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Disappointing Dip
Red EVs replace the grey Corolla gang. Photo Majella Waterworth


Disappointing Dip — July EV Update for Australia & New Zealand

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Despite the evidence in front of my own eyes — electric vehicles are everywhere on the roads — it appears that EV sales have dipped in Australia in the month of July to a disappointing 7% penetration of new vehicles sold. Let’s hope it is just due to the delivery cycle. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, they are holding steady at 27%.

From the New Zealand Electric Vehicle Database (EVDB), James tells us that for the first time, “More hybrids + plug-in hybrids + battery-electric were registered than petrol and diesel. That represents a massive shift in consumer sentiment. Just three and half years ago 90% of new car registrations were combustion-only.”

As expected, Tesla had the greatest number of EVs registered in July in NZ, followed closely by Kia. These were mostly Kia Niro EVs that were bought for fleets or tourism. New EV models continue to enter the NZ market as well, with initial registrations for the Volkswagen ID.4, Audi Q4 e-tron, Citroen e-C4, and BYD Dolphin recorded. Three Toyota bZ4X’s were registered ahead of the official launch next year. Come on, Toyota, we can’t do it without you.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) took 18% of market share, with 787 vehicles registered. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) took a further 9%, with 406 registered. That’s 27% penetration, similar to the UK. Mild hybrids, mainly fro Toyota, still claim 27% of the market (equal to BEVs and PHEVs combined). There are now approximately 83,500 plug-in vehicles on NZ roads out of a total fleet of almost 3 million (2.8%).

July’s top five were: Tesla Model Y, Kia Niro EV, VW ID.4, BYD Atto 3, Tesla Model 3. Quite a different lineup to what we usually get. Head over to EVDB for a deep dive and some very informative interactive charts.m

NZ imports many used vehicles. Over 75% of these are utes (light trucks), most of which are diesel. The market share of these combustion vehicles has remained unchanged (despite a pollution fee). This probably reflects the reality that there are very few electric utes globally and should change rapidly once appropriate products are available. It would be interesting to know how many LDV eT60’s have been sold. A Google search did not turn up any answers. The same ute was taken on an electric roadshow by Solar Citizens in Australia. 51 LDV eT60 have sold so far this year.  Just one in July.

Thank you to James at EVDB.

Now, over the ditch in Australia. For the first time this year, there were no Teslas on the auto market podium. Of the 96,859 new vehicle sales, only 7% were plug ins, mainly BEVs. This is down from the almost 10% in June. The Tesla Model Y could only manage a fourth place finish behind the models in #1, the Ford Ranger ute (4670 sales) and Toyota Hi Lux (4670 sales), and the MG ZS (3852 sales). Around 10% of these MG ZS vehicles are likely to be electric. It will be great when we see some Ford utes as BEVs — I’m looking forward to the F-150 Lightning making an appearance Down Under.

Tesla was the top-ranking EV brand, with 3330 Model Ys sold and 604 Model 3s for a total of 3934 vehicles. July saw a one-third drop in deliveries of the Model Y and two-thirds drop in deliveries of the Model 3. BYD delivered just over 1,000 cars, also one-third down in June deliveries. Obviously, logistics and timing play a role in this result. Relax, more ships are on the way.

When MG releases the breakdown of its sales, it is likely that we will see the MG ZS EV in fourth place on the EV score sheet, behind the two Teslas (#1 and #3) and the BYD (#2). To celebrate the BYD overtaking the Tesla Model 3 into second place, my neighbour and I organised a photo shoot in the local park — look closely and you can see her red BYD Atto 3 inching ahead of my Tesla Model 3.

Disappointing Dip

BYD Atto 3 beats Tesla Model 3 in Australian sales. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Ironically, we couldn’t do the second part of the photo shoot including her old grey Corolla (which she has kept for dump runs), as the battery was flat and she couldn’t get it out of the driveway. It hasn’t been used for two weeks. So, we just shot the two EVs in a spot where we have usually had three Corollas parked.

Disappointing Dip

Red EVs replace the grey Toyota Corolla gang. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

At #5 was the Polestar 2, with 306 sales. Surprises in the top ten included the Cupra Born (currently benefitting from very slick advertising on prime-time TV), with 86 sales, and the Kia Niro EV, with 72 sales.

As many EVs have been sold in the first half of 2023 in Australia as were sold in all of 2022. Most Australian EVs are battery electric, with very few PHEVs on the road. Out of the estimated 20 million cars on the road in Australia, approximately 100,000 are EVs. Fleet penetration sits at 0.5%. Interestingly, this was approximately the new car penetration 3 years ago. I expect that the time has already come in mature markets like Scandinavia and will soon come to all markets when we see reports on fleet penetration and the retirement of many of our faithful ICE steeds.

Still to come in Australia are the affordable new EVs from MG, BYD, and Great Wall Motor (GWM). At present, the GWM ORA Cat is only one available to test drive. My dealer contacts are telling me that there is some progress on sales. Lack of test drives has not slowed the MG. A friend who is shopping around for a second car visited the MG dealer last week and was told that they had already sold 70 cars amidst hundreds of enquiries and had stopped taking names of prospective customers. He hopes to drive one in about two weeks.

Disappointing dip

ORA Cat is soon to be delivered in Australia. Photo by David Waterworth | CleanTechnica.

Of course, the dip in new EV sales in Australia and the stable numbers from New Zealand have brought the naysayers out of the woodwork. You know, the ones who still think that EVs are just a niche market and we will all be back driving ICE cars as soon as we can. The fad is over, the craze has run its course, the yuppies have bought their driveway bling, EV sales will now fall off a cliff. Not likely! Just a disappointing dip.

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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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