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A SURVEY by the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) has revealed that more than half of Australian car buyers are prepared to consider buying an electric vehicle, a surprising number considering EV sales make up just 0.5 per cent of the market.

In an online survey of 500 new-car buyers and intending buyers by Zing!insights, 21 per cent said they were ‘very likely’ to consider buying an electric vehicle in the future and 32 per cent said they were ‘quite likely’ to consider buying an electric vehicle in the future.

However one-in-four (26 per cent) could not make up their minds while 10 per cent were ‘not very likely’ to consider buying an EV and 11 per cent said they were ‘not at all likely’ to consider buying an EV.

But the survey went on to reveal significant concerns by buyers with nearly 70 per cent citing lack of charging stations and infrastructure as a reason why they were unlikely to buy an EV in the future.

Lack of driving range and driving distance to recharge worries 55 per cent of those hesitant on EVs and the cost of the cars themselves concerned 49 per cent.

Thirty-eight per cent said that EVs were not suitable to their driving needs and 35 per cent said they did not have a need to change to electric.

Twenty-six per cent did not like EV designs.

Premium car buyers were much more likely to consider an EV (70 per cent) compared to mainstream brand buyers (51 per cent).

Men (58 per cent) were far more likely to buy an EV than women (48 per cent).

Young people, those less than 35 years old, were far more likely to consider an EV (68 per cent) than those 35-50 years old (53 per cent), those 50-64 (41 per cent) and those 65-plus (40 per cent).

In households, 59 per cent of those with families said they were ‘quite likely’ or ‘very likely’ to consider an EV while 42 per cent of empty nesters, and 49 per cent of SINKS (single income, no kids) and DINKS (dual income, no kids) said they were ‘quite likely’ or ‘very likely’ to consider an EV.

One interesting set of data from the survey was a very close correlation between consideration for EVs and hybrids. (See chart).

The ‘very likely’ and ‘quite likely’ to consider a hybrid were just a few percentage points apart as were those who were ‘neutral’ and ‘not very likely’ to consider a hybrid.

This is curious because unlike EVs which are attracting 0.5 per cent of sales right now, hybrids are getting a six per cent share of the market.

It is also worrying for those car importers who are counting on hybrid sales to meet their overall sales targets going forward, especially since the word is that hybrid production is being hit by the price of rare materials for the power electronics to the point where hybrids are becoming unprofitable to sell.

By John Mellor

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