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“Locked out of market:” Why Australia trails the world in electric vehicle uptake – The Driven





Australians are being effectively “locked out of the EV market” by the lack of supply and model choice, and its sales of electric cars are just a fraction of those in other western markets, and barely above those in developing markets.
BlombergNEF’s new Zero Emission Vehicles Factbook paints a bleak picture for EV sales in Australia, despite a recent boost and some efforts from the new federal government and most state governments to provide some incentives and support for EV charging infrastructure.
Australia has access to just 60 different variants of EV models right now, according to the Electric Vehicle Council’s State of Electric Vehicles report in October.
BNEF figures show 318 EV models available around the world. China has access to 280, Europe to 206, and the US to just 84.
The 68-page BNEF report barely mentions Australia, which is noticeable for its lack of fossil fuel vehicle phase out targets, and even a vehicle emissions target. Australia did not rate a mention for electric commercial, two-wheel or bus sales.

The federal government is currently planning vehicle fuel standards legislation, and EV incentives such as removing fringe benefit taxes on certain vehicles, and a national EV policy.
State incentives include the ACT’s ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2035, as well as date for when government fleets need to be zero emission, rebates or tax waivers on EV purchases, and investments into public charging infrastructure.
The benefits of going electric are becoming ever more stark.
Battery EVs made in 2022 have a lower life cycle carbon dioxide emissions than combustion cars, thanks to rapidly rising shares of renewable energy in power systems
“Cleaner electricity means cleaner- running BEVs. This means that the emissions advantage of BEVs against ICEs will widen further. By 2030, lifecycle CO2 emissions of BEVs will be 86%, 80% and 56% lower in Germany, the US and China than for comparable ICEs,” BNEF said.
BNEF’s data shows EVs will have eliminated about 152 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by the end of 2022, a figure that includes the increase in power-sector emissions created by higher electricity demand and makes up 2.4 per cent of all road transport emissions.
Zero-emission road transport is possible, as EU carbon dioxide targets, that effectively ban internal combustion cars, achieving that goal in 3035.
EVs and fuel cell vehicles are expected to avoid 1.7 million barrels of oil a day in 2022, or about 3.8 per cent of total oil demand.
“In BNEF’s Net-Zero Scenario, which achieves a zero-emission vehicle fleet globally by 2050, oil displacement increases to over 7 million barrels per day in 2030 – roughly equivalent to Russia’s total oil and products exports prior to the war. This figure rises to nearly 16 million barrels per day in 2035,” the report said.
China and Europe are the world’s EV leaders, with almost a quarter of all passenger cars sold in each region during the first half of 2022 being electric.
Globally, passenger EV sales more than doubled in 2021, to 6.6 million. In the first half of 2022 that figure was already nearly 4.3 million.
BNEF has the most optimistic outlook for EV adoption across commercial and passenger fleets, of 781 million by 2040, but it notes that IEA, OPEC, BP and ExxonMobil are all drastically revising their forecasts upwards as well.
“Companies forecasting ZEV adoption now see tens of millions more BEVs on the road in the future than they expected in 2020, or 2021. The biggest reason for higher outlooks is more policy support and growing consumer acceptance,” the report said.
But that growth is not evenly spread around the world.
Germany, UK, France, China and the rest of Europe are leading. At the bottom are the ‘rest of the world’, India, Japan, Australia, India and South East Asia.
“In over half of the global car market, EV adoption is still below 10% of sales. This includes countries like the US [6.7 per cent] and Japan [2 per cent] , which are still looking to catch up,” the report said.
But the Inflation Reduction Act and revised fuel economy regulations in the US are expected to supercharge EV adoption to ‘leader’ level, while subsidies in Japan could help that country leave the ‘behind’ group.
The low-hanging fruit could be sales of zero-emission commercial vehicles, however, as just 2.5 per cent of commercial vehicles sold in the first half of 2022 were electric and most of these being vans. Sales are racing ahead in South Korea, China, Germany and the UK.
Rachel Williamson is a science and business journalist, who focuses on climate change-related health and environmental issues.
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