Majority Of SA Drivers Considering An Electric Vehicle

Electric vehicle interest in SA

An RAA survey indicates most motorists in South Australia are considering acquiring an EV when next purchasing a car.

The RAA survey of 1,500 members found 62% would consider buying an electric car, a big jump on a previous survey just a couple of years ago when 42% said they would consider an electric vehicle.

Petrol Price Pressure Piques EV Interest

The uptick in electric vehicle interest in South Australia comes as no surprise given the cost of petrol. Fuel prices this morning around Adelaide are generally a whisker under $2.30 a litre. And that’s with the temporary 24.3 cents per litre fuel excise tax cut still in place, which ends in September.

But beyond fuel prices, another motivator is a desire to cut driving-related emissions, with 71 per cent of survey respondents stating this to be a factor.

What’s Standing In The Way?

While the spirit may be willing, the wallet could turn out to be weak – how intention will translate to a purchase decision in the short term at least remains to be seen.

Electric vehicles are still pretty pricey compared to their emissions-spewing ICE (internal combustion engine) counterparts. But as with the solar energy revolution, this should improve over time and there are the substantial fuel and maintenance savings to consider; particularly if an EV household has a solar power system. Price was among the top factors discouraging respondents from purchasing an EV (65%).

Another top factor was the perception of  a lack of accessibility to charging equipment (57%). But the number of public charging stations is rapidly growing in SA and home EV charging is becoming more common; facilitated by greater choice of dedicated EV charger devices available in Australia – and electricians up-skilling to install them.

Another hurdle not mentioned in the RAA survey is actually getting your hands on an EV even if you have the cash to buy one, with wait times really blowing out on some models up to a couple of years. Again, this is something that should resolve itself assuming Murphy1 doesn’t keep interfering and governments get/keep their acts together on supporting electric car uptake.

EV Subsidies Popular

The survey also revealed 70% of respondents believe governments need to place a higher priority on electric vehicle policies given the current fuel cost situation. The most supported government actions:

  • Subsidising the cost of purchasing an EV (67%)
  • Subsidising home charging infrastructure installation (64%)
  • Discounting EV registration and stamp duty charges (59%)
  • Providing more public charging infrastructure (51%)

In terms of EV subsidies, currently in South Australia there’s a $3,000 incentive for the purchase of a new electric vehicle; with a price cap of $68,750 inclusive of GST. Free registration is also available. There was also meant to be smart EV charger support in SA under a $12.25 million initiative providing up to 7,500 subsidies of up to $2,000 each to households installing eligible systems – but the Malinauskas Government axed it.

Commenting on public infrastructure, RAA noted it is well advanced in its site scoping works for expanding the state’s public electric vehicle charging network.

“The rollout of South Australia’s 536 public charging points at 140 sites across the State is expected to commence later this year and finish by January 2024,” stated the organisation.

More from the RAA survey can be viewed here.

Footnotes

  1. As in Murphy’s Law
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.

Comments

  1. Geoff Miell says

    Michael,
    The uptick in electric vehicle interest in South Australia comes as no surprise given the cost of petrol. Fuel prices this morning around Adelaide are generally a whisker under $2.30 a litre. And that’s with the temporary 24.3 cents per litre fuel excise tax cut still in place, which ends in September.

    The excise cut – which slashed the tax on every litre of fuel from 44.2 cents to 22.1 cents – is due to expire on September 28, a commitment Albanese has already agreed to.

    https://www.9news.com.au/national/anthony-albanese-left-to-deal-with-fuel-cost-time-bomb-as-prices-soar/ccc01ee9-0b2b-49cf-a13f-f578db311db9

    Roughly six months earlier fuel prices were substantially lower. Ken Smith commented on 13 Dec 2021:

    Yesterday prices were around $1.89 per litrre and todays prices range up to $1.79 per litre in Adelaide for 91 petrol.
    The prices for fuel have been rising throughout the year and have been even higher in recent weeks.
    We certainly are getting close to the $2 per litre mark.

    https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/sa-electric-car-subsidies-mb2266/#comment-1333700

    Where will fuel prices be in another six months? I would not be at all surprised to see $2.50 per litre in the eastern states in the next few months, particularly for diesel, and maybe close to $3 by the end of this year.
    See: https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/petrol-prices-look-set-to-skyrocket-as-three-key-factors-combine/news-story/8b0da2ee498c86d4bec183448a36f030

    IMO, Zali Steggall’s speech on fuel security in the wake of COP26 on 24 Nov 2021 is still valid.
    https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/sa-electric-car-subsidies-mb2266/#comment-1333058

  2. Louey-Gung says

    The other issue not mentioned is the premium the RAA charges for EV insurance. The RAA rates are two to three times greater than other insurers.

  3. Michelle says

    62 percent of 1500 RAA members? Oh Really? I’m struggling to understand in what world 930 people equasl a majority of SA drivers.
    While we’re apparently pulling numbers from backsides, I’d hazard a guess that the majority of SA drivers are not RAA members – and because I’m on a roll I’ll also guess that the majority can’t afford an EV even if they do want one.

    • Geoff Miell says

      Michelle,
      …I’ll also guess that the majority can’t afford an EV even if they do want one.

      IMO, the more interesting and pertinent question is can Australian drivers continue to afford the steadily increasing prices for petroleum fuels to operate their ICEVs?

      Per the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the graph for average retail weekly fuel prices (for national average) shows:
      142.4 cents/litre (week ending 27 Jun 2021), rising to
      170.4 (w/e 28 Nov 2021), rising to
      212.5 (w/e 20 Mar 2022), to
      205.5 (w/e 19 Jun 2022).
      https://aip.com.au/pricing/pump-prices

      The national retail weekly average for diesel fuel (w/e 19 Jun 2022):
      * National average: ranged from 214.7 to 224.6 cents/litre;
      * Metro average: ranged from 213.2 to 222.9;
      * Regional average: ranged 216.0 to 226.0.
      https://aip.com.au/pricing/national-retail-diesel-prices

      The national retail weekly average for unleaded petrol (ULP) fuel (w/e 19 Jun 2022):
      * National average: ranged from 200.4 to 210.6 cents/litre;
      * Metro average: ranged from 201.6 to 214.0;
      * Regional average: ranged 198.0 to 203.9.
      https://aip.com.au/pricing/national-retail-petrol-prices

      At what price will petroleum fuels get too much to bear? $3/litre? $5? $10? And when?

      Rising fuel prices, particularly diesel, raises prices for nearly everything else, and is thus a major contributor for increasing economic inflation.

      • Michelle says

        Geoff,
        “IMO, the more interesting and pertinent question is can Australian drivers continue to afford the steadily increasing prices for petroleum fuels to operate their ICEVs?”

        The thing is, I already own my current ICEV. It is 23 years old and I bought it 3rd hand. I have no capacity to replace it with an EV and increasingly can’t afford to sell it. It is also a luxury model and an EV of similar spec would cost as much as my house did. I only use it once or twice a week so fuel costs are not a huge problem just yet. Others’ mileage may vary.
        It is all very well to say that we NEED to move to EVs, but in the real world it is simply impossible for an awful lot of people.
        So if all those RAA members would kindly get to buying EVs lickety split, they will be in wrecking yards sooner and people like me can electrify cars we like (as opposed to a constantly internet connected computer on wheels) for less than the price of a new one and hopefully before I’m so old I forget how to drive.

        • Geoff Miell says

          Michelle,
          It is all very well to say that we NEED to move to EVs, but in the real world it is simply impossible for an awful lot of people.

          I’d suggest an awful lot of people will soon likely find it increasingly more difficult to continue to afford the petroleum fuels to operate their ICEVs. Those people that are consuming petroleum fuels at higher volumes (say 150 litres/week or more) will be affected substantially more and sooner compared with those that only consume a tankful once a month or so.

          Per Drive.com.au article headlined Fuel prices break pre-excise cut records, and the worst is yet to come, dated Jun 21, includes:

          If prices continue to rise at the current rate that they have since the lowest point on 19 April ($1.88 per litre), we’ll be dealing with prices around $2.50 per litre on September 27 and a hefty $2.72 when the excise discount ends on 28 September.

          https://www.drive.com.au/news/fuel-prices-break-pre-excise-cut-records/

          Accumulating data I see indicates the era of cheap and abundant crude oil and petroleum fuels has ended forever.
          For example: https://crudeoilpeak.info/australian-fuel-import-bill-going-sky-high

          So if all those RAA members would kindly get to buying EVs lickety split, they will be in wrecking yards sooner and people like me can electrify cars we like…

          I think it’s likely the detrimental effects from the rising prices of petroleum fuels will outrun any benefits from the increased uptake of BEVs.

          • Michelle says

            “I think it’s likely the detrimental effects from the rising prices of petroleum fuels will outrun any benefits from the increased uptake of BEVs.”

            Sadly, I think you may be right. However, making petrol cars unaffordable to run isn’t going to solve the problem of EVs being unaffordable to buy – no matter how desirable they might be to those who may or may not be RAA members.

          • Geoff Miell says

            Michelle,
            …making petrol cars unaffordable to run isn’t going to solve the problem of EVs being unaffordable to buy…</i"

            I'd suggest making BEVs more affordable to buy will solve the problem of ICEVs becoming increasingly more unaffordable to run. But IMO time is running out.

            Whether lithium-sulfur battery technologies can replace current lithium-ion technologies that offer potentially lower battery costs, lower instability/fire risk, 2-5 times higher energy density reducing battery weight and/or increasing range, and higher charging cycles increasing operating life, remains to be seen.
            https://lens.monash.edu/@technology/2022/03/04/1384501/faster-cleaner-longer-lithium-battery-breakthrough-to-improve-lifetime-performance

    • Ronald Brakels says

      RAA members are not a random sample, but in real life you have to work with what you’ve got. With 1.3 million drivers in South Australia you’d need a sample size of under 400 for a 95% confidence interval. So, with the proviso that it’s not a true random sample, 1,500 is fine.

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