The Bull

Monday 17

December, 2018 7:18 AM



Australia sees electric car growth despite no federal support

Australia sees electric car growth despite no federal support

It seems that the markets are continuing to lean toward electric vehicles and renewable energy sources this year, despite a lack of government support and funding to help along the way.

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By Nigel Frith 28.11.2018

It seems that the markets are continuing to lean toward electric vehicles and renewable energy sources this year, despite a lack of government support and funding to help along the way.

The release of more electric vehicles at affordable prices for many Australians is at least partly behind the increased uptake, which finally reached a tipping point of accessibility in terms of payback.

Some consumers are increasingly aware of the potential damage that fossil fuels can cause, while others simply believe that driving electric cars encourages savings, especially when users are near a renewable energy source such as solar power.

High costs have been the biggest barrier in the last few years, but mid-price cars are finally hitting the mass market. This means that those who would ordinarily be on the fence about the higher price of electric vehicles are now seeing some of their hurdles vanishing.

One of the companies leading the way in this regard is Hyundai, which has been pushing its 2019 Ioniq model. This electric car sells for less than $50,000.

In many other countries around the world, electric vehicles have managed to proliferate with the help of government support and subsidies, therefore showing growth much earlier. However, Australian politicians have been reticent to provide similar levels of support, so it is taking longer for momentum to pick up the pace regionally.

However, many believe that the huge cost barrier is no longer an issue given the lower price of the Ioniq and that this should encourage a bigger mainstream take-up. Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council, said that new ground is breaking. He described this as "a huge step forward for us as an industry in Australia."

Recent murmurings of an increased need to combat issues surrounding pollution and climate change are also likely to encourage more people to consider buying electric cars as a viable option for making more of an individual effort.

With its more affordable rate, the Ioniq may buck the long-held trend of electric vehicle sales performance in Australia.

Jarafi said that the typical cost difference between electric and carbon-fueled cars "has been around $10,000 for that premium battery," but advances in technology mean that the tide is finally turning, and it appears to be coming at a great time.

He also hailed "an industry that's very eager to invest in Australia," noting that the amount of private capital pouring into the sector is only set to continue in the next few years, especially if there are signs of electric vehicles taking a much bigger market share in the next couple of decades.

Hyundai's Ioniq will come in at a much lower end of the market, especially compared to luxury electric vehicles. Jaguar’s I-Pace sells for a whopping $119,000, while Tesla’s Model 3 is $10,000 more expensive than the Ioniq's $45,000 price. Nissan's latest Leaf model is also a fair bit higher at $69,000.

Analysts will be eager to see how the Ioniq affects electric vehicle sales and whether it is set to be a key driver in bringing these cars to a more mainstream position.

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