Australia does not have the most hospitable environment for electric vehicles. We are the only country on the planet that actually puts a tax on their usage, rather than provide incentives as many others do.
However, despite governments dragging their feet on the green revolution, it appears that the Australian public is already in full support of the shift away from petrol and diesel vehicles.
The majority of Australians are ready to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle and want their governments to do more to support the transition, says the 2021 Consumer Attitudes Survey from the Electric Vehicles Council and carsales.com.au.
The survey covers 3000 car buyers and the results are in stark contrast to the rhetoric and policy pursuits of leaders.
“Australians are now well and truly ready to go electric,” said Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari.
“This survey shows we understand the personal benefits and we’re also ready to start contributing to the societal advantages of the electric transition – like lower carbon emissions, increased fuel security, and cleaner air.
54 per cent of those surveyed said that they consider an electric vehicle as their next car, while just under half say that they will likely be driving an electric car by 2030.
The results show that people want electric vehicles because of their low maintenance and running cost, their safety features, their driving performance, and their environmental impact.
However, purchasing costs and the lack of infrastructure supporting electric vehicles in Australia is holding many consumers back.
40% said that they would be more likely to purchase an electric vehicle if governments helped to subsidise the initial purchase cost. Similarly, 92% said that they would consider buying an electric vehicle if the charging infrastructure was in place to support them.
Norway, one of the world’s leading markets for EVs, has removed GST on the purchase of next-generation vehicles and exempts users from road tax. EV owners can also get discounts on vehicles purchased for businesses. Many Norwegian cities also offer free parking, discount ferries and tolls, and discount charging for EVs.
As such, in 2020, over two thirds of new vehicles purchased in the country were electric.
Australia has no such benefit schemes in place, despite the fact that transport is the country’s third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. However, that appears to be more down to political decisions than public opinion.
“What this survey also demonstrates is Australians are well out ahead of their government when it comes to electric vehicle attitudes,” Jafari said.
“Half the population now see themselves behind the wheel of an electric car by 2030. But they’re frustrated by Australian policies that mean many of the best affordable EV models don’t make it to our shores.
“The politics on EVs has shifted massively in a short period of time, and politicians should ensure they don’t get stuck in the past. Australians now recognise the abundant advantages of driving an electric car. Their remaining hesitancy is about the support they are getting to make the switch.
“If the Australian Government starts introducing policies to encourage EV take up, similar to those in the UK, those policies will be met with overwhelming support from drivers and the broader electorate.”
carsales GM Customer Advocacy and Research, Deb Heaphy added: “We have conducted comprehensive EV studies this year and what we are seeing is great news for new EV-centric brands coming to Australia – consumers are not only open to influence but are ready to buy an EV.