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Stark poll reveals the major problem facing electric cars: Low-income Aussies not keen to buy them

Fewer than one in five low-income Australians believe their next car is likely to be electric while almost half of those on six-figure salaries say they will purchase one, according to a new poll.

The survey of 1,000 Australians commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs shows that cost is one of the main barriers to the widespread take-up of electric vehicles.

The cheapest electric cars in Australia start at around $44,000 while the most affordable new petrol cars start are less than half that figure – at about $18,000. 

The survey of 1,000 Australians shows that cost is one of the main barriers to widespread electric vehicle take-up

The survey of 1,000 Australians shows that cost is one of the main barriers to widespread electric vehicle take-up 

‘Will the next car you purchase likely be an electric vehicle?’
Less than $45,000    $45,000 to $99,999  $100,000 and over  All incomes 
Yes: 22%   36%  48% 29% 
Unsure: 33%   30%  29%  38% 
No: 45%   34%  23%  33% 

Poll

Will your next car be electric?

Meanwhile, fossil-fuel powered cars are available on the used car market for just a few hundred dollars while used electric cars still cost upwards of $10,000.

The gap is expected to narrow as electric cars get older, more models enter the Australian market and manufacturers phase out combustion engines. 

But for now only 29 per cent of Aussies say their next car is likely to be electric, according to the poll by research firm Dynata conducted between 29-30 June 2022.

Only 22 per cent of Australians earning less than $45,000 answered yes while 48 per cent of those earning $100,000 or more gave a positive response. 

Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs, said the poll showed electric vehicles were still too dear for most Aussies.

He attacked a push by the Electric Vehicle Council for every state and territory to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2035 after the ACT made the move last month.

‘With Australian families already facing unprecedented cost of living pressures, forcing them to buy electric vehicles which don’t suit their needs and are unaffordable will only make this worse,’ he said.

‘Banning the sale of new petrol cars is just another savage attack on the Australian way of life by inner-city elites under the guise of net zero emissions by 2050.

‘These policy proposals are nothing more than a massive tax on Australia’s tradies and undermines the liveability of our suburban and regional communities.’

However, supporters say targets will bring down prices by increasing competition among manufacturers selling electric cars.

Only 29 per cent of Aussies say their next car is likely to be electric, according to the poll by research firm Dynata conducted between 29-30 June 2022

Only 29 per cent of Aussies say their next car is likely to be electric, according to the poll by research firm Dynata conducted between 29-30 June 2022

Only 29 per cent of Aussies say their next car is likely to be electric, according to the poll by research firm Dynata conducted between 29-30 June 2022

Commenting on the poll results, Mr Wild added: ‘Less than a third of Australians have indicated they are likely to buy an electric vehicle as their next car, and usually it is only those with high incomes who have shown a willingness to purchase them.

‘The EV lobby are seeking millions of dollars in subsidies from all levels of government for things such as charging stations and associated infrastructure, which is akin to taking from the poor and giving to the rich.’

In a report ahead of an electric vehicle summit with Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen on August 19, the Electric Vehicle Council has proposed a four-stage phase-out of petrol cars.

New petrol cars should be banned in just 12 years, according to the Electric Vehicle Council. Pictured: A Tesla charging network in Bathurst, NSW

New petrol cars should be banned in just 12 years, according to the Electric Vehicle Council. Pictured: A Tesla charging network in Bathurst, NSW

New petrol cars should be banned in just 12 years, according to the Electric Vehicle Council. Pictured: A Tesla charging network in Bathurst, NSW

It wants states and territories to adopt targets mandating the percentage of new car sales that must be electric. 

The Council’s suggested targets are 10 per cent by 2025, 30 per cent by 2027, 55 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2035. 

The new Labor government has not introduced mandated targets at a federal level but the Council believes each state and territory should adopt them.

‘This type of scheme could also be introduced nationally as an alternative to fuel-efficiency targets if it proved to be a more feasible option,’ its report says.   

The Electric Vehicle Council wants states and territories to adopt targets mandating the percentage of new car sales that must be electric

The Electric Vehicle Council wants states and territories to adopt targets mandating the percentage of new car sales that must be electric

The Electric Vehicle Council wants states and territories to adopt targets mandating the percentage of new car sales that must be electric

The UK will ban new petrol cars from 2030 and the EU will stamp them out from 2035.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said Australia risks falling behind the rest of the world without such targets. 

He told The Australian newspaper: ‘While the world was accelerating towards electric vehicles, Australia has fallen behind.

‘It’s time for Australia to join the rest of the world in its transition to zero-emissions vehicles to avoid being used as a dumping ground for old polluting cars.’ 

However, NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham said mandatory targets added up to ‘police state madness of controlling what cars people can own and drive’.

‘This is forcing working people under enormous cost of living pressures to buy $60,000 cars, mostly imported from China, with zero impact on global surface temperatures,’ he said.

‘Plus hitting taxpayers to pay for charging stations, subsidising the wealthy who own these things.’   

Preparing Australia to accommodate millions of electric cars which have to be charged will cost billions of dollars.

In a report ahead of an electric vehicle summit with Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen (right) on August 19, the Electric Vehicle Council proposes a four-stage phase-out of petrol cars

In a report ahead of an electric vehicle summit with Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen (right) on August 19, the Electric Vehicle Council proposes a four-stage phase-out of petrol cars

In a report ahead of an electric vehicle summit with Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen (right) on August 19, the Electric Vehicle Council proposes a four-stage phase-out of petrol cars

Professor Guoxiu Wang, the director of the Centre for Clean Energy Technology at the University of Technology in Sydney, said the country will need a massive overhaul to its current infrastructure to successfully electrify its roads.

‘Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of developed countries. Progress is very slow and dependent on government policy,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

Professor Wang said this is the most critical part to electrifying Australia’s roads, and that until there is significant work done on building charging stations and extending the range for EVs, there won’t be any meaningful change.

‘My biggest concern is infrastructure. In major capital cities we don’t have infrastructure to accommodate totally replacing internal combustion engine cars,’ he said.

‘We need more charging stations – not only at home but at institutions, government buildings, office buildings and petrol stations. If there’s huge infrastructure development, people will 100 per cent adopt them.’ 

TRADITIONAL VS ELECTRIC CARS

Cheapest new car: Kia Picanto S manual – $18,490 drive-away

Cheapest electric car: MG ZS EV – $46,990 drive-away

Cheapest new ute: Mitsubishi Triton GLX – $23,740

Cheapest new electric ute: None available

Longest range for an electric car: Tesla Model S Plaid+ – 837km

Longest range for a normal car: Toyota Land Cruiser Prado – 1,875km

Meanwhile another report says Australia could help drivers save billions of dollars by matching fuel efficiency rules imposed by other countries on cars and light trucks.

Stronger standards for new vehicles would cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the cost at the bowser, according to the Australia Institute report released on Monday.

It found $5.9billion in fuel costs would have been saved, and emissions equivalent to a year’s worth of domestic flights avoided, if robust fuel efficiency standards had been adopted in 2015.

New standards would reduce Australia’s reliance on foreign oil and also encourage dealers to put more electric vehicle models into a market where demand is outstripping supply, the report said.

Emissions from the transport sector make up one-fifth of Australia’s total and are among the fastest-growing sources nationally, sparking calls for fuel standards that have been rejected by prior federal governments.

‘Australian motorists are the victims of having one of the world’s least efficient and most polluting car fleets, and it’s costing us every time we fill up at the petrol pump,’ the institute’s climate and energy director Richie Merzian said.

As the fuel excise cut comes to an end in September, policymakers have an opportunity to save motorists money by introducing an average efficiency standard for new cars in Australia, he said.

Unlike most advanced countries, Australia does not have mandatory fuel economy standards.

Instead, voluntary rules have been in place since the 1970s and a new industry-led emissions standard was introduced in 2020 for passenger cars and SUVs.

The report found the current voluntary standard is ‘weak and opaque’.

Mr Merzian said efficiency standards are a widespread and modest mechanism used by governments globally to ensure new cars are less polluting.

In 2018, the average carbon dioxide intensity for new passenger vehicles in Australia was 169.8 compared to 129.9 in the United States, 120.4 in Europe and 114.6 in Japan, the report said.

Almost two in three Australians (65 per cent) support the introduction of national fuel efficiency standards in line with those in Europe, according to the institute.

With AAP 

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