Australia: Historic Surge in Electric Vehicles

In 2023, Australia witnessed a historic surge in electric vehicle (EV) sales, reaching an unprecedented peak, as reported by the country’s automotive association. Despite this milestone, the majority of light vehicle sales continued to be dominated by high-emission trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs). Battery-electric vehicles accounted for 7.2% of total sales, more than doubling the 3.1% from the previous year. When hybrids and plug-in hybrids are included, the collective share of electrified vehicles rises to 16.2% of all new vehicle sales in 2023, nearing one-fifth of the market.

Australia’s recent shift towards EVs follows a decade of conservative governance, with the current centre-left Labor government actively promoting electric vehicle adoption through a national strategy and substantial funding for clean transport. Despite these efforts, SUVs and light commercial vehicles, known for higher emissions, maintained their dominance, comprising 78.4% of new vehicle sales. The popularity of models like the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hi-Lux, accounting for a significant share of 2023 sales, underscores the challenge of reducing carbon emissions in a market still favoring traditional vehicle types. Shortages, limited model availability, and inadequate charging infrastructure have persistently hindered widespread electric vehicle adoption in Australia.