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Why Australian dealers don t want to sell electrical cars, Business Insider

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Why Australian dealers don’t want to sell electrical cars

A report came out in July last year that said Australia’s “do nothing” treatment of up-taking electrical cars could cost the local economy over $350 million in the next twenty years, on top of the one million tonnes of carbon emissions that will be added to the environment.

Last year in Australia, just under two thousand electrical cars were sold, with the majority of those going to commercial buyers. When you compare that to the 1.1 million fresh cars sold in Australia last year, it indeed paints the picture.

So what’s the issue? Well, there seems to be two: pricing and dealers.

As with every emerging technology, the initial entry cost is often high. The cheapest electrified car on the market in Australia right now is the Nissan Leaf, which retails for around the $40K mark. But aside from the electrical drive-train, everything else about the car was simply on par with vehicles worth half the price. It’s an utterly hard sell for the uneducated car buyer.

Your next bet is the BMW i3 which starts at $64K before on road costs. That’s damn expensive for a petite hatchback, even if it is one of the best cars of the last few years.

Lastly, we are left with the Tesla Model S. A car that has ultimately got a formula to sell in some half decent numbers.

It’s a luxury car that offers no compromises to other cars in its category. It’s quicker than a Mercedes-Benz AMG C63, yet is totally electrified and will end up costing you way less over time thanks to fuel and servicing savings.

Australia’s very first Tesla possessor, and founder of internet company Internode, Simon Hackett, told Business Insider he thinks the key to fixing the price problem is with government tax incentives.

“Luxury car tax disproportionately impacts EV costs due to the higher up front purchase price,” he said.

“Only the ACT offers stamp duty reduction for EV purchases and other states are lagging behind here and there are no federal tax incentives for EV ownership either.”

He might be on to something too. If you check out the situation in the USA, where electrical vehicle adoption is rising swift, federal and state governments are suggesting inbetween $US7K-10K worth of tax offset incentives. In fact, Australia is the only very first world country that does not suggest substantial incentives to offset the upfront purchase costs of electrified cars.

The tax incentives will likely pay off in spades too, with Hackett pointing out the likely saving to the health budget in Australia from diminished respiratory illness over time, which will be enormous. It is in fact air quality that drives much of the presence of zero emission vehicle ownership incentives in the USA and Europe now.

But then, even if someone does feel like pulling down the extra cash on electrical vehicles, the dealers don’t want to sell it to them.

Founder of Sydney based software startup Shiny Things, Mat Peterson, told Business Insider that one Nissan dealership even attempted to persuade him out of buying a Nissan Leaf.

“We arrived and had two staff sit us down and say we were making a mistake and we should look at their petrol cars. We declined and asked to take the LEAF out and after much to-ing and fro-ing they eventually retrieved it (and apologised that it may not have enough charge to do a test drive).

We got in, it gratefully had around 20km of charge and drove it out. The person taking us had no idea what it was, couldn’t reaction my elementary questions and when I glanced down at the odometer I realised why – it had less than 100km of driving on it after sitting at the dealership for three years.”

Hackett agreed, stating that even if head office wants to stir out EVs, the dealers don’t due to their low servicing costs compared to traditional petrol or diesel powered cars.

“The point here – and it is a yam-sized positive for EVs beyond their trivial ‘fueling’ cost is that the servicing costs for EVs are lil’. Most servicing expense and most mechanical failure in cars happens in the exceptionally sophisticated and expensive bit – the internal combustion engine.”

“An EV typically has around half a dozen moving parts in total inbetween the motor and the wheels – including the motor and the wheels. An internal combustion engine has thousands of them.

“It is effortless to see the disincentive, as a result, for a dealer used to profiting from the long term and often very expensive (and very profitable) servicing and engine repair business that goes with every car sale. The financial conflict of interest in suggesting an EV alternative is demonstrable.”

Traditionally, the most common problem that comes to most people’s minds is the infrastructure, and cars not being able to go the distance in such a large country like Australia.

This, for the most part, is rubbish. Each year, stats come out to display that 90% of the population commutes less than 100km a day, leaving geysers of left over electric current in your Tesla, BMW or Nissan.

Once you’re home, you ass-plug it in over night and you’re fine for the next day. Going on a road journey however? No worries, the likes of Tesla will suggest you free Supercharger stations along the way that will take it from 0-80% charge in half an hour.

“Infrastructure is not much of an issue in the real world as almost all charging happens in your own garage while you sleep,” said Hackett.

“Tesla have lead the way in solving any residual diminished convenience for interstate travel with their rapidly expanding global network of free, ultra rapid charging stations.”

Then of course, there’s the perception that electrified cars are basically just big RC cars you can sit in. See the movie below and you’ll soon be persuaded otherwise.

Related movie:


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