The CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia Behyad Jafari says it is so hard to buy an electric vehicle in Australia that it is akin to winning the lottery.
Jafari’s observations would be well known to readers of The Driven, and to those who have queued online and waiting months, or in some cases, years to get hold of an electric vehicle, and were made at the start of the EV Summit in Canberra, where a major push to finally get fuel emissions standards in Australia was launched.
The fuel emissions standards are seen as a critical issue because most car companies – with the exception of EV specialists like Tesla, Polestar and BYD – have made it clear their supply priorities are in markets, like Europe, where they need to sell many EVs to meet strict average fuel emissions standards.
Jafari pointed to the example of an unnamed car company that sold out its Australian allocation of 500 vehicles within an hour and had 16,000 customers queuing for a vehicle.
That example sounds very familiar, it could by Kia, or it could be Hyundai (although their allocation has been selling out in a matter of minutes in lots of around 100), but it also speaks to the experience of nearly every car maker, and to all consumers.
“It means that finding an electric vehicle in Australia is far too much like winning the lottery,” Jafari said.
Tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, speaking at the same summit (which was backed by his newly created Boundless Earth), agreed: “We should be ashamed of that.”
Energy and climate change minister Chris Bowen, in flagging a push to introduce tough fuel emissions standards that he said should match international standards, said the problem in Australia is not one of demand, but of supply.
He said policies could have a dramatic impact. He pointed to the case of Sweden, which leaped from an 18 per cent market share of EVs to 60 per cent in just two years.
In Australia, the market share is just 2 per cent, and the only car makers bringing in plenty of EVs are Tesla, which leads the market by a long way, followed by BYD.
“We know from overseas that once you get to 5% sales, EV penetration can increase rapidly, as a critical mass is reached,” Bowen said.