Australians love their Teslas. Over 4,400 were sold in May — 3,178 Model Y and 1,298 Model 3 electric vehicles. It is sad to see the number of Model 3s going down, but it is to be expected with the popularity of the SUV-shaped Model Y. Electric vehicles have maintained their approximately 7% penetration rate of the car market in Australia for the first 5 months of 2023. Over 32,000 electric cars have sold in the past 5 months. This bodes well for an expected doubling of the EV fleet in Australia in 2023, as predicted by Ergon Energy. Oh, what a feeling!
Veda Prime informs us that over 10,000 Teslas are on their way to Australia and should be delivered by the end of June. These are expected to be 85% Model Y and 15% Model 3. Stay tuned for even more excitement. Maybe we will even see a Bluey episode with dad driving a Tesla.
The top 5 places on the podium were occupied thus: Tesla Model Y (3,178), BYD Atto 3 (1,448), Tesla Model 3 (1,298), MG ZS EV (276), and the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge (226) both coming at number 5. Readers will note the massive gap between third and fourth place. On a side note, the Atto 3 has outsold the Teslas in New Zealand for the past three months — perhaps a sign of things to come.
A small entry in the Australian stats is sales of the Great Wall ORA Cat — 3 were sold in May. These high-tech affordable city cars are expected to make an impact on our market. My contact at Great Wall rang the other day and told me I should be able to test drive one soon. Facebook is reporting car transports loaded with the new entrant to the market leaving Melbourne for delivery to dealers.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries notes: “Sales of Battery Electric Vehicles were 7.7 per cent of the market in May and are running at 7.0 per cent year to date. Sales for electrified vehicles (Battery Electric Vehicle, Plug-In Hybrid and Hybrid) made up 15.6 per cent of the market in May.
“Toyota (18,340) was the market leader in May followed by Mazda (8,475), Hyundai (7,078), Kia (7,000) and Ford (6,251).
“The Toyota Hi-Lux (5,772) was the largest selling model followed by Ford Ranger (4,110), Tesla Model Y (3,178), Toyota RAV4 (2,616) and MG ZS (2,502).”
Until the electric utes get to our shores in reasonable numbers, #1–3 are likely to continue as they are. Great to see an EV (especially a Tesla) in the top 3. Oh, what a feeling! The Tesla Model Y is outselling the RAV 4, the Camry, and the Corolla!
Mixed messages are coming from Australia’s various governments. The federal government has just announced that it will change over from diesel-powered BMWs to battery electric vehicles — still BMWs. Apparently, Teslas aren’t luxurious enough. The Queensland state government has doubled the EV rebate from $3000 to $6000, and in a shock announcement, the Victorian state government will cease giving rebates for the purchase of an electric car.
In 2021, the Victorian government allocated funding to support EV uptake for 20,000 vehicles. The $3000 subsidy has now been scrapped after only funding 7,692 cars. The road usage tax which was brought in at the same time will continue at 2.5 cents per kilometre.
I recently wrote about a change in the narrative in Australia, a positive attitude change to electric vehicles. This was in the context of the Gayndah Orange Festival. Gayndah is a very conservative electorate in Queensland. The federal member of parliament was there and wouldn’t talk to us. Since then, we have been to events in Rockhampton and Gladstone. Both of these regional cities are conservative. Rockhampton is the beef export capital of Queensland and Gladstone is one of the largest coal export hubs in the world. We were once again amazed at the change in attitudes. The FUD has been replaced by genuine questions and people willing to listen to the answer.
At Rockhampton, we had 17 cars on display — a few of us from Brisbane, but most owned by locals. Visits from the local council member and the state member of parliament showed the interest that was being generated. I was interviewed by the regional newspaper and Arthur Hunt, who ably organised the event, was interviewed for radio and television. Cars ranged from an i-MiEV to a Porsche.
In Gladstone, we had two workers from the Shell display tell us that they had ordered their Model Ys and expected delivery this week. Next year, I hope they will be back as exhibiters for EVs and not an oil company.
Last year, I spoke with the Gladstone Toyota dealer who co-sponsored the Eco Fest and he assured me that the BZ4 would be available by the end of the year. He said the same last weekend. In a sign of desperation, they had a model of the car on display. It reminded me of when Toyotas first came to this country in the ’70s and were derided as toy cars — you could buy a sticker for the bumper on your Corolla that said “Not a Toy!” Oh, what a feeling.
As Teslas hit high mileages*, people are starting to notice that the advantage of EVs go beyond climate action and include longevity and cost savings. Although, my doctor won’t buy an EV until it makes a sound like a Porsche. …
Although the spotlight is on Tesla, and for very good reason, other brands are bringing their cars to the Australian market, too. We are still awaiting the MG 4 (which is doing so well in Europe) and the BYD Dolphin. OEMs are starting to advertise on mainstream TV, like the Cupra Born and the highly anticipated Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Electric vehicle watchers are eagerly awaiting June stats, as they should represent a step change in the numbers. Oh, what a feeling!
*Nathan Merritt is an Australian Uber driver who has recently driven his Model 3 over the 200,000 km mark.
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