Charged up

More Australians are turning to electric and hybrid vehicles.

A record number of Australians are turning their backs on petrol cars in favour of electric and hybrid vehicles, a Roy Morgan study has found.

According to the research, more than 1.3 million Australians were planning to buy a hybrid vehicle and 537,000 intended to buy an electric vehicle as their next car.

Compared to last year’s results, the figures had increased by 341,000 for hybrid vehicles and 125,000 for electric vehicles.

RACQ Transport Planning and Infrastructure Advisor Grace Willems said there had been an increase in demand for electric and hybrid vehicles.

“Looking at sales data from 2019 so far, we see hybrid sales outnumbering diesel sales in the passenger car market,” Ms Willems said.

“It’s really exciting as that’s the first time it has happened in Australia.

“Electric vehicles have also grown in terms of sales year-on-year but they still only account for a very small percentage of the overall fleet.

“This is mainly due to factors like cost, access to charging infrastructure and limited choice when it comes to electric vehicle models.”

Ms Willems said while it was encouraging to see motorists turning to petrol alternatives, it would be some time before they outnumbered petrol vehicles.

“It’s likely that hybrids will outnumber petrol cars before electric vehicles do,” she said.

“Looking in terms of how often we buy vehicles, the average age of a vehicle is roughly 10 years, so you need a few decades to turn over before all vehicle owners change cars, which could be a hybrid or electric vehicle.

“We’re probably looking at a minimum of 20 years before Australia can get a full electric or hybrid fleet.”

The Queensland government is leading the charge by adopting hydrogen-powered vehicles as a part of its vehicle fleet.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) would be integrated into QFleet as part of the $19 million Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019-2024.

“We’re ensuring Queensland is at the forefront of renewable hydrogen production in Australia,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Globally, the race is on for hydrogen to be a new way of transporting clean energy that can provide secure jobs, new industries and export earnings.”

Ms Willems said RACQ supported all low emission vehicles regardless of their fuel source, provided they supported Queensland motorists’ needs.

“Hydrogen is an exciting fuel type as refuelling is very similar to what motorists already use, so they won’t have to make a behaviour change as they would for an electric vehicle,” she said.

“Hydrogen is also a very dense energy source, meaning it doesn’t take much refuelling to get a long-distance out of your vehicle.”

Want to know more about electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles? Listen to our podcast Driving into the future with Dr Rebecca Michael.