2019 Toyota RAV4
2019 Toyota RAV4

Surprise cars Aussies want to buy

There has been intense debate about electric cars in Australia. - but it appears the majority of the population hasn't been listening.

The latest report from Roy Morgan, based on more than 50,000 responses, reveals Australia's new car buying intentions. And it showed buyers are warming to green vehicles.

However, rather than fully electric cars, it's hybrids tweaking the public interest, with more than 10 per cent saying they were considering a petrol-electric combo for their next vehicle.

Intention to buy a fully electric car dropped to just 2.3 per cent of those surveyed.

Petrol-electric vehicles are much easier for Australian consumers to accept because they can travel long distances and can be topped up conventionally at service stations. They also use much less fuel - sometimes up to half the claimed figure of petrol equivalents.

Hybrid versions of the Toyota Corolla account for about 30 per cent of sales.
Hybrid versions of the Toyota Corolla account for about 30 per cent of sales.

Another positive is hybrid technology has been around for the better part of two decades - Toyota recently surpassed 100,000 hybrid sales locally - and has now become more affordable.

A hybrid version of Toyota's Corolla - the country's second best selling passenger car - costs just $1500 more than the petrol-only version.

This compares favourably to fully electric cars such as the Hyundai Kona Electric. The zero emissions version commands a premium of about $30,000 over the comparable petrol Kona.

Hybrids allow users to keep up their regular lifestyles without the worry of recharging.
Hybrids allow users to keep up their regular lifestyles without the worry of recharging.

The influx of hybrid models has also made the technology much more accessible thanks in large part to Toyota increasing its range of hybrids but also affordable brands such as Hyundai joining the party.

Numerous premium brands including BMW, Porsche and Volvo now sell plug-in hybrid versions that are capable of being driven on pure electric power for a short range.

However, BMW's local boss Vikram Pawah previously told News Corp Australia there is "no demand for electric vehicles in Australia".

Sales of the BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid are sluggish.
Sales of the BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid are sluggish.

He was referring to the BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid, which sold at the same price as the petrol-powered 5 Series but accounted for just one in 10 sales.

Despite this outlook, sales of hybrid vehicles has risen dramatically in the last 12 months according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries latest new car sales figures.

These figures show 6520 hybrids were sold in the first four months of 2019, representing a rise of 63 per cent compared to the same period last year.

These sales were achieved despite the overall new car market being down by 8 per cent.

And there is further good news for hybrid buyers with the recent introduction of the Toyota RAV4 hybrid, which the maker believes will make up at least 40 per cent of sales.

Over the next decade, many large car makers have committed to electrifying their entire ranges, either hybrid, plug-in or fully electric.

The growing interest unearthed in the Roy Morgan report isn't reflected in intending purchases - more than 60 per cent of respondents still plan to buy a petrol-only vehicle.

MORE: All the facts about electric cars in Australia.


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