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More EV models giving motorists choice

Plug me in: More than a dozen BEVs are now on the Australian market, with more coming.

Pure EV sales creeping up despite Australia’s vacillating government policies


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12 Jul 2021

ELECTRIC cars are being kicked around the political oval like a red-hot football with barely any time for the players to engage in sensible and collaborative conversation.


The various incentives and disincentives of the Australian state governments do little to inspire motorists to put their faith – and money – into an EV.


Although confidence lacks inspiration from the very leaders who should promote a path of fossil-fuel reduction, sales of EVs in Australia are crawling upward.


In the first six months of this year, battery electric vehicles (BEV) – full EVs relying on batteries alone – found 2217 buyers in Australia in passenger cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles.


But the figure puffs to almost 7500 when taking Tesla into account – up from 4200 in the same period of 2020.


Tesla does not participate in listing its sales in the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ monthly VFACTS figures and as it also does not publicise its own sales, it is estimated that in the six months to June 30 this year, it has sold about 5000 vehicles.


The company is also believed to be preparing to deliver up to 15,000 EVs into Australia this year.


While the numbers look good, as a percentage the BEV figure is almost non-existent. In the year to date to June 30, 2021, BEVs accounted for 1.3 per cent of all passenger car, SUV and light commercial sales. That is an increase on the same period in 2020 when BEVs had a 0.98 per cent share.


The uptake of battery EVs is particularly encouraging. Much of the attention is not related to any government activity – unlike other markets – but attributed more to the new products and more affordable pricing.


A key player here is Chinese brand MG. It sold 175 ZS EVs in June, up from 102 when it launched the new “pure” EV in May, which was commendable but pales against the 1898 petrol ZS examples that sold in the same month.


But it’s a healthy start and has a lot to do with the attractive $43,990 driveaway price, making it the nation’s cheapest EV. The next cheapest are the Hyundai Ioniq Electric ($49,970 before on-road costs) and Nissan Leaf ($49,990), followed by the Renault Kangoo small van at $50,290.


Nissan also improved sales of its full EV Leaf, up 35.8 per cent year-to-date to June 30 with 239 sales for the year. It sold 48 in June, marginally up on the 47 sold in May. The Leaf sells for $49,990 (plus costs) and $60,490 plus costs for the long-range E+ version with the bigger battery.


Mazda introduced its MX-30 as a hybrid and a BEV, with the single BEV variant priced at $65,490 plus costs.


Hyundai has the Ioniq available as a BEV, plug-in hybrid or hybrid – likewise Kia’s Niro – and the Hyundai Kona is also available as a BEV or petrol.


In the upper price bracket, BEV players include the Mercedes-Benz EQC which sold 127 units year to date June, up 122.8 per cent on the same period in 2020, with 12 sales in June.


The brand also introduced the smaller EQA BEV in this period, attracting 35 sales in June and 88 for the year.


Jaguar sold 29 of its i-Pace BEV SUVs this year, while BMW sold 32 i3s.


Audi launched its e-tron BEV this year and has 69 sales to the end of June, 15 of those for the month.


Then there is the Porsche Taycan which was introduced this year and has sold 369 units to date, with 43 of those in June.


Ahead is the Volvo XC40 Recharge BEV that promises a 400km-plus range and priced at $76,990 plus costs. It will launch in October.


Aside from passenger cars and SUVs, the light commercial sector has the Renault Kangoo EV.

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