With the EU poised to ban fossil-fuel powered cars, is Australia falling behind?

electric car driving through green landscape for eco-friendly future

Keen to go green? A lot of Aussies are, with demand for green cars and electric vehicles (EVs) growing as new options enter the market.

When it comes to measuring up against the worldwide market, however, Australia still has a long way to go. 

As a part of a series of proposals unveiled in 2021 to help tackle global warming, the European Union introduced a plan to be carbon neutral by 2050. A big part of this is its proposal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles by 2035.

To make this possible, the EU has expressed the intention to install more roadside charging facilities for hydrogen powered and electric vehicles. This infrastructure will serve to make green cars a more affordable and approachable option.

Australia taking steps but EV models are still limited

Australia is just starting to get the electric car trend. Demand for EVs and green hybrid vehicles continues to grow. In July 2020, Aussies had 28 passenger battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) combined, which grew to 31 in August 2021. Current delays in new car supply have slowed a lot of expected new electric cars to Australia, with our total now at 34 to choose from in 69 variations, according to the Australian Electric Vehicle Council.

Compare our current 30 PHEVs and 39 BEVs with the UK’s 40 PHEVs and 120 BEVs and you begin to see where Australians are coming up short. 

Sales numbers for electric vehicles tripled between 2020 and 2021, they total 2% of the passenger vehicle sales in Australia (with 60% of the EV sales in Australia in 2021 accounted for by a single model - the Tesla Model 3). 

Impressed with 2%? Though it signifies significant growth, the global average for EVs as a percentage of all car sales stands at 9%. For Europe, who are actively pushing towards a fuel-free future, this figure is 17% - in Norway, where combustion engine cars are set to be a thing of the past much sooner, electric cars are already 72% of all new car sales.

If we do look to Norway as an example of a market where electric vehicles are flourishing, there has been a cultural shift away from petrol passenger cars. Of the top ten best selling cars, nine are EVs and one is a hybrid. The first petrol car doesn’t appear until number 38. Petrol fuelled cars are also subject to large taxes that EVs avoid, making their upfront costs feel much more worthwhile.

What steps is Australia taking to go green?

Australia has recently made the first step in response to European net zero goals, with the ACT announcing their intent to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035.

Along with concrete commitments, structural changes are being made. Considerations need to be made of how our power grid will support this electric transition, and providing better charging support in the same way as Europe is planning to. The Electric Vehicle Council estimates that 700 new fast charging stations will be available in Australia in the next 5 years, giving better support to those who aren’t able to home charge and making extended travel more possible. EVs are also attracting increasing subsidies from state governments, making them far more accessible.

Green car loans are also growing in availability, with a range of loans available to be used specifically on qualifying cars. Though any new car loan can be used to purchase a new electric car, many specifically green loans offer competitive interest rates to incentivise the purchasing of environmentally friendly vehicles.

Want to go green? Check out all of the MECA award winners for best car loans, including our pick for best green car loan

Car loan comparison - last updated 13 August 2022

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^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Personal Loan Awards

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