Why cheaper electric vehicles are being kept out of the Australian market

Analysts say Australian motorists are missing out on cheaper electric vehicles due to government inaction on climate change, with new data revealing local models are far too expensive to compete with petrol cars.

As Australia falls further behind other nations on EV adoption, research published by Compare the Market on Friday gave us a clue about why.

The report found it would take 16 years of driving for an EV in Australia to become cost competitive with a petrol vehicle thanks to an upfront price difference of $40,000.

With figures like that it’s no wonder EVs account for just 0.7 per cent of new car sales in Australia, compared to about 15 per cent in the UK.

It’s not for lack of desire, either. A separate survey on Friday revealed more than half of local motorists want to buy an EV in the coming years.

Rupert Posner, an executive with activist researcher ClimateWorks, said it’s a catch 22 situation created by government inaction.

He said Australians can only purchase a small range of expensive EVs, compared to markets in Europe where the cars are almost half the price.

“The challenge is to get a broader range of models into the Australian market,” Mr Posner said.

“To do that there needs to be regulation or fuel standards that demand reduced emissions.”

Few electric vehicles available
To understand how much Australians are paying, let’s break it all down.

The EV used in the Compare the Market analysis costs $67,205, while a petrol vehicle is quoted at $28,990.

That means despite fuel costs for petrol vehicles averaging $2531 a year compared to just $55 for the EV, it would take 16 years before the higher priced local EV was cost competitive with a local petrol car.

If you bought a cheaper EV catch-up time would be a lot less, but these economical EV models aren’t available in Australia.

The analysis uses a pricey Hyundai Kona SUV, but even if you went for a cheaper vehicle the best deal you could get would be about $50,000.

As the chart below shows, if you were buying in the UK you could pick up six different cars for less than $40,000.

And those prices would finish up even cheaper because of government incentives – and overall there are far more EV models in the UK market than here

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