Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Tesla #1 And #2 Even As EV Dip Deepens In Australia

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August sales data shows an increase in the number of motor vehicles sold in Australia, but a decrease in the number of electric vehicle sales. In the first six months of 2023, EVs managed a penetration rate of approximately 8% of new vehicles sold, with the Tesla Model Y leading the charge. So far this year, 55,000 plugins have sold in Australia. July’s sales of EVs was around 7% of the auto market’s overall sales, but August has dipped to 6.4% penetration. About 120,000 light vehicles were sold in August 2023 in the Australian market.

Tesla one and two
Tesla Y and Model 3 now #1 and #2 in Australia. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Australia’s auto market is recovering well from the supply shortages of the COVID years. “The Australian automotive sector continues to demonstrate its strength, with August recording unprecedented sales figures, reflecting both a high level of demand from Australians and improved supply of vehicles. Year-to-date sales have increased 9.9 per cent which is a better indicator of the underlying strength of the market,” Tony Weber, the head of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, said.

The Australian driving public is continuing its love affair with utes and SUVs. At the moment, there is little competition for utes, but I expect this to change in 2024, with BYD promising a PHEV ute and the Ford F-150 Lightning being primed for market here. Indeed, I recently received an email from Ausmv asking if I would like to place an expression of interest. 2023 has been the year of the electric SUV invasion, with the introduction of the BYD Atto 3, the Tesla Model Y, and the refreshed MG ZS EV. I expect 2024 to be the year of the electric ute.

Veda Prime tells me that 10 ships with Tesla cargos arrived in Australian ports in August. These cars should be delivered in September — hopefully a bumper month for EV sales. The Model 3s on these ships will be the last original 3s, as Veda tells me that August 27th marked the end of the original build dates. MG4 and Great Wall Motors ORA deliveries have already started and should increase. The BYD Dolphin is expected to be delivered in September also. The invasion of the affordable electric hatch has begun.

Tesla one and two
The GWM ORA back for its first service. Photo courtesy of Alan Ford.

The future does indeed look bright, with banks reporting a tripling of loans for EVs. “Commonwealth Bank asset finance general manager Chris Moldrich said data proved businesses were growing increasingly serious about replacing petrol and diesel fleets with hybrid and electric alternatives,” the Australian Associated Press writes.

“The figures revealed electric vehicle loans had soared by 235 per cent during the last financial year, he said, making them the ‘fastest growing vehicle type’ for the bank.

“‘There is an opportunity for businesses to play an outsize role in moving to electric transport, so a lot of what I’m seeing is businesses wanting to do their part,’ Mr Moldrich said.”

Out of the top 10 best-selling cars of all fuel types in August, five are utes.

  1. Toyota Hilux (5,762)
  2. Ford Ranger (5,760)
  3. Toyota RAV4 (3,317)
  4. Isuzu D-Max (3,281)
  5. MG ZS (3,193 — this figure includes some EVs)
  6. Toyota Landcruiser (2,743)
  7. Toyota Corolla (2,717)
  8. Tesla Model Y (2,314)
  9. Hyundai Tucson (2,084)
  10. Mitsubishi Outlander (2,030)

Of particular note is that the Tesla Model Y dropped from second to seventh and was even outsold by the Toyota Corolla — hang your head, Tesla! An electric ute would sell very well here. Someone please tell Toyota!

The top 20 best-selling EVs in August 2023 in Australia were:

  1. Tesla Model Y (2,314)
  2. Tesla Model 3 (995)
  3. BYD Atto3 (803)
  4. Volvo XC recharge (382)
  5. MG4 (296)
  6. Kia EV6 (243)
  7. Polestar (225)
  8. MG ZS EV (198)
  9. Mercedes EQA (153)
  10. Kia Niro (137)
  11. Mercedes EQB (127)
  12. Volvo C40 recharge (122)
  13. Cupra Born (116)
  14. Hyundai Ioniq 5 (105)
  15. GWM Ora (90)
  16. BMW iX (47)
  17. Hyundai Ioniq 6 (46)
  18. Mercedes EQE (30)
  19. Mercedes EQC (29)
  20. Porsche Taycan (22)

It is highly likely that the MG ZS EV would be up in the top 5 where it usually is, but the figures for the electric version are not yet available.

Tesla one and two
Ioniq 5 and 6 back at the dealers for service. Photo courtesy of Alan Ford.

Just outside the top 20 we find the luxury marques — Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche — with less than 20 of each. I’d like to give a shoutout to the beginnings of the triplet invasion — the MG4 at no. 5 in the first month of deliveries and the Great Wall Motors ORA just outside the top 10. There have been no deliveries of the BYD Dolphin, but I expect all three to be in the top 10 next month. Stay tuned.

The Polestar at #7 should get a boost from the recent 2-page ad in the local Murdoch-controlled Courier Mail. That would have cost a pretty penny. And 2 pages later, there’s a positive article about cars becoming more sustainable. As more and more EV makers advertise, there will be less and less FUD promulgated.

RACQ, Queensland’s premier automotive support organisation publishes car reviews. This month they featured “Six of the Best” [insert link] and reviewed the Tesla Y, the GWM ORA, the MG4, and the Dolphin and Atto 3 from BYD. All positive, no FUD. Times have changed. Australian readers who have time to spare might like to track the uptake of EVs in their own suburbs, using this handy tool.

Before we get the cry from the naysayers “there won’t be enough chargers,” I would like to point out that charging infrastructure is popping up everywhere. Even the Department of Main Roads is putting in chargers for EV drivers who need to renew the registration in person as I recently did. Tesla has opened some of its Superchargers to other brands and non-Tesla drivers are getting to experience the difference in quality of service.

Tesla one and two
Charge your car while waiting to renew your rego. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Meanwhile, the cost of petrol is soaring in the land down under and the prices of EVs are coming down.

Tesla one and two
Petrol cost per litre soars. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Which Car recently listed the 12 cheapest cars on the Australian market. All prices are listed in Australian dollars ($US 1 = $AU 1.57). Different states and territories have different incentives. These prices should be taken as indicative only.

  1. BYD Dolphin — from $38,890
  2. MG 4 — from $38,990
  3. GWM Ora — from $39,990
  4. MG ZS EV — from $47,990
  5. BYD Atto 3 — from $48,011
  6. Nissan Leaf — from $50,990
  7. Fiat 500e — from $52,500
  8. Tesla Model 3 — from $57,400
  9. Cupra Born — from $59,990
  10. Volvo EX30 — from $59,990
  11. Peugeot E-2008 — from $59,990
  12. Peugeot E-Partner — from $59,990

The costs come down more with various state incentives.

We should expect to see more EVs on Australian roads. 


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David Waterworth

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].

David Waterworth has 757 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth