Electric vehicle (EV) sales in Australia increased by 149 per cent in 2019 compared with 2018, though this is coming from a low base with EVs still making up a tiny portion of all vehicles running on our roads.
Sales of EVs increased from 2,357 in 2018 to 5,875 in 2019; all up, that’s just 14,500 of the almost 18 million cars and light trucks in Australia.
The National Transport Commission (NTC) noted that the big increase in EV sales (in percentage terms) does reflect the growing popularity of EVs as consumers become more aware of their carbon footprint.
“One of the key findings in the report is that if we choose new vehicles based on emissions performance, we can have a significant impact,” NTC executive leader sustainability Sandra McKay said.
“If everyone who purchased one of Australia’s top 10 selling cars or utes last year had chosen the best-in-class vehicle for emissions, Australia would have recorded a 63 per cent reduction in emissions intensity from the cars sold.
“Instead, Australia recorded a 0.2 per cent drop in emissions intensity.”
This is due to the shifting preference over the last decade towards heavier vehicles with larger, more power engines in Australia.
By comparison, European and Asian markets are trending towards smaller vehicles with lower emissions.
Growing Australia’s renewable resources
However, while growing sales of EVs does provide some hope for lowering emissions, it is just one part of the broader picture.
The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) believes that Australia can be a world leader in low emissions energy due to the development of new technology, declining costs, and increasing use of energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind.
“Australia is already making great inroads in the uptake of low emissions technologies such as solar and wind with renewable energy from these sources generating almost 20 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation,” ATSE Energy Forum chair Dr John Söderbaum said.