Electric vehicle registrations in the ACT surge past 1000

James Coleman 5 August 2021 99
The Model 3

The Model 3, the entry-level Tesla. Photo: James Coleman.

“It’s cool – and nice to know that there are 1000 out there on Canberra roads.”

A Tesla Model 3 belonging to Peter McNeil made history last month as the 1,000th EV registered in the ACT.

So far, zero-emission vehicles account for 0.37 per cent of total vehicles in the territory this year and include cars powered by on-board batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. It’s still a tiny figure but one that is on the rise. Between 2019 and 2020 the number nearly doubled

“I didn’t want to buy another petrol car so I looked at all the EVs and decided on the Tesla,” Peter said.

Teslas make up nearly half of all the EVs in the ACT followed by the Nissan Leaf and the Hyundai Kona Electric and IONIQ Electric duo.

“Rebates and schemes certainly helped bring the cost down. Thirteen years ago when I bought my last car, I said to myself that it would be the last internal-combustion car I was going to buy because I thought electric cars would come in sooner. The Tesla came in around $70,000 which was a good $20K more than I wanted to pay but it’s worth it.”

The ACT Government has brought various incentives to the table over the years, hoping to win over those who are still using fossil fuel powered vehicles.

Karl and Peter

Karl and Peter proudly standing by their EVs. Photo: Supplied.

It started in June 2015 when buyers of EVs no longer had to pay stamp duty. Then in November 2018, the Government announced that all of the vehicles in their fleet going forward would be EVs. In March 2019, EVs were granted the ‘privilege’ of being able to drive along in the transit lane on Adelaide Avenue. Most recently, brand new EVs bought from May this year will receive free registration for two years.

A massive hail storm in January 2019 also forced many into the new car market and people who had been content with fossil fuel powered cars until that point began investigating in the growing EV options.


READ ALSO: More opting to lease EVs, but better incentives would drive uptake


Peter still has his old car and said that whenever he gets back in it for a drive, he truly realises just how far EVs have come.

“The Tesla is truly fantastic to drive. Certainly for anyone who likes to put their foot down, they would be absolutely hooked by the Tesla. If anything, it’s probably a little too fast, but it’s really smooth and really easy to drive. It’s fantastic in stop-start traffic and it’s really comfortable.”

“I chose this one because it has a sticker range of about 500 km. We need to get down to my parents’ place in south-western New South Wales and this car will easily do that, although we haven’t had a chance to do that yet. We’ve done some small trips out to Bungdendore and back and a few other places.”

Almost 10 years earlier, the honour of the first EV registered in the ACT belongs to Karl Goiser and his Mitsubishi i-MiEV, with the very appropriate number plate of “EV101”.

First electric vehicle registered

The first electric vehicle registered in the ACT was a 2011 Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Photo: Karl Gosier.

Karl describes it as “very unusual” in those early days to see another electric car.

“When I bought the Mitsubishi in September 2011, you couldn’t buy an electric car apart from this one and the Nissan Leaf. People were very much against them.”

Karl said he’s always been interested in “electrical stuff” and the idea of having a car that is propelled by an electric motor and batteries was a fascinating thing for him.

“Now, thank goodness, I see an EV nearly every time I get out and drive around Canberra. The incentives that the ACT Government are giving are absolutely brilliant and should be carried out across the whole of Australia. Burning fossil fuels is a very important thing to move away from.”

He admits the range he gets from the aging hatchback isn’t great.

“It’s old. It has the same battery technology as your laptop, and the battery wears out over time. But I only use it inside Canberra and it does the shopping and everything I need to do in the city. I plug it in when I get home and it’s fully charged in the morning.”

For other duties, he exchanged his petrol car last year for the Hyundai Kona Electric which offers a more useable 400 kilometre range.

“It makes me very sad to know that there are about 200 models of EV available worldwide and about 12 in Australia. Manufacturers are very reluctant to bring their cars in because they know that the federal Government doesn’t support them.”


What's Your Opinion?


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99 Responses to Electric vehicle registrations in the ACT surge past 1000
Loviatar Loviatar 5:09 pm 12 Aug 21

I’d consider an EV when they are comparable in size, space, longevity, purchase cost and servicing costs to petrol cars. At the moment, they’re still 10+ years out from that.

    DJA DJA 7:39 am 13 Aug 21

    From my little knowledge, the only thing that is not comparable from your list is “purchase cost” , although total cost of ownership over 5-10 years could be comparable. I have a colleague who is in the position where he could consider replacing a current vehicle with an EV, and his biggest concerns are range and availability of recharging points when on trips outside of the city (part of his use case).

Anu Edirisooriya Anu Edirisooriya 12:27 am 12 Aug 21

Could have gone to a better Tesla like the model S

Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:19 pm 11 Aug 21

Re the “high performance” aspect of Tesla EVs, this will mean that in most Australian states, “P” platers will not be able to legally drive them. No such ban in progressive Canberra though so, “look out”.

    GrumpyMark GrumpyMark 10:10 pm 11 Aug 21

    OMG Lock up your children, Canberra!!! We are about to be beset upon by a plague of young rabid greenie ‘P’ platers doing burnouts in their brand new Tesla EVs

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:54 am 12 Aug 21

    When you witness what happens when a car wraps around a tree at high speed and the young occupants are killed you will maybe will think twice about trivializing this matter.

Garry Inglebert Humperdink Galli Garry Inglebert Humperdink Galli 7:45 am 11 Aug 21

Unengaging and look like frogs haha so definitely not a sports car , but good for commuters

    Adam Craven Adam Craven 1:58 pm 11 Aug 21

    Garry ah yes the “definitely not a sports car” that won its class at pikes peak this year, that has a 0-100 time of 2.1 seconds, that was only 1.2 seconds slower over a quarter mile than a v10 formula 1 car.

    Timothy Bailey Timothy Bailey 6:54 pm 11 Aug 21

    Adam, the case for buying an EV has to be in terms of the ROI, if you sell your current petrol car. And NOT just in terms of beeing a 'good' person. In most cases the ROI case is terrible. It is in ours. Our car has just 76,000 km on it. So, there is no good ROI case for us to buy an EV. That situation would apply to more than half the car owning couples/families in the ACT. Given your environmental 'commitment'. How energy efficient is your home? It's on 24/7 unlike our cars. For that reason most folks homes generate a lot more CO2 than cars do. Developing a true breadth for your environmental commitment, that engages with ROI and other issues like houses would help you make cases, rather than being driven by mere political commitment. Viz. The home we live in, and since 1981 is energy efficient. It runs due East-West, it's on the Nth side of the road which allowed us to add a wide and deep deck which is shaded to 91% (2 X 70%) via shade-cloth underneath. It has r6.0 in the roof and the walls are r3.0, the floors are insulated by laminated flooring and foam over T&G timber. For Summer we use evaporative cooling.

    Steve Hampson Steve Hampson 12:02 am 12 Aug 21

    Garry Inglebert Humperdink Galli driven a Tesla? Basically the most fun and engaging car I’ve driven and I’ve driven a lot of great cars. If you want to feel like your mind and body are part of the car, buy a Tesla. A few reasons, the throttle response, the ultra quick and direct steering, the super low centre of gravity, the front/weight balance, the lack of slow, silly moving parts between your right foot and the power delivery like gearboxes and clutches, the fact that having no engine noise eliminates another barrier between the driver and the contact patch of the tyres. Fact is, Tesla’s should be banned for being too much fun, which is why they consistently score at the top of surveys about how happy the owners are with their cars. But keep on doubting, you are just missing out on a barrel of fun.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:52 pm 10 Aug 21

Are the Teslas being sold in Australia made in Berlin, Shanghai or California? And are they made from aluminium – the stuff they call congealed electricity?

Charles Godworth Charles Godworth 8:14 pm 10 Aug 21

They'll be bargain basement in 10 years time as the cost to fix after warranty is enormous and the cost to dispose is huge as the batteries are terrible for the environment.

    Amanda KS Amanda KS 10:23 pm 11 Aug 21

    So is the used oil from your car for how many years? What about the engine and many other parts. At least it's going in the right direction and not backwards. There are companies that recycle these batteries now.

    Charles Godworth Charles Godworth 8:20 am 12 Aug 21

    The used oil incinerates well in the firepit. Tesla engines dont

David Moss David Moss 7:00 pm 10 Aug 21

They call them zero emission but really they do all their emitting at a remote location, out of sight of the owner.

    Adele Craven Adele Craven 9:46 pm 10 Aug 21

    David Moss ICEV cars do their emitting from the other side of the world, across oceans, during shipping, trucking and pumping AND out of their tailpipe

    David Moss David Moss 6:32 am 11 Aug 21

    Adele Craven EVs do all that but hide the emissions they create in use from observers.

    Pete Macca Pete Macca 10:59 am 12 Aug 21

    David Moss They HAVE to burn COAL to make all the components that make up the cars. These cars are no different to a normal car. As NO power can be produced for electric cars without having to burn coal to make different bits for the car. Power does not come from air it has to be produced first, be from panels, wind turbines or hydro electric then that power is sent to the plug for the cars. Millions of dollars is spent to produce that power, so to say electric cars produce less pollution than a fuelled car is incorrect.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:31 am 10 Aug 21

I don’t think the government owns any vehicles. More likely, the EVs they drive are leased to them.

Mike Hinton Mike Hinton 7:59 am 10 Aug 21

Many of these car are owned by the government

Maya123 Maya123 5:49 pm 09 Aug 21

I wonder how many people who drive electric cars also have a petrol car, which even if not used often, is there for the long trips to say western NSW, to central Australia and beyond. Or for using when hundreds of kms need to be travelled in one day with no time for recharging. Or for driving off road. The electric car’s limitations doesn’t concern them, because there’s the back up car. The electric car being used for driving about town and short country trips. Some of those trips which could be done with pubic transport, walked or cycled.

For those of us with only one car, it needs to be able to do all those things. However, when at home there’s buses, bicycles and good old walking. I cycled to work.

    GrumpyMark GrumpyMark 9:15 am 10 Aug 21

    Maya123 … short answer is that even if they do have a petrol car for for the long trips and use thir EV for the bulk of their commuting, they probably replaced their second petrol car with an EV … so at least they’ve reduced their footprint by 50% … every bit helps 🙂

    Maya123 Maya123 10:45 am 10 Aug 21

    Yes, if I had a second car it would be electric. I just get annoyed by those people who say we should all get an electric car, when 1. it’s very expensive, 2. it won’t go everywhere, 3. on long trips it takes too long to charge, that is if there is somewhere to charge them, when I do wonder if they might still have a petrol car in the household that can be used when electric cars are impracticable. Many of us don’t have the luxury of a second car.
    My commuting was mostly by bike, and occasionally bus (when raining, with a two km walk on the work end).

    JS9 JS9 11:06 am 12 Aug 21

    Your comment Maya is why I think the Plug In Hybrids when available in decent numbers will take off. Can do all the around town running on electric, then have the fuel tank for the big trips interstate. The are the obvious transition mechanism until range issues are solved with EVs.

    But you are right – they remain very expensive per say EVs for what you get.

Angus Fung Angus Fung 5:16 pm 09 Aug 21

Cara Hu 1000 in ACT

tfx1 tfx1 3:19 pm 09 Aug 21

There is one little problem with the move to EVs as we are moving to a more unreliable grid with the increasing penetration of intermittent power sources. Supply should be targeted through prioritisation such as hospitals first and then decreasing priorities such as households afterwards and further down the priority list should be charging of EVs and possibly even requiring them to feed into the grid whatever power they have left. We still need some technological advances to ensure the appropriate information requirements and enforcement but I have no doubt that we are closer to this than most people expect.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 2:19 pm 09 Aug 21

Gold Medal effort for virtue signaling, Richard Shortt.

Richard Shortt Richard Shortt 12:19 pm 09 Aug 21

Hmm, some confusion here in the comments. Firstly, EVs are not marketed as a solution to all the world’s problems. They are a solution to CO2 emissions from road transport, our current biggest problem. Second, EV owners do not think of their vehicles as having no downsides, we know they do, but their downsides are currently well outweighed by the downsides of ICE vehicles. Thirdly, this tech will continue to improve snd evolve. The EVs of today are the equivalent of the model T Ford. Stay tuned! Finally, the planet has a problem that we humans have created. We need to fix it. Those making the change to EVs are actively applying themselves and their wallets to the issue. - not all are rich - what are you doing?

    Dave Blow Dave Blow 2:41 pm 09 Aug 21

    Richard Shortt What am I doing? Sorry, I know that wasn't really a question...more of a snide remark... but I can actually answer it. Bought a house within walking distance of work. Before that rode a bike. Don't even need to charge an EV ......with electricity generated in ways that make the exercise pointless. Good enough?

    Shane Stroud Shane Stroud 4:09 pm 09 Aug 21

    Dave Blow Yup. My home is powered by solar (with a Powerwall-2 Battery) and I commute 250km per week to and from work on an E-Bike which is recharged from my own electricity instead of from the grid.

    James Forge James Forge 8:32 pm 09 Aug 21

    LPG is quite clean but instead of supporting it the government has taxed and excised it that its no longer a viable fuel cost wise.

    Adele Craven Adele Craven 11:59 am 10 Aug 21

    Dave Blow Pointless to replace all of this with 100% renewable electricity in ACT? and by doing so keep more money in Australia? and make the air in Canberra cleaner?

Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 11:40 am 09 Aug 21

https://carbuzz.com/news/5-teslas-have-crashed-on-the-same-road-in-california

    Richard Shortt Richard Shortt 12:13 pm 09 Aug 21

    Jorge Gatica , wow! Cars crash? Who knew? Oh, wait,all of us. How many ICE crashes in same period?

    Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 12:24 pm 09 Aug 21

    Richard Shortt the difference is this one is not supposed to crash

    Richard Shortt Richard Shortt 12:27 pm 09 Aug 21

    Jorge Gatica , it’s a car, it’s got humans in it, crashes are to be expected. This thread is not about autonomous systems which are still infantile in their abilities. It’s about engine types. Don’t conflate the two things. They are different.

    Anu Edirisooriya Anu Edirisooriya 12:29 am 12 Aug 21

    Jorge Gatica Assume people taking eyes off the road as the model 3 doesn't have a dash or heads up display 😂

Cooby Pedy Cooby Pedy 10:30 am 09 Aug 21

only the really rich people can afford these vehicles. i would think they will be worth nothing after about 5 years and you then can throw them away in about 10 years.My 26 year old 80 series is going strong and and will probably see me out and probably be worth almost what i paid for it.

no expensive EV rubbish for me until the technology improves considerably

    Richard Shortt Richard Shortt 12:14 pm 09 Aug 21

    Cooby Pedy , I’m not rich, and I’ve got one. Good fortunes being able to afford fuel for your car in 5 years time. People think petrol prices are high now, the shock is yet to come…

    Cooby Pedy Cooby Pedy 12:23 pm 09 Aug 21

    Richard i dont think there will bee any problem with fuel we have to many trucks trains aero planes and construction equipment that will not be electrified for quite a long time so i wont have to worry

    Martin Incze Martin Incze 12:56 am 10 Aug 21

    Cooby Pedy If you wanted to know if the cost of a 5 year old Tesla would be worth “nothing” then you could have just checked prices of used Tesla’s.

    Answer is, you’re completely wrong 😂

    Ben Davis Ben Davis 6:39 pm 10 Aug 21

    Keep the 80 series. You can beat em for towing

    Steve Jones Steve Jones 2:19 am 11 Aug 21

    Richard Shortt no no no. Fuel companies will beg you to buy fuel. They will still be making it because jet airliners still have along way to come as do trains and ships. We have not got the infrastructure here to go full electric vehicles plus the government and its tax pricing will make it near on equal costing to a petrol vehicle.

    Steve Hampson Steve Hampson 11:51 pm 11 Aug 21

    Steve Jones no they will likely jack fuel excise for use in cars to make sure the better solution is also the cheaper one. If we don’t do that ourselves the rest of the world will force us too so might as well get with the program.

    Steve Jones Steve Jones 1:58 pm 12 Aug 21

    Steve Hampson big fuel company’s fuel the governments excise grants in many many ways. They have crushed electric vehicles for decades. These oil rich nations will have the money to over come these governments and still have a say in fossil fuels.

Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 7:35 pm 08 Aug 21

1000 in 10 years? Not exactly setting the world on fire yet.

    Adrian Abrook Devine RE Adrian Abrook Devine RE 7:47 pm 08 Aug 21

    10 years was the start. Trend lines always start at zero.

    It would be interesting to see of the 1,000, how big a percentage were in the last 2 or 3 years.

    Mark Oz Mark Oz 10:51 am 09 Aug 21

    Shane Jasprizza Well, Shane, if naysayers, like you had had there way in the 1880s, we would still be riding horses. Between 1888 and 1893 Karl Benz (reputedly the first to sell the new 'horseless carriage') sold 25 of his petrol-powered Motorwagens. That's an average of 5 per year world wide.

    Kevin Easton Kevin Easton 3:54 pm 09 Aug 21

    500 of those were added in 2021 though, and the year's not over yet...

Emanuel Tamas Emanuel Tamas 7:25 pm 08 Aug 21

Can the batteries be recycled ? In 10 years we're going to have an issue with disposal of batteries otherwise

    Adele Craven Adele Craven 7:44 pm 08 Aug 21

    Emanuel Tamas Batteries are repurposable as stationery storage, then will be recycled. Unlike petrol and diesel that are burnt and have to be replaced over and over.

    Clinton Wickson Clinton Wickson 8:55 pm 08 Aug 21

    Stationary storage otherwise known at land fill same as led filled solar panels there is no part of green in the push to go battery powered it’s all just about $$ like everything but tell a under 30 that they too busy trying to save us all from global warming 🙄🙄

    Darcy Ryan Darcy Ryan 8:55 pm 08 Aug 21

    Adele Craven they hope to recycle them to storage but as yet it’s not done commercially.

    Adele Craven Adele Craven 9:03 pm 08 Aug 21

    Clinton Wickson It's already cheaper to recycle than source new material. Renewables/electrification is moving quickly, but it is and always has been better than burning fuel.

    Woody Brenden Woody Brenden 9:14 am 09 Aug 21

    Emanuel Tamas 10 years you think? A lot of these new Tesla batteries use a different chemistry call Lithium Iron Phosphate. This chemistry uses no cobalt and is not prone to thermal runaway, making it very trustworthy. These battery packs can probably outlive the cars they power.

    Emanuel Tamas Emanuel Tamas 11:56 am 09 Aug 21

    Woody Brenden that would be good . We need some new battery technology

    Richard Shortt Richard Shortt 12:15 pm 09 Aug 21

    Darcy Ryan , stay tuned, innovative things humans.

Mark McCann Mark McCann 7:19 pm 08 Aug 21

1,000 electric cars in Canberra out of a possible 200,000. Still a long way to go for EV’s.

    Richard Shortt Richard Shortt 12:12 pm 09 Aug 21

    Mark McCann , still once upon a time your comment, printed in ink would have been ‘1000 new fangled noise machines out of a possible 10,000 horses. Still a long way to go’…

    Suzanne Tunks Suzanne Tunks 8:40 am 10 Aug 21

    Mark McCann you need a Tesla 😊

    Mark McCann Mark McCann 9:09 am 10 Aug 21

    Suzanne Tunks maybe an Audi E-Tron 🤔

    Suzanne Tunks Suzanne Tunks 9:10 am 10 Aug 21

    oh yes I saw a brand spanking new one yesterday! Very fancy!

    Mark McCann Mark McCann 9:16 am 10 Aug 21

    Suzanne Tunks the RS is around $220k so might be a while before I get one

    Suzanne Tunks Suzanne Tunks 12:13 pm 10 Aug 21

    coupla days mate!

Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:58 pm 08 Aug 21

” Manufacturers are very reluctant to bring their cars in because they know that the federal Government doesn’t support them.”

The last vehicle manufacturer in Australia only survived so long because of massive taxpayer subsidies. I don’t think the electorate is in the mood to go there again despite all the hype that the EV promoters are throwing at us.

It’s all about “selling the sizzle, not the steak”.

    GrumpyMark GrumpyMark 3:15 pm 09 Aug 21

    “Manufacturers are very reluctant to bring their cars in …”
    You even copied the sentence, CapitalRetro, and still couldn’t read it. The OP didn’t even mention manufacturing in Australia. He spoke in the context of their being 200 models of EV available (as in able to be purchased) worldwide and only 12 models are available in Australia.
    Maybe you should try vegan sausages – apparently they sizzle nicely.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:49 pm 09 Aug 21

    It mentioned manufacturers, not importers and distributors.

    GrumpyMark GrumpyMark 4:32 pm 09 Aug 21

    Manufacturers were mentioned in the context of availability of models worldwide (200) and in Australia (12) …. Clumsy wording, but there was no mention of manufacturers actually manufacturing, unless you know of 12 models which are being manufactured in Australia.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:52 pm 09 Aug 21

    In 2021 ACE EV Group are launching a range of Australian made light commercial electric vans and cars, The ACE Cargo, ACE Yewt and ACE Urban. … A new, disruptive eco-system for the future of personal and business transport in Australia.

    GrumpyMark GrumpyMark 8:10 pm 09 Aug 21

    Thank you, CapitalRetro, for confirming that none of the 12 ev’s currently available in Australia are not manufactured here

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