He said a suite of new state-based policies to accelerate the uptake of zero emissions vehicles, particularly the $500 million package from NSW, had the whole industry “buoyant” about the effect it will have on electric vehicle availability and sales.
“The movement across most states and territories is now generally positive and that’s providing greater confidence to private sector investors, which will pave the way for more places to charge and better services to support e-mobility,” he said.
Victoria has set a sales target of 50 per cent new vehicles to be zero emissions by 2030 while NSW announced an electric vehicle strategy to increase sales to 53 per cent by 2030-2031. Both states and several others have also introduced financial rebates of up to $3000 for new electric vehicle purchases while some jurisdictions will waive stamp duty and registration fees.
The federal government has been heavily criticised by carmakers and advocacy groups for its refusal to set targets in the sector and previous public ridicule of the technology. It last year ruled out subsidising new cars to incentivise widespread uptake.
Government modelling found subsidies for battery electric vehicles was not value-for-money for taxpayers and was an expensive form of abatement and is optimistic that the total cost of ownership gap between EVs and internal combustion engine vehicles will close in the coming years.
Prices continue to drop, with Hyundai introducing three models under $48,000 in the past year, and MG and Nissan offering another three models under $50,000.
The latest data reflects the global trend as electric car sales rose by around 140 per cent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2020, driven by sales in China of around 500,000 vehicles and in Europe of around 450,000. US sales more than doubled relative to the first-quarter of 2020.
Despite the jump domestically, representing 1.57 per cent of the total light vehicle market, Australia sits significantly behind the rest of the world in electric vehicle adoption.
Greenhouse gas emissions within the transport sector represent almost 20 per cent of Australia’s annual totals with carbon levels from the automotive sector around half of that figure. Drastically reducing emissions in the sector is viewed as critical if the nation is to achieve a 26 to 28 per cent decrease from 2005 levels by 2030.
Mr Jafari said the nation needed to see more electric vehicle models available domestically, particularly at lower price points.
“That’s happening slowly, but if we want to accelerate the process and attract the globally limited electric vehicle supply, we need policies enacted at the national level, like fuel efficiency standards.”
Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the government had committed more than $1.4 billion to help increase the uptake of low and zero emissions vehicle technologies.
“These increasing EV and hybrids sales shows Australians are already making the choice to embrace future fuel technologies,” Mr Taylor said.
“While industry works to make more electric vehicle models available and more affordable, the Morrison government is getting on with the important work of delivering the infrastructure that’s needed to support Australians who want to buy and drive an EV.”
Most global carmakers, including Mazda, Nissan, General Motors and Ford in Europe have now set timelines to phase out petrol and diesel cars and become 100 per cent electric starting from 2030 out to 2035.
The report forecasts that by 2025, Audi will have 30 electric vehicle models available in Australia, Hyundai will have 23 models, the Renault group will have 24 models, and GM will have 30 models. Volkswagen will have 70 new electric models available by 2028, it said.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.