Electric cars crash

Globally, SUVs are  swamping car sales and here’s the point: as fast as governments bribe or wrangle people into low-emission electrics, the popular shift to SUVs more than cancels the emissions cuts. In the forced march of folly towards net zero emissions, electrics are as much a lost cause as windmills.

30 November 2019

As a senior investigative reporter, I can handle a notebook, a pen and my spaniel Natasha’s leash in each hand. She towed me, thus equipped, up and down Ascot Vale while I counted sports utility vehicles (SUVs) versus common low-slung cars. SUVs are big and boxy with high rooflines and heaps of ground clearance and seating. Their doors swing and ding cars parked alongside. They guzzle gas and spew emissions. Their owners look down on us, like mounted knights among peasantry.

I live in Bill Shorten’s left-green (61 per cent) Victorian electorate of Maribyrnong. Surely here they drive greenie cars? Nope. Parked along my next-door Warrick Street last Sunday eve: SUVs, 31. Cars, 30. Utes, vans, etc., 4.

[Shorten led the Labor Party to defeat in May’s “unloseable” climate election].

Bill has bought a $3m abode in the big end of the Travancore pocket next door. Natasha and I surveyed Travancore’s Baroda, Cashmere, Mangalore and Madura streets. We found less SUV penetration there, 31 SUVs vs 58 cars. Still, that’s 35 per cent SUVs. And all up, we found but one hybrid. SUVs are the wave of the future. Electrics suck.

Safeways and the school carpark are the SUV’s native habitat. Gravel? What gravel? To show off you can now buy a Rolls Royce Cullinan SUV, about $600,000. Or a 650HP Lamborghini Urus SUV – but mind the lambswool carpet.

Bill Shorten in April campaigned for 50 per cent of new car sales to be electric by 2030, a promising candidate’s car too far. Bill is doubtless driving an electric himself. It must be awkward as the only public charging station for miles is in the bowels of an Aldi car park across car-clogged Moonee Ponds Junction. I checked it: 14 Tesla-only chargers, and two for all other makes. The place was bright but sterile, like an unused operating theatre. Are there even 14 Teslas in this neck of the woods?

Tony Abbott’s climate-friendly nemesis Zali Steggall still circles Warringah in her hulking SUV, a 4WD Nissan PathFinder Ti. During the election the barrister vowed to trade it for a clean electric. But as an Independent struggling on $200,000+, she wants a government subsidy first, saying, ‘I, like every other Australian, have budget pressures, mortgage pressures.’

The big picture is that our car market is plunging, down 7 per cent in September year on year. Car sales dropped 18 per cent while SUVs rose 1 per cent. Fancy that. SUVs outsold cars 42,000 to 25,000 and outsold hybrids and electrics by seventeen to one. Even top-end Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs were snapped up at 32 per day, price $88-136,000.

Globally, SUVs are likewise swamping car sales and here’s the point: as fast as governments bribe or wrangle people into low-emission electrics, the popular shift to SUVs more than cancels the emissions cuts. In the forced march of folly towards net zero emissions, electrics are as much a lost cause as windmills.


Electrics and hybrid sales worldwide are collapsing, led by a 34 per cent year on year downturn in September in their biggest market, China. Plug-in hybrid sales there were also smashed by 27 per cent for the quarter. Buyers are spooked by official cuts in subsidies and concerned about the cheap popular models’ short range per charge. A Macquarie market note suggests only 8 per cent global growth of electrics this year after three years of 50 per cent increases. The demand for electrics is ‘no longer bullet-proof’, it said. PriceWaterhouseCoopers, quoted in German reports, put global electrics sales in the September quarter at only 322,000, down 3 per cent year on year, and plug-in hybrids down 24 per cent. The costly electrics quest defies sense. The International Energy Agency projects that SUVs by 2040 will be canceling out the fossil-fuel savings from 150 million electric cars. This is despite all the enforced use of electrics, subsidies and grid disruption.

Petrol/diesel car sales globally have fallen slightly for two years, as if the car craze has peaked. Greenies love that because cars consume a quarter of world oil output. But within this vast auto market, fuel-hungry SUVs are displacing cars – SUV numbers have jumped from 35m to 200m in a decade. Market share doubled from 20 to 40 per cent. Of the decade’s increase in world car sales, SUVs have grabbed 60 per cent of it. Half of US car sales are SUVs, and a third of Europe’s. SUV sales are thriving in China, India and even Africa. The CO2 emissions impact from these SUVs is startling. They’re the second-largest contributor to emissions growth since 2010, behind power generation but ahead of heavy industry (iron and steel, cement, aluminium, etc.), trucks and aviation.

Oh-so-woke California illustrates the greenies’ predicament. It was supposed to cut emissions 40 per cent by 2030 on 1990 levels. Thanks largely to SUV growth, the target won’t be met till 2061, three decades late. To meet the zero-net emission target by 2050, overall annual emission cuts would have to be quadrupled, not easy when their cars are emitting more CO2 than all the state’s power generators, livestock and oil refineries combined. Potential electrics buyers also twig that the grid blackouts during fire weather could leave them and their clean green car smouldering with frustration, or literally.

Norway is touted as the electric car’s success story: 60 per cent of new car sales. Sure, citizens can be persuaded by a government with a truncheon in one hand and a bag of bribes in the other. For example, I’ve bought a little Hyundai i30 (Australia’s most popular car) for $23,000. Price in Norway, after special surcharges, at least $A54,000. Petrol cars there face a multitude of tolls and bans while electrics get the green carpet. Moreover, Norwegian electricity is about the world’s cheapest (unlike South Australia’s, about the world’s dearest). A raft of other governments in Europe is also crippling the use of petrol/diesel cars to force buyers to electrics.

Locally, the NRMA which is funded by petrol-diesel car owners wants these very cars green-banned in NSW as early as 2025. With friends like these… Local auto consultants ABMARC have actually calculated that because so much Australian electricity is coal-generated, electric cars (unlike hybrids) in most states emit more CO2 than your petrol model.

Greenies have a solution to the SUV’s popularity – ban them or make them all-electric. ‘It’s time to do it,’ says US green group Green & Growing. But the greens’ yarns are unravelling. This year has also seen a collapse globally in onshore wind turbine installations and solar. A few federal ministers are starting to call out the madness. Will Mr Morrison listen? Or at least, do some arithmetic?


  1. Looks like the German car giants are going to lose their shirts on their massive electric bet. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Apply too much force and you get voted out.


  2. Fear of Global Warming is the only tool available to controlling the number of cars in the world and control the masses. What will happen when this scam is outed I wonder ?


  3. There are many reasons why SUVs and 4x4s are so popular. It’s not just the ego boost from driving around in a big, brash vehicle, looking down one’s nose at other car drivers. There are far more practical reasons for choosing a big, heavy, four wheel drive vehicle with a high seating position. Much better visibility for a start. Space. Bigger wheels, more robust suspension means you don’t have to fork out hundreds of pounds in garage repair bills every time you hit a pothole. Heavier vehicle, higher seating position means overall safer in a crash. Four wheel drive is invaluable if you live rural and have to cope with roads thick with mud from tractors or pull over onto soft verges along narrow lanes, even use by-ways. An electric powered sewing machine on wheels just does not have those practical advantages. Great for short hops around town but that’s about it.

    Having said all that, global warming zealots should start demanding that all kids are driven to school, not in gas-guzzling Chelsea Tractors, but in electric cars, to reduce pollution at the school gates and save the planet. Then we’ll see how popular EVs really are.


  4. According to this article, 40% of new car sales are now SUvs, up from 35% a year ago.


    It says prices have come down, and safety is also a factor.

    And electric cars account for about 2%


    Anyway, it just shows how concerned people really are about climate change!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. SUVs are in many ways a greenie own goal. Their popularity stems from the fact the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations were less demanding for light commercial vehicles, ie vans and pickups, than for passenger cars so manufacturer started to game the system by producing passenger-carrying SUVs which fell in the light commercial vehicle CAFE category. SUVs then became much more popular with manufacturers when it was realised the individual models of these vehicles were acceptable across almost all markets, which reduced the need to produce multiple models to match individual markets.


  6. @Tony – And don’t forget this old report from Nov, 2018 – https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/105206/fleet-owned-plug-in-hybrids-may-never-have-been-charged

    “Official figures indicate some of the more common PHEVs on the market should return around 140mpg. And while drivers who regularly charge up their PHEVs’ batteries are actually likely to see a figure of around half that in the real world, The Miles Consultancy claims many drivers did not even bother unwrapping their cars’ charging cables from their cellophane packaging.

    Before the government abolished the Plug-in Car Grant for PHEVs, buyers could save £2,500 off the list price of a new plug-in hybrid, while those who bought a PHEV before March 2016 could get a £5,000 discount. Around 70 per cent of PHEVs purchased so far in 2018 were said to have gone to company car fleets.”

    people always find ways to get round/rig the system if it’s for “saving the planet” & some free Gov Money (taxpayers that is) is available.


  7. Has anyone done any studies on electric cars and unintended consequences? I’m thinking primarily of their silence and fast acceleration, which is going to kill numerous pedestrians used to gauging their roadcrossing habits by distance and noise. But there’s dozens of other issues. Are social psychologists studying issues like patience of busy drivers at charging points? Who hasn’t fumed when the person in front at the petrol pump takes three minutes to fill a tank?

    And then there’s the question of car prices. Are new car sales plunging because people have a vague feeling that an affordable electric version will be available next year? And will your present car become worthless as the date of all-electric approaches, or on the contrary soar in value because it’s no longer being manufactured? And no-one’s mentioned the Tesla and it’s curious habit of bursting into flames and melting. And then bursting into flames again when it’s towed away.


  8. Electric vehicles are only truly ‘green’ when you consider two factors. One – where the electricity comes from to charge them. Two – a forensic level of carbon offset and toxic substance analysis on the manufacturing process of these vehicles (which can yield some surprising results). Another factor is the charging infrastructure. We’ve already seen the emergence of massive ‘Tesla’ queues in California, due to the absence of an adequate number of charging points. Then – there is the ‘carbon footprint’ in making hundreds of thousands of car charging points availability in this country – which is the where the green zealots start fudging and massaging their analysis because deep down – they know this is a ridiculous technology and doomed to failure (like windmills). The answer is fuel cells. You can convert a great many existing vehicles on the road from current fossil fuel usage over to fuel cells. The filling stations can easily (and much more cheaply) be converted for such a purpose. However – the green zealots haven’t touched on discussing this alternative in the media? I wonder why? Is it because most of their support (and hence funding) will come (directly or indirectly) from the motor vehicle manifacturers of EV’s and the fossil fuel boys who will be looking to make a big investment in EV charging and support infrastructure? These green zealots aren’t supporting the interests of ordinary people. They are mainly self serving people who just want power (and with it – control of the global purse strings).


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