Tesla sales split: Australian states leading the electric-car charge

Australia's Genex Power Tesla Queensland

A breakdown of electric-car sales state-by-state shows which parts of Australia are embracing plug-in and hybrid technology.

Tesla outsells the rest of the electric-car market in Australia combined – but remains a small fraction of our overall vehicle fleet – new registration data shows.

Last year 3430 new Tesla cars were registered in Australia compared to 3470 electric and plug-in hybrids (combined) reported as sold across all other automotive brands.

Electric cars other than Tesla accounted for about 1775 sales, while plug-in hybrids represented 1695 sales last year, meaning Tesla outsells other solely electric cars by almost two-to-one.




A national breakdown of Tesla and electric-car sales across Australia has also revealed which states are leading the charge when it comes to plug-in and hybrid vehicles.

The eastern states of NSW, Victoria and Queensland – the most populated regions in Australia – have the highest take-up of Tesla and other electric cars and hybrid vehicles.

Data compiled by the National Transport Commission – based on new vehicle registrations from calendar year 2020 – shows sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars increased by about 17 per cent compared to the prior year.

However, the 2020 figure of approximately 6900 new registrations for electric cars – which includes 3430 Tesla vehicles, about 1775 electric cars from other brands and about 1695 plug-in hybrids – still only represents a minuscule proportion of all vehicles on Australian roads.

Using historical registration data compiled over the past decade, the National Transport Commission estimated there were approximately 21,500 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles registered on Australian roads by the end of last year – including a cumulative total of about 9500 Tesla cars.

Given the likely continued sales growth of Tesla in Australia this year, the US electric vehicle specialist is expected to have comfortably eclipsed a cumulative total of 10,000 deliveries since it officially sold its first car here in 2014.




With 18.1 million vehicles on Australian roads according to the latest Census data from 2020, electric cars represent about 0.12 per cent of the nation’s total car park – even when including Tesla models.

As the technology is emerging, NSW, Victoria and Queensland lead the way when it comes to electric cars.

Including vehicles sold in prior years, NSW has a cumulative total of about 3400 Tesla cars listed as registered in the state, compared to 2800 in Victoria and  2000 in Queensland.

Tesla Australia

However, as this table above shows, the data includes vehicles that may have been written off in a crash – and some vehicles may have been counted twice when re-registered after vehicle owners move to another state.

While there is a lot of hype around electric cars, hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid remain the most popular choices of vehicles with electric assistance.

Unlike electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles, conventional hybrids do not need to be plugged in as they recharge on the move, when braking, coasting, or driving downhill.

Sales of hybrid cars almost doubled from 2019 to 2020, says the National Transport Commission, though its registration data varies slightly from the figures published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The National Transport Commission didn’t include registration data from the last 10 days of December 2020, which could partly explain the anomaly compared to the FCAI figures (which are provided voluntarily by the car industry and not necessarily checked against registration data).

The National Transport Commission reported 58,595 hybrid cars were registered in 2020 versus the figure of 60,417 provided by the FCAI.

Either way, it is apparent hybrid cars are by far the more popular choice when it comes to the adoption of new motor vehicles with some form of electric assistance – and to reduce fuel consumption.




Another chart (pictured above) analyses which types of car buyers are embracing across electric, plug-in, and hybrid options.

Data shows approximately 93 per cent of taxi cabs in Australia are hybrid vehicles.

By comparison, more than 20 per cent of vehicles purchased by state and federal government fleets are hybrids.

Hybrid vehicles accounted for more than 10 per cent of vehicles purchased by local governments, not-for-profit organisations, and diplomatic services.

Tesla Australia

Only about 6 per cent of all vehicles bought by private buyers were hybrid cars in Australia last year.

However, this figure can be misleading given private buyers accounted 49 per cent of all new vehicles reported as sold in Australia last year (449,400 of 916,900).

It means about 27,000 hybrid cars were bought by private buyers last year, making the technology a clear favourite among people who are paying out of their own pocket.

Nevertheless, the popularity – and choice – of electric cars is growing.

There were 37 different electric cars on sale in Australia last year (up from 33 the prior year), according to the National Transport Commission report.

And “green” cars (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles and other models with average emissions that don’t exceed 120 g/km) now account for 8.4 per cent of all new cars reported as sold, up from 5.7 per cent the prior year.

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