Australia has a lot of work to do if it wants the best EVs.
In the US, we have a choice between 43 electric models from 26 different manufacturers. The European Union offers 39 different electrics and hybrids, with plenty of options for range, space and power. However, Australians are limited to just 29 base models and none of them are the Ford Mustang Mach-E
"First world markets - where there are significant penalties for failing to meet emissions targets - will naturally be the first in line for zero emission vehicles," said a spokesperson for Volkswagen. "It is difficult to explain to parent companies that Australia continues to languish in Euro 5 with no intention of meeting Euro 6 until 2027… As the Volkswagen Group has frequently made clear, Australia is becoming an automotive third world."
Emission regulations there lag the rest of the world, the gasoline quality is low, there aren't many accessible charging stations, and the country is now trying to add a tax to EV drivers since they are not paying the fuel tax.
"The acceleration of the EV market is occurring," said Behyad Jafari, chief executive of the Australian Electric Vehicle Council. "We spend a lot of time here talking about how in future years the price of electric cars will fall. The reality is the price has fallen, they're just not being brought here, because we don't have the policy."
In 2019 there were 143 electrified vehicles launched worldwide. According to analysts at McKinsey, by 2022 that number should triple to 450 models. Australia will only get a fraction of these, as it has become a last chance for gas-powered vehicles hard to sell elsewhere.
"It's carrot and stick," Jafari says. "There is a huge list of policies you can run, but what it really comes down to are the consumer financial incentives and the CO2 standards on your light vehicle fleet. Without those two things, you don't get a market. Things like charging infrastructure - those things develop in your market as demand grows."
As enthusiasts, we love the sound and feel of mega V8s hauling down highway. And Australia has a bunch of these too. Not only does it still buy utes, (El Camino style cars with truck beds), its buyers also aren't scared of ponying up when something really special comes along. But as we've found here in the US, it's possible to have the best of both worlds. We get federal and state tax credits for buying EVs, and on the flip side we pay the gas guzzler tax for our Hellcats, AMGs and GT500s. Here's to hoping the Aussies can get their stuff together and move back into the automotive "first world."