Electric cars are surging across NSW, with more green machines now registered in Canterbury-Bankstown and around Parramatta than anywhere else in the state as their prices fall and access to charging stations increases.

NSW registered electric vehicles, hybrid petrol-electric cars and those using “other fuel” including hydrogen more than doubled from 37,238 to 78,644 in the two years to September 2021.

Canterbury-Bankstown had the most passenger EVs in the state at 5105, while Blacktown was second with 3642, and Sydney City had 3436.

Areas with the highest rates of EV registrations were Sydney City (5 per cent of all passenger cars, excluding utes, 4WDs and people movers registered), followed by Willoughby, Bayside, Strathfield, Woollahra, and the Inner West with about 4 per cent.

Most Australians would like to buy an electric car, says Behyad Jafari, the CEO of Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council.CREDIT:LOUIE DOUVIS

Multiple councils, including Sydney City, Central Coast and Canterbury-Bankstown, have recently added dozens of EVs to their fleets and have plans to shift entirely to electric or hybrid electric in the near future.

Annual sales of EVs have grown from about 2000 nationally a few years ago to about 20,000, but that is still just two per cent of all new cars sold in Australia, Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said.

“Compared to other wealthy, prosperous nations, they’re selling about 20 per cent electric,” Mr Jafari said. “We need some basic things in place, like fuel efficiency standards, (to help) car manufacturers develop a business case to supply us with more EVs.”

Local demand for some models is so hot they’ve sold out online within an hour of release, Mr Jafari said.

“Based on waiting lists and company feedback, for every single electric car brought into Australia the car company can get five or six orders,” he said. “Our challenge as an industry is about convincing global car companies to bring electric vehicles here, there’s very little work we need to do to convince Australians to buy them.”

NSW has the country’s best EV policy, Mr Jafari said, with rebates to reduce prices, exemptions from stamp duty and “heavy investment” in the rollout of charging infrastructure.

Tesla is the top-selling EV brand in NSW, but it is “no longer just an eastern suburb’s thing”, Tesla owner’s club of Australia president Mark Tipping said.

“When people like myself got into them six years ago the cars were much more expensive, a base model then was $120,000-ish, and the top of the range Model S exceeded $300,000.

“Now a model 3 standard range plus drive-away is less than $60,000, there’s an MG for $43,000 and others are coming in (that will be less than $40,000).

“It’s no longer a rich man’s car. It’s basically cheaper than the basic-level BMW 318i (and) you don’t have to pay for maintenance. There’s no servicing, there are no brakes (they use engine braking), so the car becomes very cheap.”

Owners who join the club have shifted from car enthusiasts to younger people, and “more greenies” as the price has dropped, he said.

“We have about 2000 members nationally. In the earlier days, it was like when I owned a Ferrari. Most people who bought the car joined the club because it was for enthusiasts, but now they’re selling to people who don’t really care about cars.”

Recent spikes in petrol prices have not hit South Coogee builder David West too hard, despite owning two cars.

Mr West says he would consider buying an EV if he had to drive further for work, but the upfront cost and lack of charging options at home would be major impediments to him switching cars.

David West buying petrol at the Ampol station in North Bondi.CREDIT:PHOTO: FLAVIO BRANCALEONE

“Charging points would be the biggest issue for me,” Mr West, 58, said. “I live in a flat, so that’s the biggest drawback.

“A tank of fuel does me for a couple of weeks but if I had to travel further, I would be seriously looking into one.”

Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour said the Bankstown master plan mandates five per cent of parking spaces in new developments have EV charging facilities, all parking spaces must be ‘EV Ready’ and rapid charging spaces are required in new commercial developments.

“The uptake of low emission and energy-efficient vehicles is helping to build a more resilient city, with many benefits, including better air quality,” Mr Asfour said.

Research shows EVs are significantly cheaper to run, with fuel savings of up to 70 per cent and reduced maintenance costs of around 40 per cent.

An average car travelling 13,700 km per year would save more than $1200 if charged overnight on an off-peak tariff.

Extracted in full from: ‘It’s no longer a rich man’s car’: Where electric car ownership is surging in Sydney (smh.com.au)

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