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How many electric cars are there in Australia?

How many electric cars are there in Australia?

Since 2011, there have been more than 20,000 electric vehicle sales in Australia. There were approximately 50 electrified vehicles in Australia in 2020 that were for sale, with more models planned to hit the market in 2021. 

If you’re wondering “How many electric cars in the world?”, you may be surprised by the answer: electric car sales worldwide suggest that since their first introduction onto the market, in excess of 10.9 million electrified vehicles have been sold up until the end of 2020, a rise of more than three million since the end of 2019. 

Leading the charge is China, with a massive five million electrified vehicles on their roads after a decade of steady growth, followed by the US, which comparatively looks like it is lagging with a total of 1.77 million electrified vehicles sold overall in their electric car market.

It’s a far cry from electric car sales in Australia, with electric car sales statistics revealing that only approximately 20,000 EVs have been sold here in the last decade. Yes, in a market that regularly buys more than 1 million new cars a year, that is an absolutely tiny, and possibly abysmal, number. 

Electric car sales in Australia accounted for a mere 0.7 per cent of the overall market in 2020, a drop in the ocean compared to 10 per cent in both the UK and European Union in 2020. 

A reason for last year’s slow EV sales had much to do with COVID-19, with the disruption of the pandemic causing delivery delays from manufacturers, who turned their attention to countries with far healthier markets for electrified vehicles. 

The 2020 calendar year played in stark contrast to 2019 in terms of electric cars sales in Australia. During 2019, electrified vehicle uptake tripled thanks to the arrival of the Tesla Model 3, the all-conquering EV that accounts for half of all the electric cars that are sold in Australia (if you want to know many Teslas in Australia, the company recently passed the major milestone of having shipped 10,000 Model 3s here since 2019). 

A significant factor in the lack of uptake of electrified vehicles in Australia comes down to our country’s lack of incentives and tax breaks for potential EV drivers, with Victoria even going to the extreme measure of considering a law to charge EV owners a tax of 2.5 cents per kilometre and owners of hybrids two cents per kilometre. 

Other countries aren’t being aggressively anti-EV in their approach, in fact they’re mostly the opposite. 

The market share of electrified vehicles in Norway in 2020 was a staggering 74.7 per cent, a huge leap from a tiny 6.1 per cent in 2013, meaning that seeing an EV on the road there is a relatively common sight.  

The major reason why electric car sales have been so healthy over the last few years in that country is Norway’s incredibly attractive incentives to buy electrified vehicles, like EVs being exempt from all non-recurring vehicle fees, including high purchase taxes, and cuts of at least 50 per cent to parking, toll road and ferry charges.

Reticence from the Australian Government to incentivise driving electrified vehicles has had both a negative impact on their cost - low sales equals high price tags - and what we have available to buy. 

Europe’s largest automaker, Volkswagen, has now pushed back the Australian debut of its range of ID electric cars from 2021 to 2023, due to the government’s attitude toward electrified vehicles, the company even going so far as to label Australia’s EV policies as being equivalent to a “third-world country.” 

As you’d expect, projections for yea-on-year growth in the Australian EV market predict a trend of slow progress: with 18 per cent of new cars in Australia being electrified by 2030 and 64 per cent by 2040, according to BloombergNEF.

While we can only hope the Australian Government looks at countries like Norway and follows suit - although don’t bet your battery pack on it just yet - there are still a reasonable number of electrified vehicles currently getting about on Australian roads. 

Electric car sales by state

NSW

There are around 6,400 EVs on the road in New South Wales, with NSW drivers owning three in every 10 electric cars within Australia. 

VIC

Victoria rolls into second place with 5,800 EVs on the road, which equates to one for every 1,150 people.

QLD

There’s one EV for every 1,526 people in Queensland, which has 3,400 EVs on the road.

SA

There’s one EV for every 741 people in South Australia, where 11.5% of Australia’s EVs are registered. 

ACT

The ACT has the highest number of EVs per capita in Australia, with one in 492 people owning an EV. However, the ACT only accounts for four per cent of the nation’s EVs. 

WA

One in every 1,852 people in Western Australia drive an EV, where you’ll find approximately 1,400 electric vehicles on the road. 

TAS

Tasmania has around 340 electric vehicles on roads, or one for every 1,599 people.

NT

The Northern Territory comes in lucky last with a low 40 electric cars, or one in every 6,000 people.

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