electric vehicle

Roy Morgan predicts half a million more EVs in four years, but is Australia ready for such a boom?

New research from Roy Morgan has shown that more than half a million Australians plan on buying an electric vehicle in the next four years, but the question is, is Australia ready for such a boom?

Theo Foukkare, CEO, Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) told C&I that while the Roy Morgan estimates on intent to purchase are not surprising, the questions that really need to be answered are will we have the infrastructure to support this increase in EVs on the road? And will the car manufacturers actually deliver these vehicles to Australia?

“The Federal Government still does not have a fuel efficiency standard in place so there is next to no motivation for overseas car manufacturers to aggressively deliver EV cars into Australia, which has resulted in Australia being used as a dumping ground for internal combustion engines (ICE) vehicles,” explains Foukkare.

The Roy Morgan figures show that 548,000 Australians have plans to buy an EV in the next four years – equal to 12.5 per cent of all those intending to purchase a new vehicle in this period.

It found that 61 per cent of those planning to buy an EV are men – however this is a vast change from 2020, when the split was 76 per cent men and 24 per cent women.

Intention to buy an EV has more than doubled across all age groups – and more than tripled for all age groups aged 35+. Now 51 per cent of intending EV buyers are aged 50+. The fastest growth in intention to purchase has been for Australians aged 65+ increasing more than threefold (340 per cent) in only two years.

In a time of rising interest rates, home ownership status is a key demographic to watch. The intention to purchase an EV is split evenly between homeowners (41 per cent) and those paying off their home (39 per cent) with a further 20 per cent split between renters and those in other housing arrangements.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says the intention to purchase an EV has accelerated rapidly as brands like Tesla have become increasingly visible on our roads.

“The largest driver of this increase is the growing popularity of the Tesla brand. Tesla is synonymous with electric vehicles and has experienced a similar surge in interest as a wider variety of models have become available. Now 369,000 Australians say they intend to purchase a Tesla in the next four years compared to only 37,000 in the year to March 2018 – an increase of almost 900 per cent.

“The surge in interest has led to a similar surge in sales. The official VFACTS sales data so far in 2023 shows Tesla is now the sixth highest selling brand in Australia behind five well-established Asian vehicle manufacturers – Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, and Kia. This is a sharp rise for Tesla which was only the 16th largest selling brand of car as recently as 2022,” she said.

But Foukkare explains that a practical matter that hasn’t been considered is the lack of affordability of most EV vehicles and the limited choice of models available, making them more expensive than most cars.

He said: “I understand that this is changing, however it is going to take many years. In 2022, approximately 34,000 EVs were purchased out of a total of 1.1 million new passenger vehicles, so to achieve these (Roy Morgan) forecasts, a lot has to change and fast – but that is not what is happening. Yes, there are more and more incentives being offered, but the government can only subsidise for a period as it is a very expensive lever that they are pulling. We have seen in most developing EV markets globally, as soon as government rebates are removed, EV new car sales drop by 50 per cent overnight.”

Another concern raised by the AACS CEO is whether the Australian government’s investment in infrastructure is ready to support such an acceleration of EVs on our roads.

Foukkare says: “While the Federal and State Governments are rolling out supposed ‘electric highways’, their approach is not global best practice. They are persisting in predominantly rolling out slow charging equipment, which is exactly what countries like Norway and the UK are now replacing with fast charging equipment based on the user experience and their learnings.

“The Norway experience tells us that 75 per cent of charging will be done at home or work and the balance is being completed on the go. It is a vastly different geography to Australia, so the numbers don’t necessarily translate that well in Australia. Consumers even in Norway, are still having to plan their trip around where they can charge, and they are learning quickly that fast charging (150kw up to 350kw) equipment is what is required to keep everyone moving.

“Fast charging is only possible when the electricity grid can support this level of power in a location, which is still either limited in availability or very expensive to achieve.

“Having spent time in Oslo, Norway this month, the facts are clear – 80 per cent of new cars sold are EV, however even after 10+ years of the government heavily subsidising purchases and investing in infrastructure to support the transition, still only two out of every 10 cars on the road are electric. From where they are now, their transition is going to take somewhere between 15-25 years.

“We are so far behind countries like Norway, the EV transition in Australia on the most aggressive forecasts, suggest that this is going to take a very long time.”

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1 thought on “Roy Morgan predicts half a million more EVs in four years, but is Australia ready for such a boom?”

  1. Not a fanboy of EV. Driving an EV feels weird, and no matter how many people tell me just get used to it, I just don’t.

    Besides the expensive price tag and inconvenient charging, fanboys seldom talk about the expensive battery replacement down the road.

    I believe the media and EV manufacturers vastly overblows the benefit of EVs to our environment.

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