The total cost of owning an electric vehicle will match some equivalent petrol or diesel-powered cars as soon as next year, according to analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The analysis, released on Tuesday, found electric cars “should start to achieve total cost of ownership parity with equivalent internal-combustion [cars] as early as 2020 in Australia for some segments of the market”.

Ali Asghar, a Bloomberg NEF analyst, said vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf would match similar sized models like the BMW-3 series by next year. For models such as Toyota’s Camry or the Honda Accord, the parity point in ownership costs including purchase price was three to five years off.

“The crossover point is coming very close,” Mr Asghar said, as tumbling battery costs allow manufacturers to drive prices lower.Advertisement

EVs have been a point of difference between the Coalition and Labor during the election campaign after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten set a goal of half of new cars sales being electric by 2030 and proposing tougher average emissions standards for petrol and diesel models.

The Coalition labelled the plans a “carbon tax” for cars and Mr Morrison stated during Monday’s debate in Perth that a new EV would cost $28,000 more “than a standard car”.

Just 2176 plug-in electric cars were sold in Australia in 2018 – or about one in 500 new sales – in part because of the higher upfront costs and lack of models.

Bloomberg NEF, though, predicts 53 EV models will enter the Australian market by 2023 when sales will have climbed to 40,000, or about 3 per cent without any government policy to propel a take-up.

While politicians have focused on consumers, the spur for EV purchases may well come from the business sector, with fleet purchases accounting for about a fifth of all vehicle sales.

AGL Energy and Eclipx have set electric vehicle targets, and with a fleet cycle of two to four years, such purchases can increase demand, Mr Asghar said.

Hurdles for EVs, though, include the lack of recharging points, particularly in remote regions.

Home-based charging could also be challenging for the one in six households living in flats or semi-detached units that do not have access to dedicated charging points, Bloomberg NEF said.

The country’s poor emissions standards are another barrier, with average carbon-dioxide emissions for passenger cars at 171.5 grams per kilometre in 2017, or 13 per cent higher than the 2016 average in the US.

“While emissions intensity of new Australian cars fell over the last decade, it is still higher than countries such as Saudi Arabia where historically low petrol prices provided little incentive to improve vehicle efficiencies,” Bloomberg said.

Extracted from Sydney Morning Herald