Government incentives may not be the way to increase sales of electric vehicles, according to latest research.
Macquarie University has released findings of its joint-research into what drives consumers to purchase green cars according to a balance between environmental image, environmental concern and government incentives.
And the university says that environmental concern, not government incentives, is what will push buyers to go green.
Research conducted by business and economics associate Professor Chris Baumann and his international team found that respondents from the US, Japan, Germany and South Korea prioritised concerns about environmental issues above all else. It suggests that public awareness campaigns or increased research and development funding will be more effective than incentives.
Currently, Australia does not offer any form of incentive to purchase relatively expensive electric vehicles except in the ACT where stamp duty on pure electric vehicles does not apply. For the moment, manufacturers absorb costs where possible such as Tesla’s free Supercharger use that cuts the cost to re-energise.
The University cites Macquarie Bank research that found electric cars account for just 0.1 per cent of new cars sold in the Australian market, and it says the findings can be used to change how EVs are marketed in Australia.
“Based on our findings, automotive companies should re-evaluate their marketing strategies and make sure products address consumers’ environmental expectations,” said Professor Baumann.
“Increasing public awareness of the benefits of green cars or increased R&D incentives from government would be most effective in established markets."
Though the latest research undertaken by Bloomberg New Energy Finance states that electric vehicle uptake in Australia for 2017 increased by almost 70 per cent to account for 0.2 per cent of new car sales, or 2400 plug-in electric vehicles that does not figure mild-hybrid cars.
Still, the number is low and lags behind larger automotive markets in the world that average around 1.5 per cent.
However, the full research paper details the questionnaire sent to almost 2500 new car owners or almost 500 from five countries including China that was not listed in the statement.
Chinese respondents had a far higher association between wanting Government incentives and uptake of electric vehicles. China also accounts for the world's largest electric vehicle market with between three to four per cent of all sales being EV.
That figure is almost double the uptake of the other four markets which also all have government incentives to purchase electric vehicles, unlike Australia.
Subsidies in China for an EV with a range over 400km is almost $8000 for cars costing on average around $40,000.
Our limited selection of electric-vehicles cost almost twice as much as an equivalent-range vehicle in the US where subsidies reduce costs by around $10,000.
Other constraining factors for Australian EV buying include geographic differences and energy infrastructure. And while Baumann rightly states that electric vehicle uptake will help Australia achieve its 2030 climate change target, there’s no electric alternative yet to the proliferation of big diesel-powered cars such as the top-selling Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger utes which are practical workhorses on Australia’s widespread road network.
“We can learn from these international findings. It’s an opportunity for Australia to work towards its 2030 climate change target,” said Baumann.
“We can also apply the findings to increase the adoption of other green products like solar panels, waste water systems and geothermal heating and cooling systems in Australia. The combination of an increased uptake of green cars and other green products will help Australia meet its 2030 climate change target faster.”
Source : https://www.drive.com.au/motor-news/new-research-disputes-incentives-for-green-cars-118271