Disclaimer

This survey was conducted by Google Surveys on behalf of Budget Direct in July 2018. All figures are from this research unless stated otherwise. The survey was conducted online with a total sample size of 1,000 weighted and representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+).

Topics

By 2040 it is estimated that 70% of new vehicle sales and 30% of the total fleet in Australia will be compromised of electric vehicles4. But looking at the current state of electric vehicles in Australia reveals that electric vehicles make up less than 1% of the total Australian fleet. And while there are several electric vehicles available on the market, there is a marked reluctance on behalf of the Australian public to purchase these vehicles. We conducted a new survey to get to the bottom of what’s holding Australians back from purchasing electric cars.

1. Lack of knowledge about electric vehicles

Which electric vehicle technology do you think is the most viable for Australia?

State by state "Not sure" comparison

Australians are feeling a bit left in the dark and as a result, hesitant towards electric vehicles and how they will be rolled out in Australia. Over a third of Australians surveyed weren’t really sure what electric vehicle technology would be suitable in Australia, with the most common answer being, not sure.

Do you believe switching from petrol to electric powered vehicle will have a measurable effect on the environment?

National total

Studies have shown that widespread adoption of electric vehicles will have a measurable effect on the environment, but over a third of those surveyed aren’t aware of the positive impacts electric vehicles can have on the environment5. While there has been debate over the initial emissions produced in the manufacturing process of the batteries needed for electric vehicles, it is clear these initial emissions are offset by their long term emission saving potential given their lack of tailpipe emissions and zero combustion, meaning that electric vehicles have close to zero running emissions.

Do you believe switching from petrol to electric powered vehicle will have a measurable effect on the environment?

By gender

,,,

Interestingly, women were significantly more likely than men to believe that switching to electric vehicles would have a positive impact on the environment.

Do you believe switching from petrol to electric powered vehicle will have a measurable effect on the environment?

By state

,,,

Respondents from the Northern Territory were the least likely to think that a rollout of electric vehicles would have a measurable effect on the environment at just 45%. People from the Australian Capital Territory were noticeably more convinced as to the environmental benefits of electric vehicles with 77% of respondents saying yes to the switch. Whether this is a lack of awareness and information available at a state level is unknown.

Do you believe switching from petrol to electric powered vehicle will have a measurable effect on the environment?

By age

,,,

Do you think the Australian Government has given enough evidence/information on how the roll out of electric cars will be sustainable in our country?

National total

,,,

By age

,,,

The survey results reveal a general lack of knowledge about electric vehicles amongst the Australian public, what the positive impacts of having an electric vehicle fleet would be, and whether the Australian Government has done enough to get the country ready for electric vehicles. And more alarmingly, an overwhelming majority of Australians surveyed (83%) aren’t convinced that Australia is ready for a predominantly electric fleet.

Infrastructure Australia, Australia’s leading independent infrastructure advisor, has said that development of national policies and regulation from the Australian Government is a must to ensure the success of a national electric vehicle fast-charging network, without which electric cars will surely fail4.

2. The pressure points

So what exactly is holding Australians back from purchasing electric vehicles?

Do you think the current electricity grid infrastructure could support the influx of electric vehicles?

National total

,,,

By far people’s biggest concern for rolling out electric vehicles was the existing infrastructure Australia has in place to support an electric vehicle fleet. And the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia agrees.

The chief executive of the Electric Vehicle Council, Behyad Jafari, said that Australia lags behind comparable nations in terms of the infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles and that there was an urgent need to act3. “The key factor holding back the mass uptake on electric vehicles in Australia is consumer uncertainty about charging infrastructure,” Mr Jafari said.

Do you think the current electricity grid infrastructure could support the influx of electric vehicles?

By age

,,,

Younger respondents were more optimistic about the electricity grid infrastructure’s capability for supporting an influx of electric vehicles in Australia. However, the older the respondent, the more skeptical they became with only 15.5% of 65+ year olds thinking the electricity grid infrastructure was up to scratch. With nearly 70% of those surveyed of the opinion that electric vehicles won’t work with the infrastructure Australia has in place, it’s no wonder electric vehicle sales are low.

In your opinion, what is the biggest hurdle for the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia?

National total

,,,

But it’s not only the infrastructure that’s making Australians unsure on the adoption of an electric vehicle fleet, there were substantial concerns around the Government’s reliance on fossil fuel tax, range anxiety, reliability of the vehicles and serviceability and support systems in place for electric vehicles. According to Infrastructure Australia, building a national electric vehicle fast-charging network is now a high priority initiative for Australia4.

Australia's current fast-charging infrustructure

,,,

What concerns do you have about electric vehicles?

National total

,,,

With less than 800 charging stations Australia-wide as opposed to the thousands of petrol and diesel stations around the country, it’s easy to understand why Australians are concerned about where to charge these electric vehicles and the battery life and range they will have4. Given just how large our country really is, without adequate numbers of charging stations around the country, electric vehicles cannot hope to compete with petrol vehicles in regards to just how far they can travel. Australians are right to be concerned that the purchase of an electric vehicle would leave them significantly more restricted than if they had purchased a petrol or diesel vehicle.

Do you think it would be fair to pay more for electricity, due to an increase in electric vehicles, even if you don’t own one?

National total

,,,

Not to be forgotten, price is always top of mind when it comes to making larger purchases. 44% of respondents were concerned about the outright price of electric vehicles. Another important consideration when it comes to pricing is the ongoing costs of charging electric vehicles. While long-term it is estimated that there will be nationally significant fuel and maintenance cost savings, people are concerned with the immediate future and the impact an influx of electric vehicles could have on their power bills4. 80% of people didn’t think it would be fair to have to pay more for an electric vehicle fleet in Australia, especially if they didn’t own an electric vehicle.

Do you think it would be fair to pay more for electricity, due to an increase in electric vehicles, even if you don’t own one?

By gender

,,,

By age

,,,

By state

,,,

Of those surveyed Tasmanians were the least inclined to want to pay more for their electricity as a result of electric vehicles while people from the Australian Capital Territory were the most on board, closely followed by Western Australians.

3. Hope for the future

There are definite signs that if substantial changes are implemented on a national level in terms of infrastructure and policies, the Australian public would be more on board with an influx of electric vehicles.

Would you consider purchasing an electric vehicle if a rebate was offered on the purchase price?

National total

,,,

By gender

,,,

Nearly ¾ of respondents would consider purchasing an electric vehicle if there were rebates offered on the purchase price. Only Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory offer any incentive for purchasing lower emission vehicles6. Victoria currently offers a $100 annual discount on registration on each electric vehicle and the ACT reduces the stamp duty on lower emission vehicles.

Would you consider purchasing an electric vehicle if a rebate was offered on the purchase price?

By state

,,,

Respondents in the Australian Capital Territory were significantly more motivated by the offer of a rebate at 87.4% of respondents saying they would consider purchasing a vehicle if a rebate was offered, people in the Northern Territory less so at just 37.9%.

Would you consider purchasing an electric vehicle if a rebate was offered on the purchase price?

By age

,,,

Interestingly a rebate was more appealing to younger generations with a decrease in interest that corresponded with an increase in respondent’s age.

Would you purchase an electric vehicle if it was the same price as a petrol alternative?

National total

,,,

By gender

,,,

Females were both more likely then men to both purchase an electric vehicle if a rebate was offered and also if the price of an electric vehicle was the same as a petrol one. Given the current price difference in a mid-range petrol or diesel vehicle compared with a mid-range electric vehicle available, the upfront costs of electric vehicles are clearly acting as a major deterrent to a more wide-spread adoption of electric vehicles in Australia. If these upfront costs were reduced to a more equal price point to petrol vehicles, 70% of Australians surveyed would be on board with purchasing an electric vehicle.

Would you purchase an electric vehicle if it was the same price as a petrol alternative?

By state

,,,

People surveyed from the Australian Capital Territory were the most likely to purchase an electric vehicle if the price point was the equivalent of a petrol vehicle at 77% while respondents from the Northern Territory however were the least inclined to want to purchase an electric vehicle at just 45% of respondents.

Would you purchase an electric vehicle if it was the same price as a petrol alternative?

By age

,,,

How much longer do you think you will be driving a petrol vehicle for?

National total

,,,

Not including the 20% of respondents who believed they would never drive an electric vehicle in their lifetime, the majority of people surveyed in Australia believe that electric cars are a certainty in their future, which is interesting given that the majority of people don’t believe that Australia is ready for electric cars to be rolled out.

How much longer do you think you will be driving a petrol vehicle for?

By age

,,,

18 to 34 year old respondents were the most likely to assume they’d be purchasing an electric vehicle in the next 5 years at 25.2% and also the most likely to assume they’d purchase an electric vehicle in the next 5-10 years as well at 34%. People aged 55 to 65+ years were the most likely to say they would be driving a petrol vehicle for the rest of their life at 21.8% of respondents.

One thing is very clear, electric cars are going to increasingly shape the automobile landscape in the coming years, with petrol and diesel car bans to be implemented in several countries in the near future. Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Israel, India, the UK, France, Spain and China have all committed to reducing the number of petrol and diesel fueled cars on their roads1. Given that China, Germany, the UK, India and Spain are among the 10 highest car producing countries in the world, and make over 52% of the world’s cars, it stands to reason that the types of cars they will be producing will also change, which will in turn affect the types of cars Australians are able to buy2. Ready or not Australia, here they come.

Get a car insurance quote online