More Australians open to electric cars, but still want SUVs and utes

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A higher number of Australians are considering an electric car for their next new purchase, but the appetite remains for SUVs and

More Australians will consider an electric vehicle for their next new car, while almost two-thirds want an SUV or ute according to a new report from the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA).

The AADA has released its latest findings after surveying 2000 new-car intenders of varying age, gender and location across Australia.

It has compared its latest results to those from a similar survey carried out in late 2022 and has found more Australians open to electric cars.

“Australians continue to preference SUVs when considering their next vehicle purchase, [and] are very conscious of price given [the] current cost
of living pressures,” said AADA CEO Mr James Voortman in a statement.

SUVs have outsold conventional passenger cars since 2017 and made up 55.8 per cent of new vehicles delivered in 2023.

The Ford Ranger pick-up was the top-selling vehicle in Australia in 2023, with every Top 10-selling vehicle in Australia being a ute or SUV.

Electric vehicle sales jumped 161.1 per cent to make up 7 per cent of all new motor vehicle sales, up from 3 per cent in 2022.

The [Electric Vehicle] & Hybrid Vehicle Wave 2 Insights Report found more Australians (62 per cent) are looking to buy a new vehicle in the next three years (previously 53 per cent).

One quarter (25 per cent) of respondents are considering an electric vehicle as their next ‘main car’, up from 21 per cent previously.

Australians considering electric cars are willing to pay as much as 8 per cent more for an electric car, whereas previous respondents drew the line at 6 per cent.

Those who have ruled out an electric vehicle as their next car have decreased from 62 per cent to 57 per cent between reports.

Unsurprisingly, the 2024 report reaffirms the biggest barrier to switching to an electric vehicle is the higher initial cost, with public infrastructure the next concern.

Almost two-thirds – 62 per cent – say their next car will be an SUV or a dual-cab ute.

“Intention to consider an [electric vehicle] for the next main vehicle driven is lowest when replacing large SUVs and utes,” said Mr Voortman.

While there are a number of electric SUVs in showrooms from brands including Hyundai, Renault, Volvo, BMW, MG, BYD, Renault and Tesla –
there is only a single electric dual-cab ute – the LDV eT60 priced at $92,990.

With the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux the best-selling vehicles in Australia since 2015, the electric ute offering in Australia is both expensive and lacks choice – although that is set to change in the near future.

While willing to pay more, two-thirds believe state and federal governments should be doing more to incentivise the adoption of electric cars.

Australia’s laws – not changed since 2009, when there were no electric cars in local showrooms – are widely believed to be lagging behind the rest of the developed world.

Mr Voortman suggested the proposed laws – set for introduction in 2025 if rubber-stamped in parliament – put the number of SUVs and pick-ups
in showrooms at risk.

“We urge the government to study this survey and adopt an emissions policy which reduces vehicle emissions in a way that protects affordability, choice and the local automotive industry,” said Mr Voortman.

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