Electric car sales take off in Australia, with Tesla leading the way

Electric car sales are finally showing signs of taking off in Australia, with more than 6,000 sold in the first half of 2021 – a doubling of 2020’s entire sales.

New Vfacts figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that 2,217 all-electric cars were sold in the first half of 2021.

This data does not include Tesla, excluding Tesla which does not report local sales, but market analysts say about 4,200 Tesla Model 3s have been shipped to Australia so far this year and there is specualtion about 15,000 Tesla EVs will be delivered over the year.

Of the remainder, MG has described its June monthly sales figures – which saw it sell 175 MG ZS EVs, up from 102 in May – as “cracking”, maintaining its place as second-most popular EV in Australia to date. MG has now upped its price by $1,000 to $41,990 before on road costs, but still remains Australia’s cheapest EV.

Porsche Taycan sales have been holding firm with 43 delivered in June and 369 to date in 2021,  despite its high-end sticker price. It remains to be seen if buyers are put off by a possible global recall (whether this can be fixed “over-the-air”, Porsche has not confirmed).

Nissan Leaf sales jumped almost four-fold in June compared to May, to 48 units sold. With the longer-range Leaf e+ now on the market, Nissan has indicated that it has seen an increase in enquiries.

The above is encouraging, but June and the 2020 first-half sales figures also mean that Australia’s electric vehicle sales still account for just 1.1% of the all new car sales, far behind the 5% global average.

This will be supported by new incentives finally trickling in the form of rebates and fee waivers from NSW, Tasmania and the ACT, and even Victoria (despite its extremely unpopular move of introducing a road user tax for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles).

Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.

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