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Aussies to buy half a million more EVs

Roy Morgan data shows 548,000 Australians plan to buy an EV in next four years


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21 Jun 2023

AN ESTIMATED 12.5 per cent of all new car buyers in Australia intend to purchase an electric vehicle (EV) within the next four years – a figure that equates to the sale of some 548,000 new EVs nationwide by the end of 2027.


The data, supplied by Roy Morgan, shows a 1230 per cent increase in the number of Aussie buyers prepared to purchase an electric vehicle when compared to similar data sourced four years ago.


In the year to March 2019, only 41,000 Australians said they were interested in purchasing an EV, a figure that grew to 66,000 just 12 months later.


“Electric vehicles have come a long way in a short time, with the intention to buy electric vehicles in the next four years increasing by a stunning 1232 per cent compared with four years ago,” said Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine.


“In the year to March 2019, only 41,000 Australians said they intended to purchase an electric vehicle in the next four years – and this has now increased rapidly to well over half-a-million Australians today.”


Roy Morgan says respondents cited concerns about climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions as the reason behind the “stunning” shift in perceptions but says the availability of more affordable models is behind the uptick.


Despite newer and more affordable EVs from mainstream manufacturers entering the market, Roy Morgan says the main driver of the increase in Australian electric vehicle sales is centred on just one manufacturer, Tesla.


Prospective Aussie EV buyers appear to favour Teslas by a substantial number, with 369,000 respondents saying they would opt for a Tesla when buying a new electric vehicle – an increase of almost 900 per cent over the same time in 2019.


“The largest driver of this increase is the growing popularity of the Tesla brand,” said Ms Levine.


“Tesla is synonymous with electric vehicles and has experienced a similar surge in interest as a wider variety of models have become available. Now, 369,000 Australians say they intend to purchase a Tesla in the next four years compared with only 37,000 in the year to March 2018.


“The surge in interest has led to a similar surge in sales. The official Vfacts sales data so far in 2023 shows Tesla is now the sixth highest selling brand in Australia behind five well-established Asian vehicle manufacturers – Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Kia.


“This is a sharp rise for Tesla which was only the 16th largest selling brand of car as recently as 2022.”


But who exactly is buying an electric vehicle?


According to Roy Morgan, the average Tesla buyer is a Sydney-based male in the top ‘AB’ socio-economic quintile with a high income of over $100,000 per annum. He is Australian-born and highly educated with a degree or diploma and working in a full-time professional or managerial role.


“Tesla man” is married in his 50s or 60s, has a partner or children, and lives in a detached house which he owns. He is also more likely to vote for the ALP, says Roy Morgan’s data.


“Tesla is clearly the dominant force in the electric vehicle market, but as the intention to purchase data clearly shows, there is an increasing gap opening between those who want to buy an electric vehicle and those who intend to purchase a Tesla,” noted Ms Levine.


“This gap, which didn’t exist three years ago, shows that as other manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, BYD and MG launch competing electric vehicle brands, there is an increasing market for these vehicles to tap into.


“Although Tesla is clearly the market leader, there are now around 180,000 Australians who want to buy an electric vehicle – but not a Tesla.”


However, as Tesla and other electric vehicles move into the mainstream, there have been steady increases across a diverse range of demographic groups in terms of those planning to “go electric”.


The data shows 61 per cent of those planning to buy an EV are male with a broader age spread than was reported in March 2019.


Roy Morgan says intention to buy an electric vehicle has almost doubled across all age groups, and more than tripled for all age groups aged 35 years or older.


By far, the fastest age group intending to buy an EV within the next four years is the 65 years and older set, up a whopping 340 per cent.


“Men have been the early adopters when it comes to electric vehicles, but in the last two years the fastest growth for intention to purchase electric vehicles has come from women, up over 480 per cent,” added Ms Levine.


“The key demographics remain those aged 35-plus who comprise over three-quarters (79 per cent) of electric vehicle intenders. But there is rapid growth across all age groups.”


It is also interesting to note that, in a time of rising interest rates an economic instability, home ownership status is a key driver in the move towards electric mobility.


Currently, the intention to purchase an EV is split evenly between homeowners (41 per cent) and those with a mortgage (39 per cent), with a further 20 per cent split between renters and those in other housing arrangements.

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