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Want a Tesla? Get in line

Tesla electric vehicles being transported on truck
You could be waiting a while to buy a new Tesla or other electric vehicle. (Source: Getty)

Australian motorists are clamouring to buy electric vehicles (EVs) but face delays of several months, “even years”, for their new cars to arrive.

People are waiting around eight to nine months for a Tesla and even longer for some models, with electric cars caught up in the same supply chain issues blowing out wait times for most new car models.

David Lye from Price My Car told Yahoo Finance the global shortage of computer chips continued to delay car manufacturing.

The delays are leading to wait times as long as 12 months for some popular models.

Lye said it was hard to know exactly how long the wait times were for many EV models because they made up a small - but growing - percentage of total vehicle sales, making it hard to collate meaningful data.

Manufacturers favouring other markets

Unfavourable policy settings may also be playing a role in Australia’s long EV wait times.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said because Australia didn’t have fuel-efficiency standards, car manufacturers were prioritising more attractive markets that did.

Australia is the only OECD country without fuel-efficiency standards. These are standards that enforce minimum fuel efficiency on new vehicles to reduce car emissions.

“Carmakers look at Australia and see strong demand, which is encouraging,” Jafari said. The latest report from the industry body showed Aussie EV sales tripled in the past year.

“But they also realise that every time they sell an EV in America or Europe, that will count toward meeting the fuel-efficiency standards of those jurisdictions. So naturally they prefer to sell EVs there, instead of here,” Jafari said.

Vyro co-founder Tessa Fields also called for vehicle-emissions standards to incentivise manufacturers to prioritise Australian sales.

“We’re at the beginning of an electric vehicle turf war every manufacturer is hellbent on winning,” she said.

She also said record-high petrol prices had contributed to a surge in demand for the low-emissions vehicles, with EVs typically cheaper to run than petrol cars.

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