CleanTechnica reported recently that sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars have fallen off a cliff in France while sales of EVs have exploded. Comparing 2019 to 2018, sales of ICE vehicles are down a whopping 25%. Sales of EVs have quadrupled. Now there may be some reasons why EV sales are up so strongly. The new EU emissions rules kicked in on January 1 and manufacturers may have delayed the delivery of EVs toward the end of 2019, so they would occur in 2020 instead.
That would allow them to count toward the new low emissions rules, which could save the companies lots of money in potential fines. But, to be fair, any time a person chooses to drive an electric car and discovers how superior they are to conventional cars, that information gets spread among a larger and larger group of people and lowers their resistance to the idea of driving an electric car themselves.
Something similar is happening in Australia, although the numbers are quite a bit smaller. According to The Guardian, that country’s Electric Vehicle Council claims 6,718 fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were sold in 2019. That’s up from 2,216 in 2018, and while the total numbers are small, they represent a more than threefold increase year over year. That’s despite a total lack of incentives for electric cars or for EV charging infrastructure in the country. But here’s the interesting thing: Sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars fell 7.8% over the same period.
Beyhad Jafari, the head of the Electric Vehicle Council, tells The Guardian, “The good news is that the number of Australians buying EVs is surging despite a lack of government incentives or support. The bad news is that even with this strong growth, EVs still only represent 0.6% of sales. That compares poorly with 3.8% of sales in Europe and 4.7% of sales in China.” Clearly, Australia has a long way to go when it comes to joining the global EV revolution.
The current government of Australia, led by Scott Morrison, is actively hostile to electric cars. During the most recent election, he brazenly told Australians that EV advocates are coming for their beloved four-wheel-drive vehicles, echoing an equally ridiculous sentiment in the United States that liberals, if elected, will confiscate every gun in America. Both arguments supercharge atavistic emotions while being completely false.
Prior to the election, Scott Nargar, senior manager of government relations at Hyundai’s Australia office, took the unusual step of weighing in on Morrison’s bombastic and ridiculous claims, saying his company, which now sells the Kona Electric SUV in Australia, is planning on offering electric cars to Australians and will sell every one of them. “During the election, we hope the conversation goes away from the fear-mongering and misleading to actual facts,” he said.
In fact, in a poll conducted last spring by the Australia Institute, 50% of Australians said they would be in favor of half the cars sold in Australia being electric by 2025. Australia has stubbornly refused to enact emissions standards for automobiles, with the unfortunate results that global manufacturers dump their most polluting models on Australia because they can’t legally sell them anywhere else. The prime minister is perfectly okay with that, apparently.
The message is clear. In order to keep pace with the rest of the world, Australians need to kick Morrison and his fossil fuel soaked cronies to the curb and elect a real leader, one who will drive the country forward into the future rather than shackling it solidly to the past.