Australians may be concerned about the environment but they are reluctant to purchase an electric vehicle, according to a new report

Aussies are reluctant to purchase an electric vehicle. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
  • A new report from Nielsen has found that Australian’s concern for the environment has risen 31% over the past year.
  • But despite that, the willingness to purchase an electric vehicle (EV) has slowed.
  • The report identified some factors preventing Australians from purchasing an EVs, including price and fears around running out of charge.

Ever thought of getting an electric vehicle?

A new Nielsen report has found that while Australians are increasingly concerned about the environment, they are still reluctant to buy an electric vehicle.

The report highlighted that Australians consider the environment as a more important social issue than mental health, educationm the ageing population, interest rates and obesity. It also found that the number of Aussies saying they have a growing concern for the environment has risen 31% in the past year to 1.8 million.

But while Aussies want to do their part” to reduce their carbon emissions, their willingness to change their habits and buy electric vehicles has stalled, the report said.

EV sales were at an all time high in Australia in 2018, with 1,352 sold, the report said. But that number is still far behind other countries, with 1.2 million EVs sold in China, 360,000 in the US and 3,682 in New Zealand.

“Electric vehicles have not seen much love from new car buyers in Australia,” Michael Brown, Automotive Lead, Nielsen said in the report.

“The adoption rate is lower than in other markets. However, Aussie concern for the environment is growing rapidly.”

But what exactly is holding people back from getting their hands on an EV?

One factor was Aussies feeling they are not properly informed about about EVs. Another major factor was price.

In a Nielsen survey, 79% of Aussies said price was a major factor that could coax them into purchasing an EV. As many as 50% said they would only pay between $20,000 and $30,000 for an EV – which is a challenge, considering cheaper EVs like the Hyundai IONIQ start at $45,000.

Another factor preventing Australians from getting an EV is the fear that it will run out of charge on long road trips, despite most Aussies claiming to drive less than 80km a day. Around 47% of respondents believe EVs can only travel between 100 and 300km before they need to be recharged.

In addition, 77% of Australians are concerned about the lack of public infrastructure for EVs. According to the report there are only 800 charging stations in Australia, compared to more than 6,000 petrol stations.

In August 2019, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced $15 million in funding to Evie Networks to roll out 42 charging sites – powered by renewable energy – on service centres connecting Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. It also includes charging stations in Perth, Tasmania and far north Queensland.

In September 2019, Chargefox, which claims to be the largest EV charging network in Australia, announced its plans to increase the number of ultra-rapid EV chargers in the country.

The company identified the locations for all 22 sites in the first phase of its ultra-rapid EV charging network, part of its broader goal mission to have more than 100 ultra-rapid charging sites in the country, all be powered by renewable energy.

While Australia’s charging station network is improving, it seems more might need to be done to encourage sales of EVs in the local market.

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