Demand for electric vehicles rising but battery costs, policy inertia keep prices high
By Sourced Externally
April 7, 2022
A drop in the fuel excise coinciding with the increasing price of a key ingredient in batteries could mean the price of electric vehicles (EVs) will not drop as quickly as renewable energy proponents hope.
Electric vehicle prices may remain high because the price of lithium, used in batteries, has increased
In March, Tesla ranked fifth for Australian car sales
An expert believes brands such as Tesla and BYD will dominate the market in coming years
Industry advocate Anton Vikstrom said lithium prices had risen in line with EV demand at the same time the federal government made a budget promise to halve the fuel excise for six months.
“We were hoping the cost of batteries would come down but there’s been so much demand for EVs the price of lithium has gone up,” Mr Vikstrom, a director of Good Car Co, said.
“We’re a little bit worried that the price won’t come down quickly enough. However, when petrol prices hit $2.20, that weekend I sold 10 cars.”
Despite the changes, customers are still lining up to test-drive and order a new EV and Tesla’s Model 3 is the fifth-top-selling vehicle overall in Australia, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ VFACTS March report.
It was the first time Tesla released its sales data for comparison in the Australian market.
The brand came in behind Toyota’s HiLux and RAV4, the Mitsubishi Triton and Mazda CX-5.
Electric vehicle figures showed NSW topped the states for EV sales in 2021, moving 7,430 vehicles, ahead of Victoria’s 6,396 and Queensland’s 5,342.
Nationally, sales of EVs have tripled in the past 12 months and Tesla had roughly half the market share in Australia, Mr Vikstrom said.
Supply was also a key obstacle to uptake, with wait times of up to six months on most EV models.
Volvo Cars Brisbane North general manager Neil Marsh and Toowong Mazda sales executive Charles Antiporda both said customers ordering a Volvo XC-40 or Mazda MX-30 now would not see their new cars until September.
Mr Marsh said this year a third of orders were for EVs and “inquiry levels were through the roof”.
“Range and charging are the obvious questions people are asking, but they’re not questions based around fear,” he said.
Hurdles to EV uptake
Another Good Car Co director, Anthony Broese van Groenou, said the uptake of EVs in Queensland was “surprisingly high” but it was difficult to tell if the subsidy had made any impact because there was such low supply.
He said metropolitan residents were “really embracing EVs” but there was “still a fair bit to go in regional areas”.