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Canberra Today 8°/13° | Tuesday, April 23, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Australian buyers charged a premium for electric cars

New data shows electric cars made in China are the most competitively priced in Australia.

By Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson in Brisbane

AUSTRALIAN motorists are paying up to 40 per cent more for electric vehicles than drivers in other countries, with the premium placed on some models worth close to $40,000.

But electric cars made in China are the most competitively priced and local car buyers are consistently charged less than New Zealanders for the technology.

The Australian Automobile Association has revealed the major discrepancies between the listed prices of electric cars in Australia compared to the UK, US, China, Japan, Norway and Germany on its new EV Index website on Monday.

The car prices, gathered by JATO Dynamics and converted into Australian currency, showed Norwegians paid less for electric vehicles than drivers in other parts of the world, with the nation sporting the cheapest prices for eight out of 13 battery electric vehicles in the survey.

Three of the cars were cheapest in China, while one was the least expensive in Japan.

But prices in Australia were as much as 40 per cent higher than those in China, and demanded as much as $38,016 more than in Norway in the case of the Porsche Taycan.

The most competitively priced electric vehicles in Australia are for cars from BYD, MG and Polestar, all of which are manufactured in China.

Australian Electric Vehicle Association national president Chris Jones said the lower prices for these firms were likely for geographical reasons and gave them a significant advantage in Australia’s emerging zero-emission car market.

“The Australian desire to buy a Chinese-made car is growing and the proximity probably explains the price benefits there for those vehicles,” he said.

But Mr Jones said local drivers were likely to see consistently higher prices for some electric vehicle brands as national policy had yet to make it mandatory for automakers to import low-emission vehicles.

Norway, for example, began introducing tax incentives for electric vehicles in 1990 and last year battery-powered cars made up 79 per cent of all new models sold.

“If you can get your vehicle to Norway, it’s a guaranteed sale,” Mr Jones said.

“Australia is not in that camp at the moment. It’s not the easiest place to sell an EV – not least because of our steering-wheel location, our geographical location and we also don’t have any of those sweet deals that make it appealing for manufacturers to sell here.”

Electric vehicles made up 6.8 per cent of all cars sold in Australia in February, which Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said showed there was an appetite among Australians for environmentally friendly vehicles.

The federal government is currently considering submissions to a National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which closed in October, with a response expected before May.

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