Roy Morgan Research
June 20, 2023

Over half a million Australians plan to buy a new electric vehicle in the next four years

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 9258
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New data from Roy Morgan shows 548,000 Australians plan on buying an electric vehicle in the next four years – equal to 12.5% of all those intending to purchase a new vehicle in this period – a stunning increase of over 1,230% compared to four years ago.

Concerns about climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions have been present for decades. However, the attraction of electric vehicles only really started to take-off during 2019 as a greater range of electric vehicles, including more affordable models, came to market. In the year to March 2019 only 41,000 Australians intended to purchase an electric vehicle within the next four years. This figure increased by over 60% to 66,000 within one year and has increased rapidly ever since.

The driver of this increase is the leading electric vehicle maker, Tesla – with intention to purchase a Tesla soaring during the last few years. Five years ago, only 37,000 Australians intended to purchase a Tesla in the next four years, and this has now increased by almost 900% to 369,000 today.

As electric vehicles have become more familiar on our roads, and intention to purchase has rapidly increased, a gap has opened up in the market. Now far more people intend to purchase an electric vehicle (548,000) than a Tesla (369,000) – a gap of 179,000 intending to buy another make of electric vehicle.

In the year to March 2020 the two were virtually identical with 66,000 intending to purchase an electric vehicle compared to 60,000 intending to purchase a Tesla – a gap of only 6,000.

Australians intending to purchase an electric vehicle, including Tesla, in the next four years

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) April 2016 – March 2023. Average interviews per year n=56,214. Base: Australians aged 14+ intending to buy a new vehicle in the next four years, average interviews per year: n= 7,994. *The methodology change was forced by the onset of COVID-19 which meant interviewing previously conducted via face-to-face interviewing transitioned immediately to telephone and online interviewing due to the mandated pandemic restrictions.

Who is ‘Tesla man’?

Australia’s quintessential Tesla owner is a Sydney dwelling male in the top ‘AB’ socio-economic quintile with a high income of over $100,000 per year.

‘Tesla man’ is Australian-born and highly educated with a degree, or diploma, and working in a full-time professional or managerial occupation.

He’s a married man in his 50s, or early 60s, has a partner and children, and lives in a detached house – which he owns, and is more likely to vote for the ALP than any other party.

Our well-off ‘Tesla man’ is a big spender on discretionary items and is part of the ‘Leading Lifestyles’ Helix Personas community and when it comes to Values Segments equally likely to be within either the ‘Socially Aware’ or ‘Visible Achievement’ segments.

However, as Tesla and electric vehicles in general move into mainstream there have been steady increases across a diverse range of demographic groups in terms of who is planning to buy an electric vehicle in the next four years.

The latest figures show 61% of those planning to buy an electric vehicle are men (39% are women) – however this is a vast change from 2020 when the split was 76% men cf. 24% women.

Intention to buy an electric vehicle has more than doubled across all age groups – and more than tripled for all age groups aged 35+. Now 51% of intending electric vehicle buyers are aged 50+ (up 4% points since 2020). The fastest growth in intention to purchase has been for Australians aged 65+ increasing more than threefold (340%) in only two years.

In a time of rising interest rates, home ownership status is a key demographic to watch. The intention to purchase an electric vehicle is split evenly between homeowners (41%) and those paying off their home (39%) with a further 20% split between renters and those in other housing arrangements.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says the intention to purchase an electric vehicle has accelerated rapidly as brands like Tesla have become increasingly visible on our roads:

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“Electric vehicles have come a long way in a short time with the intention to buy electric vehicles in the next four years increasing by a stunning 1,232% compared to four years ago. In the year to March 2019 only 41,000 Australians said they intended to purchase an electric vehicle in the next four years – and this has now increased rapidly to well over half-a-million Australians today.

“The largest driver of this increase is the growing popularity of the Tesla brand. Tesla is synonymous with electric vehicles and has experienced a similar surge in interest as a wider variety of models have become available. Now 369,000 Australians say they intend to purchase a Tesla in the next four years compared to only 37,000 in the year to March 2018 – an increase of almost 900%.

“The surge in interest has led to a similar surge in sales. The official VFACTS sales data so far in 2023 shows Tesla is now the sixth highest selling brand in Australia behind five well-established Asian vehicle manufacturers – Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, and Kia. This is a sharp rise for Tesla which was only the 16th largest selling brand of car as recently as 2022.

“Tesla is clearly the dominant force in the electric vehicle market but as the intention to purchase data shows – there is an increasing gap opening up between those who want to buy an electric vehicle and those who intend to purchase a Tesla.

“This gap, which didn’t exist three years ago, shows that as other manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, BYD and MG launch competing electric vehicle brands there is an increasing market for these vehicles to tap into. Although Tesla is clearly the market leader, there are now around 180,000 Australians who want to buy an electric vehicle – but not a Tesla.

“Men have been the early adopters when it comes to electric vehicles but in the last two years the fastest growth for intention to purchase electric vehicles has come from women – up over 480%. The key age demographics remain those aged 35+ who comprise over three-quarters (79%) of electric vehicle intenders – but there is rapid growth across all age groups.

“To delve underneath the headline demographics and understand the psychographic and attitudinal drivers of this sentiment change requires a far more forensic analysis of the data than provided here.

“Roy Morgan’s extensive Single Source data allows for a ‘deep-dive’ into the motivations of Australians in the market for a new car – who they are, what they believe in, what media they consume, where they spend their money, and what factors will drive their decision to purchase one brand of new car over another.

“Contact Roy Morgan to learn more.”

For comments or more information about Roy Morgan’s consumer data please contact:

Roy Morgan Enquiries
Office: +61 (3) 9224 5309

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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