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HandWiki. Plug-in Electric Vehicles in Australia. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 16 June 2024).
HandWiki. Plug-in Electric Vehicles in Australia. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 16, 2024.
HandWiki. "Plug-in Electric Vehicles in Australia" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 16, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 14). Plug-in Electric Vehicles in Australia. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Plug-in Electric Vehicles in Australia." Encyclopedia. Web. 14 November, 2022.
Plug-in Electric Vehicles in Australia

The adoption of plug-in electric vehicles in Australia is driven mostly by state-based electric vehicle targets and monetary incentives to support the adoption and deployment of low- or zero-emission vehicles. The monetary incentives include electric vehicle subsidies, interest-free loans, registration exemptions, stamp duty exemptions, the luxury car tax exemption and discounted parking for both private and commercial purchases. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation, energy providers, car loan providers and car insurance providers also offer their own financial incentives for electric vehicle purchases including Macquarie Bank offering the lowest electric car loan of 2.99%. The Victorian and New South Wales governments target between 50% to 53% of new car sales to be electric vehicles by 2030. The New South Wales Government also aim for the vast majority of new cars sold in the state to be electric vehicles by 2035. The New South Wales Government are also planning and stated they must ban the sale of internal combustion-engine vehicles by 2035. Similarly, the Victorian Government's "Infrastructure Victoria" initiative called for the government to ban the sale of petrol and diesel engine vehicles by 2035 at the latest. South Australia's Liberal government aim for 100% of new car sales to be electric vehicles by 2035, and plan to ensure electric vehicles are mainstream and the "common choice" for new vehicle purchases in 2030. The ACT also plan for 100% of new car sales to be EVs by 2030. The Australian states with EV sales targets represent approximately 65% of the Australian population. This means 65% of the Australian population has a target to reach more than 50% EV car sales by 2030. However, this target could be reached sooner if the two largest states governments of New South Wales and Victoria enact their plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035. High adoption of electric vehicles could save Australian drivers $500 billion by 2035. While a slow uptake of electric vehicles would result in a 1 trillion cost to the Australian health system by 2050. Although air pollution would cause the deaths of at least 2500 people across Sydney and Melbourne in the year 2030, even if the federal government swiftly clamped down on poisonous car fuels. A Federal Government target for 100% of car sales to be electric vehicles before 2050 could also be included in the Federal Government's National Electric Vehicle Strategy. This is because Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated in 2021 that the government's goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, which would require a national transition to 100% electric vehicles before 2050. 60% of Australians also want a net-zero emissions target by 2050. Scott Morrison will deliver a target for net-zero emissions by 2050 to the 2021 UN Climate Conference. The New South Wales treasurer, Matt Kean, said the federal Nationals should resign if they didn't support a national target for net-zero emissions by 2050. To reach net-zero emissions by 2050, electric vehicles will also need to represent 50% of car sales by 2035.

electric car electric vehicle health system

1. Electric Vehicle Ownership

The total stock of electric vehicles in Australia is approximately 23,000 as of the 2020/2021 financial year.[1] 6,718 of these electric cars were sold in 2019 alone with the other sales occurring since 2011.[1][2][3][4][5] 10,051 of the Australian electric vehicle stock consists of Teslas with 30% of these Teslas sold in 2020 alone.[6] In May and June 2021, electric vehicles accounted for 2% of new car sales in Australia, with approximately 5,000 Tesla vehicles sold in the first half of 2021.[7][8] This is up from 2020 when 1% of new car sales in Australia were electric vehicles.[9] While approximately 20% of new car sales are either full-electric or hybrid electric vehicles.[10] Nearly 2% of vehicles in Australia are either BEVs or PHEVs.[11] However, it has been determined that approximately 66% of Australians will be driving electric cars by 2030.[12] Moreover, 56% of Australians would consider an electric car when they next bought a vehicle.[13] In early 2020, electric vehicle registrations nearly doubled the registrations of the previous year, showing the rapidly increasing popularity of electric vehicles in Australia.[14] Australia’s EV imports increased 500% year on year in February 2021 to almost $125m.[15] 8,688 electric vehicles were sold in the first half of 2021 alone.[16] At this current growth rate, 17,376 plug-in electric vehicles are projected to be sold in Australia in 2021.[17][18][19][20][21][22] Based on early 2021 EV sales, Australia is expected to more than double 2020's total EV sales in 2021.[7][17][22][23] However, Australia could even register 20,000 new electric vehicles in 2021 as MG plan to sell 3,000 MG ZS EVs in 2021 alone.[19][20][24] More than 10,000 Australians have said they are interested in purchasing an Hyundai Ioniq 5 in 2021.[25] This includes between 2,880 to 3,508 projected PHEVs to be sold in Australia in 2021, exceeding the 1,685 PHEVs sold in 2020.[17][22][23] 2021 Q1 PHEV sales in Australia increased 75% compared to 2020, with more than half of the total PHEV sales in 2020 already being sold in Q1 2021.[23] Also at the current growth rate, 71,133 hybrids are projected to be sold in Australia in 2021.[17] This would surpass 2020’s record number of 60,000 hybrid vehicle sales in Australia.[17] In 2022, a minimum of 24,000 EVs will likely be sold in Australia with BYD planning to sell 4,000+ EVs in Australia in 2022 and Splend ordering 3,000 EVs from Nexport arriving in early 2022.[26][27] In 2020 there were more EVs in New Zealand than Australia, despite Australia having five times the population of New Zealand.[28] 26,000 EVs were registered in New Zealand in 2020 and the government plan to have an additional 60,000 electric vehicles on New Zealand roads by 2023, further surpassing Australia.[28] However, in 2019 New Zealand planned to have 64,000 electric vehicle in the country by 2021, when it was projected New Zealand would reach 100% electric vehicle sales by 2030[29] While a similar sized country to Australia, Canada has 188,100 EVs and had 50,960 new EV sales in 2019 alone, with a 100% electric vehicle sales target by 2030.[30][31][32][33]

2. Evolution of Electric Vehicle Market

2.1. Early Development

In 2008 Australia started producing its first commercial all-electric vehicle. Originally called the Blade Runner, its name was changed to Electron, and was exported to New Zealand with one purchased by the then Environment Minister Dr. Nick Smith.[34][35] The Electron is based on the Hyundai Getz and has proven popular with government car pools.[36] In 2012, Holden Australia developed an Australian-made electric commodore in partnership with 'EV Engineering' with 160km range in Port Melbourne.[37]

2.2. Better Place

Two Mitsubishi i MiEVs owned by ChargePoint and Better Place providing test drives during the 2010 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.
A Better Place charging station in Canberra.

In October 2008, Better Place announced plans to deploy charging network to power electric cars in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in partnership with Australian power company AGL and finance group Macquarie Capital.[38] The initial network deployment was planned to take place in Canberra in late 2011.[39] (As of December 2011), 12 public charge spots (power outlets, not battery swap stations) had been installed in Australia.[40] The roll out of the Australian network was initially planned to begin 6 months to a year after the roll out of the network in Denmark.[41]

In December 2012, Renault postponed the launch of the Renault Fluence Z.E. as the necessary infrastructure was not yet in place.. Better Place explained that delays in the deployments in Israel and Denmark are reflecting in the Australian roll out, which would take place between 12 and 18 months behind the other markets.[42] Better Place ultimately went bankrupt with the only sign they ever existed being a few lone silver posts standing in (mostly university) car parks.

2.3. Introduction of Series Production Electric Vehicles

Beginning in mid-2009, a twelve-month field trial was conducted with the Mitsubishi i-MiEV with potential electric vehicle customers, such as local, state and federal government bodies, and major fleet operators.[43] Leasing for fleet customers began in Australia in August 2010.[44][45] (As of May 2011), a total of 110 i-MiEVs had been leased to government and corporate fleets, while retail sales to the public began in August 2011. (As of December 2012), 125 i-MiEVs had been sold in the country, 30 of which were sold by December 2011.[46]

A Mitsubishi i MiEV charging in Melbourne.

A two-year fleet trial of 10 converted Ford Focus Electric cars, that also included 14 i-MiEVs and 3 Toyota Prius PHEVs,[47] commenced in Western Australia in 2010.[48] Each converted car was equipped with a 23 kWh battery pack, a 27 kW DC motor and a 1000A motor controller. These cars were then used in the study as regular fleet vehicles to find their usability for everyday driving.[49]

In July 2011, Nissan Australia provided 16 Nissan Leaf vehicles, to be used by both personal and commercial users, for an electric vehicle trial in Victoria.[50] A total of 19 Leafs were registered in 2011, while sales of the Nissan Leaf in Australia began in June 2012—77 units were sold during 2012.[46][51] The Holden Volt, a plug-in hybrid model, was released onto the Australian market by late 2012 and a total of 80 units were delivered during that year.[46]

A total of 258 plug-in electric cars were sold during 2012, with the i-MiEV as the top selling model, with 95 units sold.[52] Sales during 2013 totaled 304 units, up 20% from 2012. The Nissan Leaf was the top selling plug-in car with 188 units followed by the Holden Volt with 101 units. The electric vehicle market share in 2013 was 0.036% of total new car sales in the country.[53][54]

(As of September 2013), the largest public charging networks exist in the capital cities of Perth and Melbourne, with around 30 stations (7 kW AC) established in both cities—smaller networks exist in other capital cities. An Australian standard for charging connectors does not exist as of September 2013.[55]

Since 2014 Mitsubishi is no longer importing the i-MiEV after slow sales due to the high price and due to competition from the more successful Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for battery components. Sales during the first quarter of 2014 totaled 42 units, representing a 0.015% market share of new car sales,[56] and during the first half of 2014 sales reached 114 units.[57]

Deliveries of the Tesla Model S in Australia began in late 2014.[58] Deliveries of the BMW i3 also commenced at the end of 2014. Sales during 2014 totaled 1,228 units, up 288% from 2013.[59] The plug-in electric segment reached a 0.11% market share of total new car sales in the country, up threefold from 0.036% in 2013.[53][59] The surge in sales was due to the introduction of the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV, which sold 895 units during 2014, and became Australia's top selling plug-in electric vehicle.[59] Cumulative sales in the Australian market since 2010 reached over 1,950 units by the end of December 2014, up from 304 units in 2013.[46][53][59][60][61][62]

A total of 246 Holden Volts had been sold in the country by mid April 2015, with the stock of the first generation almost empty. General Motors announced that it will not build the second generation Volt in right-hand-drive configuration, so the Holden Volt will be discontinued in the country when the remaining stock is sold out.[63] (As of April 2015), the following models are available in the Australian market: Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, both variants of the BMW i3 (REx and all-electric), BMW i8, Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV, and Porsche plug-in hybrids, 918 Spyder, Panamera and Cayenne.[63][64][65] Other models scheduled to be launched in the country include the Audi A3 e-tron and the Audi Q7 e-tron.[63]

Driver assistance vehicles operated by the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (left, BMW i3) and the National Roads and Motorists' Association (right, Mitsubishi i MiEV).;

(As of December 2014), a total of 65 Model S cars were registered in New South Wales and only four in Victoria.[60] At the end of March 2015, registrations totaled 119 in New South Wales and 54 in Victoria. Although there were no sales figures reported for Tesla in other states, the combined sales of these two states alone were enough for the Model S to rank as the top selling all-electric car in the country for the first quarter of 2015, ahead of the BMW i3 (46) and the Nissan Leaf (31).[60] Australia's top selling plug-in electric vehicle for the first quarter of 2015 was the Outlander P-HEV, with 198 units sold,[66] again in the first quarter of 2016 ranked as the top selling plug-in with 195 units,[67] and continued as the country's all-time best selling plug-in with 2,015 units sold through March 2016 since its introduction in 2013.[68]

(As of December 2016), about 1,000 Nissan Leafs have been sold since its introduction in the country in 2012.[69] The Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV is the country's all-time top-selling plug-in electric vehicle with 2,906 units sold through March 2018.[70]

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

On 26 March 2021, the Hyundai Nexo became the first fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) to be released in Australia with the ACT government to operate a fleet of 20 Nexos.[71][72] The Nexo will be available to the public on special order for lease.[73] Coinciding with the release of the Nexo, the first publicly available hydrogen refuelling station opened on the 26th at Fyshwick in Canberra operated by ActewAGL.[71][74] Hyundai operates a refuelling station from its headquarters at Macquarie Park in Sydney which was established in 2015 for a trial of the Nexo's predecessor the ix35 FCEV.[75]

On 13 April 2021, the second generation Toyota Mirai was released in Australia with an initial allocation of 20 Mirai for organisations and businesses.[76][77] The Mirai will not be offered to the public which Toyota estimates "might be two to three years away".[78] Toyota had earlier on 29 March 2021 commissioned a hydrogen production facility together with a hydrogen refuelling station at its former manufacturing site at Altona in Melbourne to coincide with the release of the Mirai.[77] The refuelling station is the second public station in Australia.[79] Toyota had previously developed a mobile hydrogen refuelling station that could be transported on a truck that was used for the first generation Mirai loan program between 2018 and 2019.[76][80]

The Victorian Hydrogen Hub is set to be constructed at the CSIRO's Clayton campus.[81][82] Western Australia intend to invest in hydrogen refuelling stations.[83] The Queensland government is using a fleet of Hyundai FCEVs and is investing in hydrogen refuelling stations.[84]

2.4. Growth and Availability of Electric Vehicles

Plug-in electric cars in Australia grew 300% from just 2,216 sales in 2018 to 6,718 in 2019.[4] Tesla accounted for 70% of these electric car sales, mostly through the release of the Tesla Model 3 in August which accounted for two-thirds of electric car sales in 2019.[85][86] Electric vehicle sales were also stated earlier to have doubled in Australia in 2019 compared to 2018.[87] In 2019, the Electric Vehicle Council expected electrical vehicle model choices to continue to expand which would consequently promote a significant increase in EV sales in Australia.[88] This is from 22 all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles available in 2019 to 31 by the end of 2020.[88] This compares to more than 150 electric car models being available in Europe and elsewhere.[85]

The MG ZS EV which received 100 pre-orders in November 2019 and since had its price reduced to $40,990, plan to introduce free charging along with supercharger network operators such as Chargefox for their 2021 model.[24] MG is also stated as intending to sell 3,000 ZS EVs in Australia in 2021 alone.[24]

In December 2020, there were almost 100 used electric cars listed on[89] 42% of used electric cars were listed under $50,000.[89] While 23% of used electric cars were listed under $20,000.[89] The lowest price for a used electric car in Australia was $11,990 as of December 2020 and $8,900 as of 2021.[89] also stated 47% of buyers on their website considered buying an EV.[90] Carsales also confirmed that the cost and price of EVs was the most important factor and vehicle range was the second most important factor among potential EV purchasers.[90] 75% of Australians aged between 25 and 34 were also reported as considering EVs on[90]

Electric vehicles by Australian state/territory in 2020[1]

Victoria 5,800 - 7,000[91] 27.65% - 35%
New South Wales 6,400 30.51%
South Australia 2,412 11.5%
Queensland 3,400 16.21%
Australian Capital Territory 839 4%
Tasmania 340 1.62%
Western Australia 1,400 6.67%
Northern Territory 40 0.19%
Australia 20,978 100%
Electric vehicle sales from 2011 - 2021[19][20][22][92][93][94][95][96]
Year 2022 estimate 2021 estimate 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
total electric vehicle sales


24,000 - 34,000[22][26][27] 17,376 - 20,000[22] 6900 6718 2216 2287 1369 1771 1322 293 253 49
BEVs   15,000 estimate[22] 5215 5292 1053 1208 668 759 371 191 173 49
PHEVs   2,880 estimate[22] 1685 1426 1163 1076 701 1012 951 102 80 0

3. Electric Vehicle Policies

Electric vehicle policies in Australia include incentives such as electric vehicle subsidies, interest-free loans, registration exemptions, stamp duty exemptions, the luxury car tax exemption and discounted parking for both private and commercial purchases.

4. Charging Infrastructure

In 2021, there were more than 3,000 public electric vehicle chargers installed across Australia, representing a ratio of 7.2 electric vehicles for every installed public charger.[97] Infrastructure Australia (IA) had identified the development of a fast-charging network for electric cars as one of Australia's highest national priorities from 2020 to 2025.[98] The Federal Government pledged to spend $74.5 million on charging infrastructure in the budget in 2021.[99] The Federal Government is also contributing $15 million to a national electric vehicle charging network built by Evie Networks and connecting Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.[100] Extra stations will also be built in Tasmania, Perth and regional Queensland.[100] In 2021, Evie Networks announced they would spend $25 million on 300 additional Australian made Tritium electric vehicle chargers across Australia.[101] The South Australian and Federal Liberal Government also signed an agreement in 2021 for combined funding of new electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the state.[102] Chargefox is Australia's largest electric vehicle charger network operator and have 1,400 charging stations across Australia, with a plan to have 5,000 by 2025.[103] 2,000 of these chargers will have fast and/or ultra-rapid charging speeds.[104] Australian company Bell Hub plan for 60 ultra-fast solar powered electric vehicle charging stations from converted car washes with free wi-fi and barista coffee.[105][106] Bell Hub is chaired by former NSW Liberal leader Kerry Chikarovski.[105] The plan is to expand the network to around 316 charging stations by 2025.[105][107] JOLT Charge intend to offer 5,000 free electric vehicle charging stations across Australia from Black Rock's $100 million funding.[108] The Type 2 CCS charging standard is also the most commonly used in Australia.[109] City of Port Phillip in Melbourne also offer Kerb Charging Permits to residents and businesses to enable kerbside charging.[110] Ampol plan to rollout more than 100 charging stations with rapid 50kW chargers through a $100 million investment across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong, NSW’s Central Coast, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.[111]

Australia also has electric boat chargers in docks across New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia[112] Public charging infrastructure in Australia in early 2020[5]

Electric Vehicle Charge Station in Adelaide.
Chargepoint Charger.
State / Territory DC Chargers AC Chargers Total Chargers Tesla Super Charger Locations Planned Chargers Electric

Vehicles (2019)

Chargers per Electric Vehicle
New South Wales 153 630 783 22 20[113] + Ausgrid and Jolt plan 13,000 chargers from converted power kiosks[114]NSW aims to install 1,000 high power charging bays by 2027 and spend $161 million on expanding the EV-charging network[115][116]

70 converted kiosk chargers by late 2021[114]

90 Tritium fast chargers from Evie Networks[117]

also government investment of $5 million

$131 million to develop EV super highways with EV chargers across all of the state’s major highways[118]

$20 million in grants for destination chargers at key tourist sites[118]

$20 million for charging infrastructure at public transport hubs[118]

ensure households with limited off-street parking are no more than 5 km from a charger[119]

chargers would be installed at 100 km intervals along major highways and at 5 km intervals on major roads in Sydney[119]

4627 0.17
Victoria 86 450 536 20 174+ ($24 million+ investment)[120][121][122]

*including 80 fast chargers in regional Victoria[123]

78 Tritium fast chargers from Evie Networks[117]

4193 0.13
South Australia 19 216 235 4 560 new chargers by 2023[124][125]26 Tritium fast chargers from Evie Networks[117] 1787 0.13
Queensland 59 336 395 8 68 Tritium fast chargers from Evie Networks[117]


2416 0.16
Australian Capital Territory 11 39 50 2 50[128]18 Tritium fast chargers from Evie Networks[117] 523 0.10
Tasmania 4 64 68 1[129] 14[130][131] + $600,000[132]10 Tritium fast chargers from Evie Networks[117] 195 0.35
Western Australia 25 202 227 4 90 charging stations $21 million investment[133] to be the longest electric vehicle charger network in Australia by early 2024[134]20 Tritium fast chargers from Evie Networks[117] 956 0.24
Northern Territory 0 13 13 0 400 electric vehicle charging stations[135]6 Tritium fast chargers from Evie Networks[117] 30 0.43
Total 357 1950 2307 60   14727  

Public charging infrastructure in Australia in 2018[136]

Total number of charging stations 216 20 76 161 21 162 5 122
Charging stations per 100,000 residents 3.40 3.17 4.40 2.04 4.02 3.27 2.03 4.72
Total # AC 208 17 70 148 21 138 5 107
  DC 8 3 6 13 0 24 0 15
Total # Capital City 114 20 32 86 4 58 3 77
  Regional 102 0 44 75 17 104 2 45

The number of charging stations in Australia has increased substantially, with a 64 per cent increase from 2017 to 2018 as data reveals that 476 charging locations available in 2017 has increased to 783 charging locations available in 2018.[136]

5. Sales

Electric vehicle sales in Australia in Q1 2021[18]

Model Total
Q1 2021
Tesla Model 3 2150 estimate
MG ZS EV 359
Porsche Taycan 225
Nissan Leaf 118
Mercedes-Benz EQC 66
Hyundai Kona 56
Hyundai Ioniq 52
Audi e-tron 32
Tesla Model X 30 estimate
Tesla Model S` 20 estimate
BMW i3 19
Jaguar I-Pace 16
Mini Cooper Electric 15
Total 3158 estimate

Electric vehicle sales in Australia in 2020[137]

Model Total
Tesla Model 3 3500 estimate
Hyundai Kona 443
Nissan Leaf 341
Hyundai Ioniq 326
Mercedes-Benz EQC 142
Tesla Model X 120 estimate
Tesla Model S 110 estimate
Mini Cooper Electric 79
Renault Zoe 77
Jaguar I-Pace 66
BMW i3 51
Audi e-tron 52
Total 5199 to 5307 estimate[23]

Australia's most popular electric cars are similar to the most popular electric cars among New Zealanders.[138] In 2020, New Zealand's most popular electric cars were the Tesla Model 3, Hyundai Kona Electric, Nissan Leaf and the MG ZS EV.[138]

6. Plug-In Electric Vehicles Currently Available in Australia

Multiple plug-in electric vehicles are currently available in Australia, including those from Tesla Inc., Kia Motors, and Jaguar Cars.

7. Plug-In Electric Vehicles Planned for Release in Australia

Multiple plug-in electric vehicles are planned to eventually release in Australia. The plan includes plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) coming to Australia. New South Wales Government's nation-leading plan electric vehicle policies are designed to ensure an increased variety of electric vehicle models are available in Australia.[139] Nexport has been working hard on plans to dramatically broaden Australia’s EV menu with the launch of EVDirect, an online platform that allows international EV manufacturers to bring cars into Australia without having a local dealership network, starting with BYD models.[140]


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