Car market continues to evolve with hybrids extending lead over BEVs

A new report has shown that Australians are shifting towards electric vehicles and that the market share of internal combustion engines (ICE) is continuing to decline.

This is according to the quarterly update of the AAA’s EV Index, which found that battery electric vehicle (BEV) and hybrid new vehicle sales continue to grow. Both segments recorded record market share in the three months to 31 March.

The AAA EV Index online data dashboard, produced by the Australian Automobile Association, analyses all new light vehicle sales across the country.

In national new light vehicle sales from Q4 2023 to Q1 2024:

  • ICE sales fell by 8.03 per cent and ICE market share dropped to 78.18 per cent, going below 80 per cent for the first time.
  • BEV sales continued to grow strongly, reaching 8.70 per cent market share, but they were outsold by hybrids, which recorded record sales volume and market share (11.95 per cent).
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (HFCEVs) still have very small market shares. Collectively, ICE vehicles, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hybrids accounted for 98.7 per cent of the quarter’s total new light vehicle sales.
  • From Q4 to Q1, national light vehicle sales declined by 3.54 per cent, but year-on-year (31 March 2023 to 31 March 2024) total sales rose 13.91 per cent.

Sales figures over the five quarters confirm a clear trend of growth for BEVs and hybrids and a gradually shrinking market share for ICEs. But there have also been significant quarterly fluctuations in the past 15 months.

Over that period, BEV market share rose from 6.77 per cent to 8.70 per cent and total BEV sales rose from 17,396 to 25,468. The strongest quarters for total BEV sales and markets share were Q2 2023 and Q1 2024.

In the first half of 2023 BEVs outsold hybrids, but since then hybrids have outsold BEVs in three consecutive quarters, accounting for 11.95 per cent of all light vehicle sales (rising from 9.46 per cent in Q4 2023 and up from 6.26 per cent in Q1 last year). Hybrid sales volume rose by 117 per cent in the 12 months from the end of 31 March 2023 to 31 March 2024.

ICE vehicle sales have risen year-on-year (up from 222,136 in Q1 2023 to 228,961 in Q1 2024), but over that period the ICE share of a growing market has declined by more than eight per cent (down from 86.40 per cent to 78.18 per cent). Over the last five quarters, ICE market share peaked in Q1 2023 (86.40 per cent) and sales volume peaked in Q4 2023 (248,943).

In the March quarter, ICE vehicles still dominated the small car, small SUV and large SUV market segments with hybrids a distant second.

More than 99 per cent of utes and vans sold were ICE vehicles, as were more than 95 per cent of people movers sold. But only 18.61 per cent of medium-sized cars sold were pure ICE.

BEVs accounted for 52.56 per cent of medium car sales and 39.48 per cent of large car sales. BEVs also performed relatively strongly in the medium SUV segment (14.77 per cent of sales).

Hybrids sold most strongly among medium cars (28.44 per cent), medium SUVs (21.61 per cent), small cars (17.05 per cent) and small SUVs (11.91 per cent).

The AAA EV Index collates information from multiple national, state and territory sources, including information provided by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, which is used with the FCAI’s permission.

The Index is intended to enable consumers, businesses, and fleet managers to see the trends transforming the national vehicle market.

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