall, Spurs Point.

One country after another

In 2022, the Australian Government introduced a Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) exemption for electric vehicles to encourage sales.

The incentive means that EVs can be purchased as fleet vehicles and through salary sacrifice arrangements.

The government also removed import duties on electric vehicles made in some countries, namely the UK and Europe.

The number of Australians taking advantage of the savings varies from state to state, with ACT leading Australia with 21.8% of all its new cars being electric.

Tasmania and New South Wales are next at 9%, followed by Victoria at 8.5%, Queensland 7.7%, WA 7.5%, South Africa 6.5%, and the Northern Territory at just 2.4%.

Local personalities

The popularity of electric vehicles has certainly reached the Hunter region.

Earlier this year, Transport for NSW vehicle data showed hybrid and electric vehicles made up more than 2% of all passenger cars registered across the five Low Hunter LGAs.

In fact, numbers jumped by 16% in the six months to April 30, with there now 7,030 hybrids and 1,270 electric cars on local roads.


Environmental factors arguably drove the initial investment in EVs among Australian consumers.

With wars raging overseas, threatening oil prices and raising concerns about imports, there is no doubt that many Australians are looking for ways to play a role in transforming the current environmental problems within our shores.

Electric cars are being promoted as a measurable way to reduce carbon emissions.

Although these latest sales figures are encouraging, for Australia to meet its climate targets, it is expected that more than 50% of all new cars sold in 2030 will need to be electric.

This means Australia will need to target around 1 million electric cars on our roads by the end of 2027.

Australia is lagging behind

While we’ve clearly bought into the idea that we’re saving the planet by buying an electric car that costs more than my annual wage, we still lag behind a number of other countries.

Norway currently leads the way, with 90% of electric vehicle sales.

Sweden, the Netherlands and China are not far behind.

Even Thailand recently overtook Australia, with our EV sales figures at 8.3%, well below the global average of 22%.

What then? – Heavy electric vehicles

The Electric Vehicle Council, the national body representing Australia’s electric vehicle industry, has spoken out about why progress in electric vehicles in Australia has been slow.

“Unfortunately, domestic adoption of heavy electric vehicles, including buses and trucks, remains lagging – largely due to a lack of regulatory reform by the government to enable uptake.

“Although there is strong interest from the industry in switching to electric heavy vehicles, this transition is hampered by a lack of suitable vehicles.

“This comes as a result of the Australian Government imposing restrictive vehicle mass and width requirements which increases costs and limits the range of electric buses and vans that can be sold in Australia.

“Without immediate action, the decarbonisation of Australia’s 800,000 buses and trucks will continue to be delayed, leaving consumers paying more for goods and communities breathing more vehicle pollution.”

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