Take-up of pure electric vehicles may be slow in Australia but we’re embracing the idea of petrol-electric power in record numbers.
Excluding Tesla which does not publish sales figures, electric cars represented just 0.2 per cent of all new vehicles reported as sold in July 2020 (138 of 72,505 sales) as demand dropped by 40 per cent – in an overall market that was down by 12.8 per cent.
Despite the market decline, hybrid sales hit a record high in July, with more delivered last month than any other period in Australian automotive history. Hybrid sales accounted for a record high of 9.2 per cent of all vehicles sold in Australia last month.
More than 87 per cent – or more than four out of every five – Toyota RAV4s reported as sold last month were hybrid variants, as the car maker increased deliveries to fulfil a waiting list that stretched up to 10 months.
The sharp rise in hybrid sales helped pushed the proportion of petrol-electric technology to represent more than 40 per cent of Toyota's entire sales line-up in July 2020.
The July result alone was enough to push Toyota’s penetration of hybrid technology to 24 per cent – or almost one in every four vehicles – across its entire line-up for the first seven months of the year.
The raw numbers tell the story: Toyota has sold 27,320 hybrid cars so far this year. In 2019, Toyota sold 27,846 hybrids for the entire year and had only delivered 13,853 hybrids in the seven months to the end of July.
The July 2020 hybrid sales result of 6314 vehicles was an all-time record for Toyota in Australia. Indeed, Toyota hybrids accounted for 94.7 per cent of the 6665 hybrid vehicles sold across the entire market last month.
Meanwhile, a waiting list of three to six months remains for most Toyota RAV4 Hybrid orders; some customers are waiting even longer than this, depending on the model grade and options.
A hybrid version of the new generation Toyota Yaris is due in Australian showrooms later this month and a hybrid version of the Toyota Kluger seven-seat SUV will go on sale in the first half of 2021.
The increase in popularity of hybrid cars bucked a downward overall industry sales trend.
Electrified vehicles – including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full-electric – combined were up by 104.8 per cent from 3387 to 6935 examples reported as sold in July 2020, however this was largely driven by significant growth of the Toyota RAV4 hybrid.
Sales of purely electric cars fell by 40.3 per cent (138 reported as sold), compared to a 109.5 per cent increase in plug-in hybrid sales (132 reported as sold), and a 115 per cent increase in hybrid car sales (6665 reported as sold).