Most Aussies intend to buy EVs but worry about charging

Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson |

Most want to switch from petrol to electric but there is concern about too few charging stations.
Most want to switch from petrol to electric but there is concern about too few charging stations.

More than two in three Australians intend to switch from petrol to electric vehicles, and almost one in three intend to buy one in the next five years. 

But a survey of more than 2000 Australians also revealed widespread concerns about the up-front cost of electric cars and whether the nation had enough charging stations.

Online research provider Pureprofile released the report on Thursday, days after three state governments revealed plans to invest in more electric vehicle infrastructure. 

The company’s Asia Pacific managing director Anna Meiler said consumers’ biggest motivations for buying electric cars were to save on fuel costs (56 per cent) and a desire to see long-term environmental improvements (49 per cent).

“The surge in consumer demand for sustainability is undeniable and the transportation sector is no exception,” she said. 

“The barriers to higher EV adoption are evident but the path to a sustainable future is within reach.”

The study found 77 per cent of Australians intended to buy an electric vehicle and 31 per cent planned to do so within two to five years.

Almost one in three people intending to buy a new car in the next 12 months said they would consider an electric car.

But the research also identified hurdles to widespread adoption of the transport technology, with 39 per cent of participants naming high purchase prices as a concern, followed by misgivings about whether Australia had enough vehicle charging stations (36 per cent).

Only one in four Australians thought governments had invested enough money in EV infrastructure and Ms Meiler said it should be a focus for planners. 

“Our research underscores the pressing need for substantial government investment in EV infrastructure, especially focusing on expanding charging station networks and promoting renewable energy sources,” she said.

Australia had almost 2400 public electric vehicle charging locations at the start of the year, according to the Electric Vehicle Council, although three states recently announced new investments in the infrastructure. 

The Queensland government announced plans to spend $42 million installing 2500 chargers, including 500 for public use.

The NSW government allocated $10 million to add EV chargers to more than 100 apartment buildings, and the WA government launched the first of six charging stations due to open by mid-2024.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari told a UNSW Business School podcast the nation was catching up to progress made overseas, but fuel-efficiency standards and simple infrastructure rules were needed to keep it on track. 

“Three years ago, I would have said our market was 10 times behind the rest of the world,” he said. 

“Today, I say we’re two times behind.”