The number of electric vehicles on Australian roads has almost doubled over the past year, growing from 44,000 at the beginning of 2022 to more than 83,000, according to research based on sales data released in the Electric Vehicle Council’s yearly recap.
That figure is expected to top 100,000 in the coming months.
Of the 83,000 in circulation, 79% are battery electric vehicles while 21% are plug-in hybrids.
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Electric vehicles accounted for 3.8% of all new vehicle sales in Australia in 2022, however their market share varies dramatically by region. Market share was strongest in the Australian Capital Territory, with almost 10% of all new cars bought in 2022 being electric, up from 5% in 2021.
Electric vehicle market share was 4% in New South Wales and Victoria and slightly more than 3% in Queensland in 2022, but just 1% in the Northern Territory.
Tesla Model 3 was the most bought EV model in 2022, with 10,877 sold, while 8,717 Tesla Model Ys were sold.
Charging infrastructure – which was seriously challenged over the summer holidays with long queues for chargers at regional facilities – has also improved, but not at the same pace as electric car sales. Public chargers increased from 3,413 in 2021 to 4,943 in 2022, with fast chargers up from 231 to 365 in the same period.
The report specifically calls for more multi-bay, ultrafast charging sites to be built in regional areas at a “reasonable spacing, so that drivers are able to recharge when making long trips”, as well as in urban areas for drivers who can’t charge their cars at their homes.
Electric Vehicle Council chief executive, Behyad Jafari, said the number of EVs in Australia would tick over to 100,000 sometime this year, with even bigger growth forecast than in 2022.
Jafari said every electric vehicle in Australia is sold out, and that they’re “often sold out within hours of being made available to the Australian market”.
“Demand far outstrips supply, Australians are lined up ready to buy electric vehicles,” he said.
Jafari said ensuring greater electric vehicle uptake was important not only for the environment, but because as a country “we don’t want to rely on foreign oil”.
“The enthusiasm is there in abundance, we just need our governments to continue the policy reform that makes it easy to transition away from the exhaust pipe.”
More than 440 submissions to the federal government’s National Electric Vehicle Strategy were published on Friday, revealing widespread support for changes that could lower the price of EVs. In total, the consultation attracted more than 500 submissions representing more than 2,150 individuals.
There were also calls for more local production of lithium batteries, electric buses and trucks, however respondents were divided over whether to ban the sale of petrol or diesel cars from being sold in Australia, and whether motorists should pay to keep them on roads.
Most organisations, from energy suppliers to climate groups, revealed their support for a fuel-efficiency standard in Australia that would encourage car brands to bring more electric vehicles into the country.
The Clean Energy Council went a step further in its submission, setting a deadline of January 2024 for the introduction of “an ambitious and robust” standard.
The measure, which has already been introduced in the European Union, the US and New Zealand, would set a limit for pollution across a car brand’s entire fleet, and introduce penalties if they failed to meet it.
In its submission, climate action non-profit Boundless Earth called for the government to consider removing internal combustion engine vehicles from sale by 2030, while the Australian Electric Vehicle Association named 2035 as a deadline.
But the Australian Automotive Dealer Association argued any electric vehicle policy should explicitly “rule out” plans to ban petrol vehicles to give the industry certainty.
The federal government is expected to respond to the submissions before the May budget.