After First 9 Months of 2013, Holden Volt and Nissan LEAF Sales Total Only 207 in Australia

4 years ago by Mark Kane 21

Or Maybe Just Relax For a Bit First

Lazy EV sales

Holden Volt Gets A Charge

Holden Volt Gets A Charge

Australia is big country, but in terms of electric vehicle sales, Australia almost does not exist.

After the first 9 months of 2013, Nissan doubled its LEAF sales there compared to 2012, which sounds great, but when we see that the increase is from just 64 LEAFs (first 9 months of 2012) to 118, our enthusiasm disappears. In Australia, LEAFs starts from $39,990.

General Motors claims its Holden Volt sales are growing even faster – at an infinite pace – from 0 (first 9 months of 2012) to 89 units of Holden Volt.  The price of the Holden Volt is set at a reasonable $59,990 AUS (1 AUS$ = $1.07 USD).   Yes, that’s nearly $60,000.

In total, 207 electric vehicles were sold in Australia in the first 9 months of 2013.  That works out to 23 units a month.

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21 responses to "After First 9 Months of 2013, Holden Volt and Nissan LEAF Sales Total Only 207 in Australia"

  1. kdawg says:

    Population of Australia = 22.7 million
    Population of USA = 314 million
    ::Australia has 7.2% of the US population

    After 9 months, plug in sales in the US equaled 9,685 vehicles
    7.2% of that is 700 vehicles

    So yes, Australia is behind the US, 207 vs 700.

    Question: How much does an ICE car similar to the Volt cost in Australia? Basically what kind of premium are they paying for a plug-in car, and are there any government credits?

    1. Mark Kane says:

      9,685 vehicles after 9 months?

      1. kdawg says:

        Dec 2010 through Aug 2011 were the first 9 months of sales for the Leaf & Volt in the US.

        Technically the Leaf was on sale in Australia in June 2012, so it has been available for more than 9 months, but it was Dec 2012 when its price was dropped significantly and again in May of this year. (I don’t know why prices are so high in Australia).

    2. Bloggin says:

      For comparison, the ICE Focus SE hatch is $18,995 in AU and $18,625 in the US.

    3. alainl007 says:

      Hi there,

      After First 9 Months of 2013 USA 66.862 + (october 9.661) = YTD 76.523
      After First 9 Months of 2013 AUS 207

      Good road with EV.

  2. Matt says:

    Those prices in US$ or AUS$?

    1. Mark Kane says:


  3. Spec9 says:

    Protectionism and no incentives for EVs means poor sales. And with the Abbot government, I doubt things will get better for EVs. 🙁

  4. Robbie says:

    I’m an Australian and I live in Brisbane.

    Since the leaf and volt were released I was very interested in purchasing one of them. I have been very disappointed by the pricing. These are great cars but I just could not justify the price premium to actually buy one.

    For example last month I bought a Volkswagen Golf mark 7 comfort line with 7 speed dsg for $28990 AUD. The leaf would have cost $39990 drive away. The volt is so outrageously priced I could not even consider it seriously.

    People like to blame the government for this situation…I don’t, I blame the australian distributors of nissan and holden for giving themselves too much fat on the price and a sort of reluctance to explain to the benefits of these cars to consumers.

    Some government departments have purchased these cars (like Brisbane city council). I’m thinking that after their leases expire these cars might be affordable in the second hand market. A leaf would be a perfect second car.

    1. Jesse Gurr says:

      I’m curious, how much is gas there and how much is electricity? I wonder if the cost benefit isn’t there.

      1. Malcolm Scott says:


        Gas is about $1.50 ltr AUD, so about $6.40 US/gal

        Electricity price varies state by state as there are regulatory, structural, ownership, and anti-competitive issues involved. So it’s not easy to say exactly what electricity pricing is. However, generally many people pay about $0.20/MWh off peak and $0.33 for peak. Some have a single flat tariff (so no night time incentive to recharge your EV). Some have $1-$1.50/day connection charges. Whilst we might have some of the cheapest power generation costs in the world (average 5.5c), our distribution costs at 42% of retail price is killing us. Industry and large buyers are paying about $0.11-$0.16. Smelters have sweetheart deals with government and are terribly subsidised by taxpayers.

        Electricity is perceived by consumers to be expensive. Retail pricing has increased dramatically in recent years owing to overbuilding of distribution networks for demand that did not occur, perverse investment incentives, actual demand reduction, and cost of capital immediately post GFC for the $40b plus investment that occurred. About 12% of homes have solar PV and this is causing a death spiral for electricity companies and is likely to push up the pricing even more. Hence, as a matter of course car buyers probably don’t think that electricity is a low cost fuel for EVs, whereas it actually is.

        Gas (gasoline/petrol type) has been around the same price for many years as Australia has had an appreciating currency owing the currency wars of US and Japan printing money and the mining boom creating a distorted economy. So many people probably think that gas is relatively cheap. Fuel type is probably not a factor buying decisions.

        Australians as the worst carbon polluters in the G20 world are relatively unconcerned as a voting constituency about climate change, it’s affects and the causes. That we export 3x more carbon pollution in coal and gas exports makes us the most arrogant selfish plunders on the planet. The imperative to move to sustainable transportation systems is not in the daily narrative of the common person, even though we suffer terribly from increasingly frequent and severe bushfires, droughts, storms and floods.

        There are absolutely no incentives to re-engineer the economy to use EVs, and there are very few public charging stations.

        Today is the first day of parliament for the 44th Australian government. The first item of legislation being put forward is the repeal of the Clean Energy Act 2011. Fortunately this is unlikely to pass before Jul 2014, and only then if the government can achieve a majority in the upper house Senate.

        1. Miles says:

          +1000. Spot on Malcolm.

          We are doomed with this backwards thinking Abbott Government. God Help us all.

        2. Robbie says:

          Malcolm, the economy does not need to be re-engineered for evs to be successful. The price has to be right so that people like me can afford to put one in my garage.

          If you know your history you know that when government put incentives on products there is even more price gouging. The best way is to let the market decide when they are ready to buy cars that have some ev technology. It all does come down to cost.

          It’s a pity that evs are so expensive as I already have solar panels on my roof ready to power an ev…

          1. Leafboi says:

            If you say an EV would fit your driving needs them I’m unsure how you could have passed one up for a VW at only $10000 less. Simple math in my head says your VW costs $75 to fill at $1.5l for 1000kms, the LEAF would be some $25 in electricity for the same distance.

            Say you fill up once a fortnight as I don’t know your exact driving habits. $9750 is the cost of your fuel over 5 years. Vs $3250 for electricity, if you buy it from a retailer and not use solar power or any on the free charging locations around.

            So over 5 years this is leaving the LEAF some $4000 more costlier than your VW. If we divide that over the 5 years we come out with $800 per year most costlier than the VW. But once we add in service costs, witch if we are still considering 500kms driven per week would mean over 5 years the VW would cost around $3000 to service with current fixed price servicing where as the LEAF comes in at $2300.

            Now we are getting close to the same total overall figures for ownership of both cars. LEAF at $44550 vs VW at $41750

            An over all difference of $2800 in cost of ownership.

            But where the simple math really gets exciting, if like you said used solar to power the car for free that takes off the initial $3250 in electricity costs (let’s presume the solar panels have already paid for them selves in power cost savings), now the LEAF is costing some $450 less than the VW to own for 5 years. But if you foolishly decide to keep the car for 6 years, then the LEAF is the clear winner costing $1300 less in only electricity/petrol costs not counting the extra services the VW would require at this point.

            I can’t believe I wasted my time with this. I chose to drive electric just on a year ago now. I haven’t looked back and my wallet is all the better off for it.

  5. Malcolm Scott says:

    I see again commentary about a protectionism hypothesis for Australian car prices. However, imports from countries with free trade agreements have zero import tariffs (eg, USA and Thailand). Others 5% tariff. So a Japanese made Leaf will have a 5% tariff applied, and a US made Volt (and Tesla) will not.

    When the Tesla Model S arrives, it will have a luxury car tax as it cost over a certain threshold value (this tax will be at a reduced value as the Model S is a fuel efficient vehicle)

    Australia pricing by law is the drive away price (inclusive of all taxes (GST 10%), state rego, compulsory insurance, and delivery charges. This is quite different from the US MSRP.

    Cars sold on the Australian market need to comply with Australian Design Rules – no big deal as mostly they replicate those of other countries. However, there are some specifications that add to the price. For example, electronic stability control is mandatory.

    The Volt had some special engineering and compliance issues to overcome, which is why the Holden Volt does not have Mountain Mode. Only a small issue, but the cost amortised over small sales numbers must affect price.

    The Australia car/light truck market is just over 1 million vehicles. It’s very competitive market with more models sold than almost anywhere in the world. However, it suffers from not having the economic scale of the North American market and hence there are underlying cost differences.

  6. Chris says:

    As an American living here in Sydney last two years I see it as 3 reasons, cost, cost and again cost. All cars and pretty much everything is more expensive here in Australia than the states for a variety of reasons, yes wages are higher all things being equal but still OZ is expensive. Also for Americans Electricity here is in some places as much as 3 times what you would pay in the states negating some of the cost advantages of electric drive as gas is not 3 times but more like 40% more. Because of that high cost and government support solar is more popular here than the states. I jokingly call OZ the land of double. But don’t get me wrong I love the place and I’m a little worried as I hit the halfway point of my work permit this week!

    1. Martin T says:

      Agree, we still get ripped in OZ.
      I have a Holden Volt (Love what it does for me) and have solar panels on the house – it’s fun driving on sunshine – More Australian should try it 🙂 Yes it’s expensive but blame the distributors and all the useless middlemen we have locally.

      But guess what I don’t want a carbon tax in Australia …. why?
      It drives Australian manufacturing of shore to China = the worst polluters in the world.
      errr were all on one planet ?

      For Australians that are supposed to be tech savvy, they are either too conservative or don’t have faith in the current “Brands” of EV’s / willing to put their money on it.
      some Australians must be “cheap” – as some actually are buying Chinese made utes – that says it all sadly. Chinese citizens here laugh at these people ! Yes it’s official we are a bunch of tight asses and still over pay! LOL!

      Will be interesting to see when the BMW I3 will be released here and if the BMW fan boys will be lapping it up at some outrageous price – buy hey it has that fashion symbol – doesn’t it?
      While in Germany most higher executives – only see themselves in only a real large three pointed star and sneer at the BMW owners as to VW for them is like buying a Malaysian built proton for the poor people is the best comparison.
      Going by the recent lack of quality in VW’s, your hard earned Australian money is better spent on a Thailand built Toyota Corolla or a Hyundia Korean i30 – both durable and the least to hit the hip pocket over the cars lifetime.

      So to some it up yes we are ripped off (on all brands of transportation) and distribution of electronic goods (except computers as the Asian retailer brought in some welcome competition a few decades ago – still have to shop smart though).

      Yes us Australians put up with a lot – but it’s worth it as we don’t have here the US crazy gun laws. The imported US Bikers are slowly being dealt with and our financial system has weathered the GFC very well as our banks were a tad more ethical compared to the rest of worlds casino madness.

      It’s still a wonderful place to be down under for now especially the scenery & wildlife oh and the people.

      1. Chris says:

        Martin T

        My only major fear for the future of Australia is the crazy cost of property, selling property at ever increasing prices between people has historically never ended well.

        I agree on the carbon tax, makes no sense for a country of 22 million to saddle themselves with a disadvantage in the world economy to reduce carbon emissions by a tiny amount. Unless the biggest emitters get on board it just makes no sense.

        In my case I just figure I will buy my first electric when I live in the states again. I have test driven a volt and could see it working for me. I have even test driven a Tesla model S. I stopped at the South Florida store on a trip back to the states and asked if there was one I could sit in and get a picture taken of me. When they started telling me about the car I explained I currently lived in Sydney so could not buy one, the young guy talking to me said he had spent two years in Brisbane after finishing college, then said wouldn’t you rather take one for a drive? Minutes later I was blasting around in a P85! I figure the Australia connection is what afforded me that chance!

        1. Martin T says:


          Agree the house price thing will not end well… We pay Northern hemisphere prices for construction that is basically a plaster summer cottage construction wise by comparison and one day it’s going to pop.
          Sadly first home buyers are at an all time low (can’t get into the market)
          yet overseas investors from Asia are buying up properties through friends ? it does not compute.

          Excellent news of your Telsa drive ….”Envy” & yes for a pure EV they are the best by far….

      2. James T says:

        Hi Martin T your comments are all correct except that Australia exports more Carbon ie brown coal and Iron ore to China ( the worst polluters in the world?)to produce cheep steel for their infrastructure build and experts to USA etc. Our own carbon footprint is insignificant (as is the CARBON Tax) when compaired to the USA, China or any of developing countries we sell carbon to.
        Ps Austraila is the lucky country at other nations expense. We should be smart like the Asians and value add to exports ie 1 tone of Iron ore = $110 verses $4,000 for high quality Steel, wake up Australia especially the governments state and national

  7. Mark M says:

    Based on these figures, when the Model S starts selling next year it will out sell all other EVs in Oz. Al this despite the luxury car tax slug.