New research commissioned by Ford Australia shows that most people support eco-friendly companies and want to see zero-emission transport adopted, findings that have prompted them to finally enter the local electric vehicle market with at at least five models by 2024.
Its announcement on Tuesday, although the first electric vehicle to hit the Australian market would be its zero-emission e-Transit delivery van, drew some surprise. I think many in the automotive media (this writer included) had assumed, or at least hoped, that the first entry would be an electric ute.
Ford’s Ranger is, after all, a favorite among automakers, and it’s the US automaker’s most popular model in Australia.
On top of that, the Ford F-150 Lightning promises a lot of game-changing things for craftsmen, with on-board power for tools, the ability to provide much needed backup power from its lithium-ion battery under the floor, and of course, that incredible instant torque that comes from an electric motor without the need to shift to multiple gears.
Granted, all of the marketing that came out of Ford when the F-150 was launched was aimed at attracting trades people, although the basic commercial version would not be available until 2024.
(E-Transit is also offered in the United States with onboard power, although Ford Australia has declined to confirm at this time whether the electric van will be offered with the same in the local Australian market.)
Nonetheless, the entry of Ford – one of Australia’s biggest car sellers – into the nascent local electric vehicle market with e-Transit, and indeed the fact that it is finally poised to bring electric vehicle models in Australia – is a pretty significant signal that local attitudes are finally changing.
Ford on Tuesday cited the increase in online shopping as the main reason it is leading with e-Transit.
YouGov’s research for Ford has shown that with the increase in parcel delivery, more Australians are saying they want to see cleaner solutions for commercial fleets.
While the closures may have reduced emissions from private transport, as Australia’s two largest cities were required to work from home if possible, the shift to online shopping may persist even though a path to more freedoms is now underway. seen.
And as Ford’s polls show, 71% of Australians are more supportive of companies focused on sustainability, and 27% will even choose to buy from one company that places more importance on climate issues than another. Of the 1,045 people surveyed, 63% said they wanted to see cleaner delivery fleets in operation.
This suggests that switching to clean transportation options will not only save businesses money in terms of fuel and maintenance costs, but could also prevent them from losing customers.
As Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC), notes, the change in consumer attitudes is nothing new.
“We have surveyed Australians for years and have consistently found that a majority are enthusiastic about electric vehicles. Most importantly, they want governments and businesses to take early action to move the market forward, ”Jafari noted in an email to The Driven.
“Speaking of delivery fleets across the company, there is a growing awareness that electric fleets are already the most economical choice to make as well as the clear environmental choice. “
One obstacle to overcome is the old chestnut tree of recharging infrastructure. Ford’s survey showed 71% believe there isn’t enough infrastructure yet to support demand for electric vehicles.
Jafari agrees. “There are a series of issues identified, such as the management of charging infrastructure in depots, logistics customers have been keen to resolve and are working closely with EVC to find out how they can most quickly switch their zero emission fleets, ”he said.
When the e-Transit launches – with a 68 kWh battery and a range of up to 317 km – in early 2022, it will join a very small number of electric vans available in the local market.
Its competitors, for now, are the Renault Kangoo ZE, which has a range of around 200 km, and the EC11 from EV Automotive.
The former costs about $ 55,000 to drive and costs about $ 20,000 more than its fossil fuel equivalents. The latter with a 73.6 kWh battery that offers up to 300 km of range, and is available for pre-order and is priced at $ 89,990 by car.
While long distance range is not necessarily a deciding factor for delivery and logistics, price is certainly a factor.
Ford has declined to confirm whether it will enter the market at an eligible price for the NSW and Victorian EV discounts (i.e. less than A $ 68,750 in NSW and A $ 68,740 in Victoria), or under the threshold to see the duty exempt stamp in NSW (less than A $ 78,000). The latter seems likely, however – in the US, e-Transit starts at US $ 44,990 (converted A $ 61,774).
Regardless, Jafari says that Ford’s taking action now shows that the logistics industry is poised to transform into an industry capable of helping to meet states’ net zero goals, if not “aspirations.” From the federal government.
“Ford’s entry into the market is a clear signal for the modern auto industry, the future is electric and it is urgent. If you’re not one of them today, don’t expect your customers to wait for you to catch up, ”he says.
Bridie Schmidt is the senior reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew the economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018 and has a keen interest in the role zero-emission transportation needs to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is a co-organizer of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and offers it for hire at evee.com.au.