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“Still way too low”: Australian electric vehicle industry says quadruple imports are not enough | Electric, hybrid and low-emission cars

Australia saw the biggest surge in electric vehicle imports in the first two months of the year, but industry figures say the result is still not good enough.

Import figures released Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that the dollar value of electric vehicle (EV) imports rose by $ 104 million to $ 125 million in the first two months of 2021, an increase of 485% compared to the numbers of the same time last year.

Hybrid vehicle sales increased $ 95 million to $ 190 million, up 101%.

According to ABS, this translates into a quadrupling of electric vehicle imports to Australia, “the highest month ever for electric vehicle imports”.

“These increases coincide with media reports of a shift in demand for electric vehicles in early 2021 as greater range is made available in Australia,” the press release said.

Those numbers were bundled into total sales growth of $ 705 million, with total industry value increasing 24% to $ 3.72 billion.

Vehicle import numbers are usually weak in January and February, but the growth in numbers reflects an economy recovering from the worst of the pandemic.

While the EV results were welcomed as a signal of growing demand and a recovering economy, growth was achieved on a very low basis.

Behyad Jafari, chairman of the electric vehicle council, said 558 electric cars were sold in the first two months of 2021, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, but without counting the cars sold by Tesla as the company does not have its numbers published publicly.

Last year only 272 electric vehicles were sold in the same period.

“There aren’t enough zeros on the ABS numbers,” said Jafari. “It’s great that the numbers have gone up, but it’s still low. If we were a comparable nation to other developed countries around the world, we would be talking about 10,000-20,000 cars sold in the first two months of this year. “

Jafari said the lack of federal government policies and initiatives, such as those by the Victorian state government, to “tax” EV owners and require them to keep a paper log of their vehicle use will only dampen demand in the sector.

This is in stark contrast to the guidelines proposed elsewhere, including a plan by UK Labor’s shadow business secretary Ed Milliband to rapidly boost sales of EVs with interest-free loans.

“It’s pretty clear that in a massively backward nation the numbers have increased relatively, but still far too low overall,” said Jafarai.

“We have seen the government go in the wrong direction by introducing a very harmful and premature new tax in Victoria. The most sensible move in this area was a detrimental move. “

“We don’t have to guess why, when automotive companies have told us very clearly that it’s not that consumers don’t want to buy them, but because we can’t bring them in. Other countries have policies, and you don’t. ”

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