With things changing rapidly across the globe, Australia has some catching up to do… but it looks like the pendulum is now swinging toward an exciting electric future.

Who can forget former Prime Minister Scott Morrison blathering on about how an electric ute would be the ruination of the weekend, moaning that EVs wouldn’t be able to tow your boat. He was talking through his, er, hat and he probably knew it was nonsense even when he said it. For well over a decade, some of the most powerful vehicles in Australia, used in mining and construction, have been powered by electric motors. That nonsense certainly came back to bite Morrison in his recent election defeat.

F150 Lightning. Photo: Ford

Now, with a new government in power, the brakes would seem to be off Australia’s move away from fossil fuels, and towards an emissions-free future. State governments are also backing an electric future. The NSW government recently announced an extra $38m dollars in funding for an expanded charging network across the state – and that’s on top of the $$$ it has already allotted to EV uptake.

The NSW Government is investing almost half a billion dollars in tax cuts and incentives to drive uptake and reduce barriers for electric vehicle (EV) purchases over the next four years.


There’s also a shake-up in the zeitgeist; even Rupert Murdoch’s fossil-fuel loving newspaper The Australian now has space to spruik the advantages of EVs, claiming that “they’re simply better.”

Article in The Australian, July 1st 2022

There’s also the disadvantages of the current crop of diesel 4WDs. Toyota’s new flagship model, the Landcruiser 300 series, now has a lengthy waiting list of over a year, as well as a very hefty price tag. And if you want a 4WD right away, used wagons are increasingly hard to get, and sell for more than they cost when they were new

Australia is the world’s largest Lithium exporter… and prices are about to drop.

Given the current heat in the used-car market, buying a new diesel 4WD might look like a sensible investment, if you can find one. However, that doesn’t take into account the huge raft of changes that are just around the corner and which might very well blow that costly investment to smithereens. There are many factors involved, but all point toward a massive shift in the Australian 4WD market, a ‘Kodak moment’ , which will signal a switch from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to EVs. First and foremost of these will be the appearance of EV 4WDs which can perform as well, if not better than their diesel (and petrol) equivalents.

Petrol / Diesel 4WDsEV 4WDs
CostCurrently very expensiveCurrently very expensive – but prices are liable to drop, according to some experts, as these vehicles hit the mass market
AvailabilityLong waiting lists, especially for ToyotaNot yet available in Australia
Resale valueCurrently wildly over-priced, due to high demand, liable to drop sharply in the futureHigh and liable to stay high
Running costsHigh – and liable to get higher as government moves to favour EV take-upLow and liable to get even lower, as government policy favours EVs
Fuel costsHigh and liable to get even higher as fuel subsidies are removedLow
SustainabilityNot sustainable. Companies are moving toward ceasing the manufacture of ICE (diesel, in particular) vehicles and some countries like India are moving to ban their use in cities because of concerns about pollution The future is bright for EVs
Off-road capabilityExcellentExcellent
Range1,000 km+ depending on vehicle500km for top end EVs
Ability to power homes, local grid, campsiteNoneAbility to provide emergency power for homes, power for camping fridges, lighting, and all the accessories you could throw a stick at
A *very* rough comparison of the pros and cons of EVs and petrol/diesel 4WDs

The Rivian R1S looks like the first really serious EV contender as a proper off-road wagon and tow vehicle to reach Australia. It’ll tow 3.5 tonne, can get from 0-60 in just 3 seconds and has genuine off-road ability. CarsGuide has called the Rivian Australia’s new Ute King.

A enthusiastic Rivian review…

The Rivian is only one of a whole host of EV 4WDs hitting the US market. A much lower cost competitor is the behemoth Ford 150 Lightning, which is, sadly, not yet (if ever) available in Australia. Ford really make a big deal out the Lightning’s ability to provide back-up power for households (or camping of course) – and that could be a killer use case in the future, as EVs themselves become part of our electric power infrastructure. The govt-backed Race for 2030 research group sees EVs themselves as a critical part of a renewable energy dominated grid. EVs are more than just replacements for our ICE vehicles – they’re going to play a huge part in Australia’s energy future.

EVs are expected to become much more widespread over the next decade and may constitute the majority of light passenger vehicle sales in Australia by 2030 (>500,000 per year). EVs are likely to have much greater energy storage capacity than stand-alone batteries both per unit (40-90 kWh) and in aggregate. There is an urgent need to facilitate using this very large battery capacity to support a renewable energy dominated grid.


Similar Posts