New report says EV sales to more than double in 2023, but outdated laws continue to limit consumer choice

CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council Behyad Jafari. Image credit: Electric Vehicle Council

The Electric Vehicle Council has published its annual State of Electric Vehicles report, revealing that while EV sales are expected to more than double in 2023, Australia will continue to trail behind comparable nations in terms of customer choice unless critical legislative reform is implemented.

According to the latest report, EV sales have soared since last year, while more EVs were sold in the first half of 2023 than in the entire year of 2022. 

From January to June 2023, 46,624 EVs were sold, accounting for 8.4 per cent of all new car sales in Australia.

The ACT continues to lead in EV sales as a percentage of new vehicle sales, accounting for 21.8 per cent, followed by Tasmania with 9.0 per cent, New South Wales with 9.0 per cent, Victoria with 8.5 per cent, Queensland with 7.7 per cent, Western Australia with 7.5 per cent, South Australia with 6.5 per cent, and the Northern Territory with 2.4 per cent.

Although model variety has increased, the survey indicated that Australia’s EV market is still dominated by a few models, with the Tesla Model Y, Tesla Model 3, and BYD Atto 3 accounting for 68.1 per cent of the market.

The council said the findings highlight the importance of policies that can both raise sales volume and broaden the range of options accessible to consumers.

According to EVC CEO Behyad Jafari, while the acceleration in EV sales is encouraging, Australia will never catch up with the rest of the globe under existing policy conditions.

“Australians now know the future of driving is electric and there’s growing enthusiasm for of all the benefits that will deliver,” Jafari said.

He added, “While Australians have some high-quality options to choose from, it’s no surprise that the models that were most available had the highest sales. Many other brands simply sold out of their full allocation of vehicles sent to Australia.”

The CEO also underscored that due to the lack of new vehicle efficiency rules in Australia, automobile manufacturers are essentially rewarded for sending their EVs to markets other than Australia.

“The EV models that lead the sales charts at the moment are terrific, but Australian consumers should have the same choices as drivers in other countries. If the Australian Government gets on with introducing strong new vehicle efficiency standards, we will see consumer choice expand rapidly,” Jafari explained. 

To date, there is a lot of positive movement in EV policy across most of Australia, but the report also identifies plenty of space for improvement.

“Our report also finds all jurisdictions are lagging on electric truck policy, meaning we are missing a crucial opportunity to decarbonise freight. Uptake of electric trucks are being held back by government regulatory barriers that were resolved overseas many years ago, like truck width and mass limits,” Jafari concluded.