Hybrid vehicle sales continue to increase in Australia

by Petrol Mum
Hybrid vehicle with flower

Despite the Covid-19 related lockdowns across much of Australia during August, the overall new vehicle sales for the year to date are still up by 27.2% compared to 2020 and are on track for 2021 to be close to or bettering the all-time best sales new car sales figures from 2019 according to VFACTS.

The Passenger Vehicle Market is up by 2,581 vehicle sales (17.5%) over the same month last year; the Sports Utility Market is up by 8,603 vehicle sales (26.6%); the Light Commercial Market is up by 8,002 vehicle sales (71.2%); and the Heavy Commercial Vehicle Market is up by 1,027 vehicle sales (39.3%) versus August 2020.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Chief Executive Tony Weber said that uncertainty around lockdowns meant manufacturers were having to remain agile in the ways they engage with customers.

“With access to showrooms limited, vehicle makers are working to engage customers in their homes and other places of isolation,” said Mr Weber.

Kia website on-line car shopping

In NSW many new car showrooms are open for ‘click and collect’ new car sales only meaning that car companies who already have a strong on-line shopping platform can capitalise on the current situation.

A short time ago I did an analysis of the on-line shopping tools offered by car companies in Australia and identified that the best site was Kia’s. A quick scan of the new car sale’s result for Kia shows they are up by 12% for the month compared to last year and 35.3% for the year. The next best sites according to my analysis were Skoda and Subaru and their sales are also up 33.7% and 57.5% respectively for the month of August compared to last year and 82.6% and 29.3% respectively compared to the results for 2020.

I rated Toyota’s website in the top five currently available for on-line car shopping and their sales are up 60.3% for the month compared to August last year and 24.6% for the year. This is 4% more than the overall yearly result for July 2021 as well. These results may have something to do with the strength of the websites of these companies?

Toyota was market leader in August with 24.6 per cent of overall sales. This was- followed by Mazda (9.4 per cent), and then Kia, Ford and Hyundai who all recorded around 6.2 per cent of market share. The Toyota Hilux was the highest selling model with 4,770 sold with the Ford Ranger and Toyota Corolla achieving second and third place.

Looking at the higher end of the market shows that Ferrari sales continue to below those seen in 2020 (down by 13.5%) while Lamborghini and McLaren are up by 32.9% and 31.1% respectively for the year to date. Aston Martin sales are up by 48.3% compared to 2020 with 7 of their 11 sales in August being their SUV, the DBX. Bentley is also up by 48.6% with 11 Bentayga SUVs sold out of 26 vehicles in total.

Volvo XC90

Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche all saw growth in sales with the electric Porsche Taycan still outselling their traditional sportscar, the 911, in 2021. Volvo have outshined their German rivals though with year-on-year growth to date of 45.2% and considering the quality of the Volvo vehicles I have driven I do not find this result to be surprising at all.

An analysis of the breakdown of sales by fuel type shows that electric vehicle sales are still account for just 0.4% (excludes Tesla sales, which are not reported to VFACTS) of all Passenger, SUV, Light Commercial vehicles sold in Australia and PHEVs represent only 0.3%. This is despite the fact that both the Federal and State governments continue to offer incentives and programs to increase their sales.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) recently committed $24.55 million to expand Australia’s fast charging network for electric vehicles. The funding will be distributed to five charging infrastructure companies – Evie Networks, Ampol, Engie, Chargefox, and Electric Highways Tasmania. The companies will build 127 fast-charging stations in NSW, 106 in Victoria, 86 in Queensland, 33 in WA, 29 is SA, 10 in Tasmania, nine in the ACT and three in the Northern Territory.

Meanwhile, New South Wales has topped the Electric Vehicle Council policy scorecard ratings for the first time with a rating of 9/10 thanks to the Government removing stamp duty on EVs and introducing $3,000 rebates for electric vehicles under a price cap, a $171 million for co-funding infrastructure, and 100% bus and government fleet targets for EVs.

Hybrid vehicles sales continue to increase though, with over 48,000 hybrid vehicles sold so far in 2021 giving hybrids a 6.9% of the market share of all Passenger, SUV, Light Commercial vehicles sold in Australia. This is a 0.2% increase on the overall percentage since June 2021 and 0.1% up on the overall percentage sales for 2020 (6.8%).

For many reasons hybrid-powered cars may actually be more sensible solution going forward for the personal transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I have undertaken an analysis of Daimler’s data for greenhouse gas emissions over the life cycle of two comparable vehicles. This shows that CO2 emissions for the all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQC SUV, using EU electricity mix, is 32.4 tonnes (see diagram below).

Compared to Daimler’s data for an equivalent sized hybrid SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLC 350 e 4MATIC using EU electricity mix, the amount CO2 produced over the life of this vehicle is 37.9 tonnes  (see diagram). Life Cycle Assessments are notoriously hard to compare ‘apples with apples’, but considering these two assessments have been undertaken by Daimler it could be assumed that the same inputs have been used.

The data shows the electric EQC has only 15% less CO2 emissions over the life-cycle of the vehicle compared to the hybrid equivalent GLC 350 e. Considering that hybrid vehicles are far more accessible already for people to purchase, the greater number of hybrid vehicles on the road could potentially make up this difference? Plus, hybrids have the added advantage of not needing charging infrastructure to be put in place.

Food for thought as we move forward towards the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 globally.

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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