The June figures have been released and Australia is nudging 10% EV penetration. We are now where I was expecting us to be at the end of last year. The Tesla Model Y and the refreshed MG ZS EV arrived in November and boosted the figures, but the 10% bar seemed elusive. The first 5 months of 2023 have seen a consistent figure of around 8%.

Nudging 10%

Top selling Model Y. Photo by David Waterworth.

The podium has the same occupants, but the order has changed. Coming in at number one, the gold goes to the Tesla Model Y, with 5,560 units sold. The silver is a shock. The Model 3 has been overtaken by the BYD Atto 3, but not by much — 1532 units were sold, while the Model 3 was at 1458 units. To ease the pain, we note that in the year-to-date (YTD) figures, the Model 3 is still second. YTD = Model Y 14,002; Model 3 = 11,575; Atto 3 = 6,196.

Nudging 10%

The #2 BYD Atto 3 at the former Toyota sales venue. Photo courtesy of Karen Maher.

Below the top 3, the numbers are quite small, with the best (like the Polestar 2 and the MG ZS EV) only getting a few hundred sales. Worth a note is the surge in sales of the Porsche Taycan — perhaps capitalising on the lack of supply of the Tesla Model S, which is no longer available in Australia.

“There have now been over 16 ships arrive in Australia in the second quarter and over 10,000 vin issued. A number of deliveries from the later ships will go into the third quarter.” Thank you, Veda Prime.

According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, “Australian customers took delivery of 124,926 new vehicles during June to mark the end of the 2022-23 financial year. This result is an increase of 25.0 per cent compared with June 2022 and an 8.2 per cent increase compared with the six-month period of January to June 2022. It is the highest June result since 2018.” Perhaps we are over the Covid downturn in car sales?

“Sales of zero and low emission vehicles continued to grow with 16.6 per cent being battery electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid models. Battery electric vehicles accounted for 8.8 per cent of June sales and make up 7.4 per cent of new vehicle sales during the first half 2023. The Tesla Model Y recorded 5,560 sales, making it the second highest selling vehicle behind the Toyota Hi-Lux (6,142).”

If 8.8% are BEVs, then I make the leap to “nudging 10%,” because there are some sales of PHEVs in the mix — although, the exact figures for June are elusive, and, yes, I did google it.

“The steady introduction of new battery electric models across all model segments at more competitive price points is critically important as we deal with the challenges of supplying electric vehicles that meet business and personal consumer needs at prices the mainstream buyers can afford,” Mr Webber said.

“Toyota led the market with a total of 20,948 vehicles sold. Mazda recorded 9,706 sales followed by Hyundai (8,215), Ford (7,753) and Kia (7,551).

“The Toyota Hi-Lux was the highest selling model with 6,142 sales. Tesla Model Y recorded 5,560 sales followed by Ford Ranger (5,334), MG ZS (3,756) and Toyota RAV 4 (2,858).”

EV penetration is mixed across vehicle types. Out of 103,927 passenger vehicles sold, over 14% were BEVs. About 9% of the 322,213 SUVs sold were BEVs. CarExpert points out that the diesel-dominated light commercial segment is ripe for EV plucking — only 78 EVs were sold in this segment out of a market of 129,025.

The Electric Viking has predicted that there will be another 80 EVs entering the Australian market in the next 24 months. Not just from China, but also from Europe. Some of these will be vans and utes. They will find a ready market. You can watch the video here.

In the first 6 months of 2023 in Australia, more EVs have been sold than hybrids. However, Toyota, the main supplier of hybrids is supply constrained at the moment. Only 3,532 PHEVs have been sold in Australia in H1 2023. With only two models to choose from, Tesla still dominates. The Model Y is the top selling SUV regardless of fuel type and the Model 3 is the top selling passenger vehicle regardless of fuel type.

China continues to provide the bulk of electric vehicles that are entering the Australian market, with all of the top seven EVs being made there: Tesla Model Y and Model 3, BYD Atto 3, MG ZS EV, Volvo XC40, Polestar 2, and Volvo C40.

The second half of the year should well and truly exceed 10%, with the importation of at least a trio of affordable battery electric vehicles. I have learnt to be patient when a new car is announced, as delivery dates seem to slip. The MG4 was launched at Fully Charged Sydney several months ago, but is nowhere to be seen. The BYD Dolphin is on display, but you can’t book a test drive and we don’t know when it will arrive for purchase. The ORA Cat is available at most Great Wall dealers, can be taken for a test drive, and has already sold 62 units. Though, these 62 might be the ones sitting at the dealers awaiting your posterior.

These three cars, the MG4, the Great Wall Ora, and the BYD Dolphin with current state government subsidies will be available for around AU$40,000 — they are the same price as a hybrid Corolla! Hold my beer! (It’s okay, I drained the stubbie — because you really can’t trust anyone with your XXXX.) And there are already some rumours that a price war has begun at this lower end of the market. 

Nudging 10%

New chargers being installed at our local Woolworths shopping centre. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Meanwhile, the charging infrastructure continues to expand, with supermarkets and service station giants getting involved. The Westpac Bank is partnering with charging company Chargefox to offer free charging as part of a car loan. Tesla is taking over an industrial site in Brisbane to expand its operations. And a Toyota site in Canberra is being repurposed as a BYD showroom. It’s all happening down under.

Nudging 10%

Queensland Police MG ZS EV Community Liaison Vehicle. Photo by David Waterworth.

Even the police community liaison vehicles are going electric, and sporting first nations artwork. No wonder Australia is nudging 10% penetration.


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