Australians Backing Electric Vehicles 

Electric cars in Australia

Image: stux

Results from two recent polls indicate many Australians are on board with accelerating an electric vehicle revolution across the nation.

Early this month, Labor announced its National Electric Vehicle (EV) policy; elements of which include:

  • A national electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030.
  • A government electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new purchases and leases of passenger vehicles by 2025.
  • Provision of an upfront tax deduction to purchase electric vehicles for business purposes.
  • All federally-funded road upgrades to incorporate electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Labor’s EV policy may have the Coalition frothing at the mouth, but it seems the Coalition is again out of touch with what Australians think – and even Labor may have underestimated the desire for EVs. The interest in electric cars is looking very much like the interest in solar power in the early days, or more recently, solar batteries. reports a YouGov Galaxy online survey of 861 eligible voters taken between April 10 and 11 found 62 per cent of respondents either supported Labor’s EV policy or thought it should go even further. Approximately 68 per cent either own or expect to buy an electric car in the future. Full results of the survey were yet to appear on the YouGov site at the time of publishing.

50% Support 100% EV New Car Sales By 2025

Last week, The Australia Institute (TAI) published results from a poll indicating half of voting Australians support shifting all sales of new vehicles to electric vehicles by 2025, with just 28% opposed.

62% also supported a government-led program to an electrically charged transport system – including 55% of Coalition voters, 71% of Labor voters, 78% Greens voters, and 54% ‘other’ voters. Only 16% of respondents were opposed to this idea.

“Instead of driving Australia backwards by preserving our gas-guzzlers, any future Government should look to the fine example of countries like Norway who already reached 50% of new car registrations as EVs in 2018 by using popular public incentives to accelerate electric vehicle uptake,” said TAI Climate & Energy Program Director Richie Merzian.

Details of how Norway has achieved this can be found in this TAI report.

“Our Nordic Policy Centre report shows with the right policy settings from Government, citizens are more than willing to purchase electric vehicles over a petrol car.”

The Australia Institute survey was conducted with 1,536 people between 20 February 2019 and 4 March 2019.

Related: The Homeowner’s Guide To Solar Power And Electric Cars.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Ronald Brakels says

    If you are one of the many people who regularly replaces their current car with a new one I suggest keeping in mind that the value of newish second hand petrol powered cars may fall a long way over the next few years. This is likely to be especially true for high performance cars, as electric ones can easily outperform similar priced internal combustion engine cars. This is why the Tesla S sports car is such a good seller in its class.

  2. Geoff Miell says

    Hi Michael,
    Some indicators suggest falling global conventional crude oil production is beginning to impede diesel supplies.

    Some data suggests global diesel production peaked in 2015.

    Global production of conventional crude oil reached its peak in 2008, at 69.5 million barrels per day (Mb/d) and has since fallen by approximately 2.5 Mb/d, with an additional 3 Mb/d fall expected between 2017 and 2040. The level of conventional resources approved to be developed in recent years is well below the demand requirements in the International Energy Agency’s New Policies scenario, creating the risk of a tension in the market in the 2020s.

    An increasing proportion of global crude oil production is originating from “unconventional oils”, light oils that are generally bad substitutes not suitable to produce diesel and marine bunker fuels.

    The relatively light density of US shale oil is unsuitable for making several of the heavier oil products such as diesel and jet fuel unless it is blended with heavier imported crude.

    The US refining system is close to being “maxed-out” on the amount of shale oil it can process, ill-suited for producing higher octane gasoline, jet fuel and diesel.

    As global conventional crude oil production falls further, global petroleum-based diesel and marine bunker fuel production will likely decline too.

    A new International Maritime Organization rule comes into effect on January 1, 2020, requiring all oceangoing ships to use low-sulphur diesel fuel.
    Until now, ships have burned “the dregs” of crude oil, relatively high in sulphur and other pollutants, because it was the least expensive fuel available.

    Some energy analysts suggest the world’s petroleum industry lacks the capacity needed to supply additional low-sulphur fuels to the shipping industry while simultaneously meeting the requirements of existing customers such as farmers, truckers, rail locomotive and heavy equipment operators.

    In 2020, it’s likely crude oil prices will rise, sending all petroleum fuel product prices higher. Diesel prices will lead, but gasoline and jet fuel will follow.

    And it seems that the latest oil data from Saudi Arabia indicates the world now has significantly less (conventional) petroleum oil reserves remaining than conventional wisdom previously estimated.

    See my Supplementary Submission B (#9.2) to the Australian Parliament Senate Select Committee into Fair Dinkum Power:

    I seem to recall not too long-ago diesel fuel was cheaper than petrol – apparently not anymore. The local servo near me is currently showing diesel fuel is slightly dearer (by 1 cent/litre) than 95-RON ULP (but still cheaper than 98-RON ULP).

    I wonder whether the 28% of respondents that were opposed to the proposition of 100% EV new car sales by 2025, put by last week’s The Australia Institute poll, referenced in your post above, would have the same attitude if they were aware of the possibility that petroleum-based fuels are likely to become significantly more expensive in the 2020s. Would better knowledge of the issues change people’s perspectives and opinions?

  3. I purchased a tesla Model S 3 months ago and will never go back, its amazing!
    The instant power is like nothing with a petrol engine and is incredible from a standstill. As they get cheaper people will get on board quickly once they realise the benefits of performance, cheap runnung costs and virtually no maintenance.

  4. My Small/Medium Diesel SUV gets around 800km per tank costing around $65 to fill in about 5 minutes and cost me about $35K. I will happily replace it with an EV if it is comparable in features and the above, and I can charge it well out of cities and towns.

    Telling me how wonderful a $140K to $240K car is just shows someone who lives in an ivory tower, and doesn’t understand the realities of life for the other 95%.

    Labor has announced targets, but hasn’t mentioned how they will be achieved, and if the average punter ever actually understands how this will cost him, they will run the other way. They either make your current car of choice cost so much, that you are forced to go EV, or subsidize EV’s heavily, taking away money for schools, hospitals and other vital things, taking money out of your pocket to let other people with more money than you buy vanity cars.

    Hyundai charges $20K more for an EV Kona that a top Spec ICE Kona. Until the two are similar in price, why would you do it?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Labor has proposed a fuel efficiency standard. Most developed countries have them. They want a fuel efficiency standards similar to the United States of a fleet average of around 106 grams of CO2 per kilometer and over there they have a wide choice of cars there and they don’t cost more than here. In Europe, starting next year, the fleet wide average for new cars will be 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer. So we’re really behind the ball on this. Because it will improve the average efficiency of vehicles it will result in Australians spending less on road transport. Since pollution from burning oil products contributes to health problems, this is a good thing. It also reduces CO2 emissions.

      • Have you actually read Bill Shortens media release? He doesn’t say how anything will be achieved, it is a series of thought bubbles. You mention fuel efficiency standards, but go on to quote emissions targets????

        The idea of 105g CO2/km for light vehicles is cute, but applies to less then 50% of the market. Bill doesn’t dare include tradie utes and SUV’s or his votes would disappear.

        There is no comparison between the US and European markets and the Australian market. The vast number of cars sold in Europe are small manual vehicles – as traditionally large cars just don’t work in European rural areas. many European cars are not available in Australia, as they can’t be bought as automatics

        In the US, people who tow or carry loads buy an F150, and have a sedan, in Australia you buy a crewcab Ranger, Hilux, Colorado, Triton, and do both with the one vehicle. Look at the sales of sedans , hatches and wagons, going backwards every year.

        Bill doesn’t actually commit to do anything much, and what he does commit to is either completely impractical or stupidly expensive, but don’t worry – he is spending your tax dollars on it, not his.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          I don’t think you know how a car fuel efficiency scheme works, Geoff. You can tell me how you think it will work if you want and I can tell you if that’s likely based on how they operate in other countries, but if you have no interest in discussing how these things work in practice I have no interest in going ARGLE BARGLE on the internet.

          • Hi Ron, Please tell me how you thinks Bills scheme will work, and I will pick it to bits for you. I have nothing against a genuine system, but that is not what we are talking about

            Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see a world where Ev’s are cheaper to buy and run than ICE’s, but Bill Shorten is spouting motherhood statements to buy votes, not seriously considering the issues. One easy example – note he doesn’t quote all cars, or passenger vehicles – specifically, he says that he will “aim to phase-in standards of 105g CO2/km for light vehicles”. Light vehicles are a specific class of vehicle as classified by VFACTS. The best sellers are for the first quarter of this year are Hyundai Accent, Mazda 2 and Toyota Yaris. This classification comprises a very small percentage of cars sold in Australia and are already about the closest to his stated aim as we have.

            It is a hollow promise, which isn’t a promise, just an aim, which can be wiggled out of at any time. Read his press release and you will find that everything said is mealy mouthed emptyness, which will amount to nothing for one reason or another, designed to appeal to people who leap at the headlines and ignore the detail.

            Seriously Ron, hope off your EV high horse and look at the realities. I applaud your optimism and zeal, but if you think Bill Shortens announcements will do anything, you are kidding yourself. If you think that at least he doing something while the Liberals/Nationals are doing nothing you are right – he is spinning tales to win over people who don’t understand the car industry, and the others are not.

    • Geoff Miell says

      You state:
      “They either make your current car of choice cost so much, that you are forced to go EV, or subsidize EV’s heavily…”

      Geoff, did you read my comment above?

      Petroleum fuel prices will inevitably continue to rise, so the operating costs for ICEVs will continue to rise, particularly for diesel-fueled ones (as diesel fuels are likely to become increasingly scarcer in the next few years and thus increasingly more expensive) – Indicators are suggesting this is probably the beginning of the end of petroleum.

      EV operating costs are already cheaper than for ICEVs.

      Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggests the purchase costs of EVs will start to drop below ICEVs from 2022. It seems to me it won’t be long before EVs will be a ‘no-brainer’. IMO, it can’t come quick enough.

      Either Australia ignores the warning signs and remains woefully ill-prepared for an inevitable post- ‘peak oil’ & post- ‘peak gas’ world (indicators suggest likely in the 2020s) or begins a transition in earnest away from petroleum and gas dependency as quickly as possible. See my Submission (#9) to the Australian Senate Select Committee into Fair Dinkum Power, pages 10 through 13.

      You also state:
      “Labor has announced targets, but hasn’t mentioned how they will be achieved…”

      At least there’s an intent by Labor to head in the correct direction – that’s a good start, but I accept your query/concerns about how Labor intends to achieve it.

      But what are the COALition (and some other parties) doing re energy security and climate change policies? IMO they are ignoring the reality of the twin existential threats of dangerous climate change and energy resource depletion (of petroleum oil and fossil natural gas) and promoting business as usual – a recipe for our nation’s likely catastrophe soon unless Australian voters wake-up and say no to suicidal policies.

      There may be some hope that Australians are waking-up to the existential challenges.

      Nothing happens without energy. Scarce/unaffordable energy means scarce/unaffordable food. Scarce/unaffordable food means starvation/death.

      IMO, Australian voters need to make the correct choice this time – no more chances remaining – or accept the far-reaching consequences of a bad choice.

  5. Well rule out any pensioners being able to afford an electric vehicle at current pricing. We will all be six foot under before they become even remotely affordable. Still, who gives a stuff about us pensioners?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      At the moment electric cars are expensive but they are falling in price and no one is stopping pensioners from buying petrol powered vehicles.

      But the sort of pensioners who buy new cars are likely to soon prefer electric cars even if they still come with a considerable premium because they will allow them to lower their assets while reducing on going expenses. (Fuel and maintenance.) This is one reason why solar is often great for pensioners — and not just the more well off ones.

      • Sorry Ron, I have just replied to an earlier comment of yours, but this one need addressing as well. First off, explain where on a like for like basis, Ev’s are falling in price. The only like for like comparison currently available is a Hyundai Kona where it costs more than $20K to upgrade from ICE to EV. And yes, it is an upgrade, but not one worth anything like $20K.

        Your comment on pensioners reducing the value of their assets, seriously???? You may confuse retirees and pensioners, retirees can have money, by definition, pensioners do not.

        What pensioner is going to spend an extra $20K on a car, to save a bit on fuel. Pensioners are lucky to have $20K to spend on a car, let alone an extra $20K.

        Centrelink base the value of your car on what you can sell it for it an emergency – you could happily value ICE and EV at the same and they wouldn’t know or care, and you wouldn’t be too far off the money.

        When Ev’s and ICE’s are the same price – I agree with you, but not at the current difference. The biggest issue at the moment is the vehicles of choice in Australia, and the fact that there is simply no alternatives around the world, which manufacturers will sell in Australia at a reasonable price.

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