SYDNEY — Electric vehicle (EV) sales in Australia hit an all-time high in 2023, according to the country’s automotive association, however light vehicle sales remained dominated by emissions-intensive trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).
Battery-electric vehicles were 7.2% of all vehicles sold last year, more than double the 3.1% recorded in 2022, according to data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) on Thursday.
After a decade under conservative governments that opposed EV adoption, the current centre-left Labor government, which won power in 2022, has launched a national EV strategy and provided hundreds of millions for clean transport.
However, Australian’s continue to prefer SUVs or light commercial vehicles, models which usually come with higher emissions when fossil fuelled. The two categories accounted for 78.4% of all new vehicle sales last year.
Efforts to increase the takeup of electric vehicles have long been plagued by shortages, a limited number of models and sparse and sometimes faulty charging equipment.
As a result adoption for many years lagged countries like the U.S. or Britain, where sales of EVs and plug-in hybrids hit 7.7% and 23%, respectively in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen said in November the government would soon release details of its long-awaited fuel efficiency standards, a policy that advocates say will spur manufacturers to send more EVs to Australia and further boost adoption.