Will 2024 Be the Year We Finally Embrace EVs? All Roads Lead to Yes

An image of a new EV being released in Australia in 2024

Australia’s reputation as an electric vehicle shy laggard was shattered last year. EV sales in 2023 doubled the total of the year before, which already doubled the total of the year prior. Combined with hybrid vehicles and plug-in hybrids, more than 16% of the market in new car sales went to low-emission vehicles. These are wild statistics for a country that purchased just 5,149 EVs just two years ago.

Experts predict that if 2023 was the year EVs roared into life in this country, 2024 could well be the year of EV dominance. New, cheaper models are entering the market, releasing the Tesla stranglehold and bringing renewable-powered travel within reach of the average person. Federal and state policies are ramping up to make ownership more attractive while investments in infrastructure are beginning to pay off. Range anxiety is soon to be a thing of the past.

That said, it’s not all smooth sailing in the EV game. Australia still lags well behind world leaders like Norway, where EV sales made up 91% of new vehicles in 2023. Iceland had similar figures, while Sweden, the Netherlands, and other parts of northern Europe sit at around 30%.

With petrol prices remaining high, climate anxiety on the rise, and the economics of owning an EV becoming more attractive, 2024 is looking well set up to deliver big in the EV space in Australia. Here’s what to expect over the coming year.

EV Sales in 2024

Experts and analysts predict that the surge in EV sales seen over the last few years will continue over the next 12 months, with 2024 being seen as something of a tipping point for EVs.

Drive.com.au predicts that growth in EV sales will double again this year, putting total sales at just under 200,000 vehicles for 2024. This is driven, they argue, by the influx of more affordable models.

The Electric Vehicle Council is also forecasting continued strong growth in 2024. They predict that EVs could even overtake hybrids this year, which they almost drew parity within 2023. Again, increasing availability and affordability are key drivers for them.

Market research firm Mordor Intelligence suggests that the Australian EV market will reach a value of $12.7 billion this year, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.06% through to the end of the decade. Their analysis takes in the government’s supporting role through incentives and infrastructure investments.

Australia needs all new vehicles sold by 2035, at the latest, to be zero emissions if we are to reach the global goal of net zero by 2050. However, the rapid policy interventions required to achieve that target, as laid out by the EVC, are yet to materialise. While the numbers are good, Australia needs to do a lot more to hit those targets.

Key EV Policies in 2024

Last year, the Federal Government released its first-ever Electric Vehicle Strategy aimed at increasing EV selection, charging options, and affordability. However, the policy is largely void of any real substance, given that it is an amalgamation of old policies already announced or in place with the promise of another major one that has yet to materialise.

Australia is the only country, save for Russia, in the OECD without fuel efficiency standards. These are caps on the emissions output of new vehicles which would penalise manufacturers who continue to sell high-polluting vehicles. It’s thought that the introduction of these standards will rapidly make EVs a far more attractive option.

An image of EV charging in Australia
Image: Pexels

However, while the policy was intended for implementation by the end of last year, the government is now saying that they hope to get it up this year. The work has proven more “complicated” than Energy Minister Chris Bowen had anticipated and the government has been accused of “idling at the starting line” by the Climate Council.

Outside of the fuel efficiency standards introduction, fringe benefits tax was extended last year to make tax benefits and salary sacrifice options for EVs more attractive this year.

In addition, the government is continuing its $150 million fast charging for remote and regional communities programme and its $39.9 million driving the nation fund. These programmes, combined with state initiatives and private developments mean that 2024 is likely to see hundreds of fast charging stations added to the national supply this year.

New EV Models for 2024

Depending on who you ask and how you count it, there are roughly 90 different EV options on the Australian market currently. Coming up in 2024, we can expect to see the market get broader and more diverse, particularly at the bottom end.

An image of a new EV being released in Australia in 2024
Image: LDV

Excitingly, there are a number of models coming in to rival some of the country’s most popular vehicle categories. These include the much anticipated LDV eT60, the first EV ute to enter the Australian market and the Ford E-Transit Custom, the electric version of its popular Transit Custom vans. Volkswagen are also releasing the EV version of their iconic campervan, the VW ID Buzz, which is expected to arrive in the second half of this year.

An image of a new EV being released in Australia in 2024
Image: Volkswagen

Entry-level offerings will come in the form of the Chery Momoda 5 EV, an affordable hatchback slated for early this year, and the MG 4 Essence. BYD is expected to follow up the success of the Dolphin with the Dolphin Sport, a more powerful variant that could come in at a similarly competitive price point.

An image of a new EV being released in Australia in 2024
Image: Ford

Last year, the Tesla Model Y was the most popular selling vehicle to private buyers in 2023 across all categories. This year, Kia will launch their EV9 in Q3, a full-sized SUV that could rival the Model Y. In the same vein, BMW is about to drop its iX2, a smaller car than the Y but with better performance capabilities.

An image of a new EV being released in Australia in 2024
Image: BMW

It’s no secret that Australia loves 4x4s though, and in that regard, there are a number of beefy EVs incoming. The above-mentioned eT60 will be joined by the LDV Maxus GST, boasting a 600km range, and the as-yet-unnamed BYD ute. The latter may not arrive until 2025 however, along with the Ford F-150 Lightning.

For anyone looking for vehicles with a bit of grunt, the EV space is no longer one to shy away from in 2024.

Related: The 5 Sexiest Electric Vehicles Money Can Buy

Related: The Cheapest Electric Vehicles You Can Buy in Australia Right Now

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