How to quickly get more zero-emissions vehicles on Australia’s roads.

How to quickly get more zero-emissions vehicles on Australia’s roads.

The answer’s in the car park – and here’s why.

I’ll start with a few quick facts.  

Here’s what the International Energy Agency (IEA) had to say about electric vehicles (EVs) in its recent technology report titled Global EV Outlook 2022:

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) doubled in 2021 from the previous year to a new record of 6.6 million. Back in 2012, just 120 000 electric cars were sold worldwide. In 2021, more than that many are sold each week. Nearly 10% of global car sales were electric in 2021, four times the market share in 2019. This brought the total number of electric cars on the world’s roads to about 16.5 million, triple the amount in 2018. Global sales of electric cars have kept rising strongly in 2022, with 2 million sold in the first quarter, up 75% from the same period in 2021.

The short version: EVs from carmakers are coming at us at a fast-rising rate.

At least that’s the story globally. In Australia, the scoreboard’s a little different.

Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council said that local sales of plug-in electric vehicles made up 2% of national new-car sales in 2021, up from 0.78% in 2020. (Remember, that 2021 number was 10% for global new-vehicle sales, so Australia needs to catch up.)

But the full answer to achieve a cleaner road fleet in Australia won’t immediately be found by importing more zero-emissions / low-emissions new vehicles.

It will happen but it’ll take time.

It’s definitely the longer-term answer, but it’s not the full answer at the moment. And here’s why.

Australia’s annual new vehicle sales hovered near the 1.1 million mark before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. (Annual sales then dropped a bit owing to various industry disruptions, such as shipping issues and component shortages.)

But take a look at the number of cars currently on Australian roads and you’ll get a different view. The Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed there were 20.1 million cars registered in Australia as of January 31 in 2021 and more than a quarter of them were powered by diesel engines.

So the logical thing is to look at converting some of these cars into electric vehicles.

And this is what companies like Roev are targeting.

Roev is looking to sustainably remove millions of tons of CO2 emissions by accelerating transport electrification and renewable energy uptake. They argue that increasing EV availability remains the fastest path to meaningful climate change in Australia. So to prove their point, they’re working to convert some existing popular dual-cab utes (or pick-ups) into EVs for councils, fleets, businesses and tradies.

It’s a solid approach; dual-cab utes are almost all diesel-powered and they made up more than 18% of all new-vehicle sales last year. In fact, Australia’s biggest-selling new cars in 2021 were the Toyota HiLux and the Ford Ranger.

Roev’s approach is compelling. It’s not without technical and regulatory challenges but with the right plan and support it’s all achievable. As a secondary vehicle manufacturer for OEM new-vehicle importers we know it’s more than possible (we’re already well advanced with our own EV conversion work). We also know the scale of what Noah Wasmer and his team at Roev are taking on. Having so far put more than 200,000 new cars and 55,000 new engines through production, Premcar’s view is simple: with the right support they’ll definitely do it.

It’ll be the EV fast-start Australia needs right now.  

Bernie Quinn – Engineering Director, Premcar Pty Ltd


About Premcar – Premcar Pty Ltd is a leading Australian vehicle engineering business that specialises in the automotive, defence and aerospace industries. For more than 25 years, global car-makers have made Premcar their go-to partner for the complete design, engineering and manufacture of niche-model new cars, full-scale new-vehicle development programs, and electric vehicle (EV) conversions and manufacturing. As the name behind more than 200,000 new cars and 55,000 new-vehicle engines, Premcar’s body of work is extensive and has delivered technical and sales success for major car brands from Europe, the USA, Japan, China and Australia. Visit


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