Hybrid vehicles that combine battery and fuel technology are proving increasingly popular in Australia with sales double that of more expensive electric-only cars. Sales figures released this week show that low-emissions cars are soaring in popularity, reports The Guardian.
Hybrid vehicle sale
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries data reveals more than 8,500 hybrid vehicles were sold in November – almost double the number of battery electric vehicles at 4,457.
Hybrid vehicles have become so popular in Australia they now account for one in every three cars sold by Toyota.
Experts say the trend may be a “halfway” measure in Australia’s transition to a more environmentally friendly fleet and it suggests electric vehicle policies are overdue.
Plug-in hybrid cars, which feature electric and fuel engines, represented a much smaller percentage of the market, selling just 459 vehicles during the month.
The chamber’s chief executive, Tony Weber, said on Tuesday that recent tax cuts on low-emission vehicles would boost sales but introducing fuel quality and efficiency standards could have a bigger impact in the coming months.
“Purchase incentives for zero and low-emission vehicles and increased fuel quality standards are both important levers in reducing CO2 emissions from Australia’s light vehicle fleet,” Weber said.
Australia’s top-selling car brand, Toyota, dominated the hybrid vehicle sales surge, with its cars making up 85% of all hybrids sold in Australia during November.
Hybrid Vs EV
A spokesperson said hybrid vehicle sales this year had outstripped 2021 sales with a month still to go.
“Hybrids are an important part of our electrification strategy,” he said.
“They now account for more than 30% of our annual sales in Australia and we have delivered more than 300,000 of these fuel-efficient vehicles since the first Prius was released in 2001.
“We remain absolutely committed to providing our customers with a range of affordable and practical options with technologies that support a more sustainable future, ensuring we leave no-one behind.”
The company sells nine hybrid vehicles in Australia, ranging from the smaller Yaris and Corolla Hatch to the larger RAV4 and Kluger.
Climate Council senior researcher Dr Carl Tidemann said hybrids were popular because they were widely available, cheaper to buy than battery electric cars and cheaper to run.
Tidemann said the move was a “double-edged sword” as it would keep petrol cars on the road in Australia for years to come.
“They will fill a gap because [electric vehicle] options are limited but they do lock in fuel use for longer,” he said.
“This is a trend that has happened because a policy vacuum has developed. It’s an outcome of EVs not being available rather than a positive middle ground. An EV would be better but they’re not nearly as affordable so it’s understandable that people are buying hybrids.”
Tidemann said electric vehicles would be more popular in Australia if governments had introduced emission targets across manufacturers’ fleets – as other countries had done “some time ago”.
The federal government is examining responses to its national electric vehicle strategy consultation paper which attracted more than 500 submissions at the end of October.
Recent policy changes have also cut fringe benefits tax on electric vehicles and seen $20.5m invested in discounted electric car loans by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
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Source: The Guardian