Watt shortage? Electric car wait times are over, thousands ready for immediate delivery

After years of long waiting lists and delivery delays, showrooms are now overstocked with cheap electric cars after Chinese automakers ramped up production.


The wait is over for some of Australia’s cheapest electric vehicles as Chinese automotive giants ramp up production and flood local showrooms with new models.

While demand for electric cars over the past few years has generally outstripped the limited supply – leading to lengthy queues and long delays – the industry has “flipped the switch” and now there is little to no wait time for some of the cheapest models on the market.

The shock twist comes as the NSW and Victorian Governments put an end to electric-car subsidises so they can more fairly divert taxpayer funds to public recharging points that will eventually benefit all electric-car users, not just those wealthy enough to afford a new vehicle today.

However, new-car buyers in NSW can still take advantage of the rebates and stamp duty exemptions on eligible electric vehicles if the contract is signed by 31 December 2023.

Exclusive research by Drive has found several Chinese brands such as MG, BYD and GWM Haval have recently received large shipments of electric cars ready for immediate delivery – and supply of these new models currently exceeds customer demand.

“The industry has caught up with the backlog of orders and now, for the first time, we’re finding ourselves with more electric cars than there are customers,” a major metropolitan dealer told Drive, speaking on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to comment publicly on behalf of the car brands he sells.

“It took car buyers forever to get used to the idea of long wait times (for new cars) during COVID, now it’s taking customers forever to get used to the idea they can take immediate delivery.”

Dealers canvassed by Drive estimated there were “thousands” of new electric cars – some of which are the latest models – in stock across Australia.

Official new-car sales data shows more than 57,000 electric vehicles have been reported as sold in Australia so far this year, representing 7.5 per cent of the total market.

Some electric cars are ready for immediate delivery – depending on customer preference for colours and specifications – while some wait times are “generally weeks not months”, according to dealer sources.

“Most dealers I know say they have electric cars coming out the wazoo, I know that’s the case for us,” said another leading dealer canvassed by Drive, who declined to outline exactly how many cars he had in stock but said it was equivalent to about three months’ worth of customer orders (about 100 cars).

“Our stock controllers tell us there are thousands of cars between the docks and dealers ready to go. There is no longer a wait for most electric cars at the more affordable end of the market.”

New models with low or no wait times according to research by Drive include:

  • MG 4 Excite 51 hatch: From $40,300 to $42,600 drive-away
  • GWM Ora Standard Range hatch: From $40,600 to $42,900 drive-away
  • BYD Atto 3 Standard Range SUV: From $48,700 to $52,000 drive-away
  • Drive-away prices vary according to registration fees and stamp duty in each state and territory, figures have been rounded.

In addition to these models, all three Chinese brands listed above – GWM (formerly known as Great Wall Motors), MG (owned by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, SAIC) and BYD (which stands for Build Your Dreams) have other, similarly-priced new electric-car models just around the corner.

The sudden surge in sales of Chinese electric cars from relatively new automotive brands in Australia has forced established badges such as Hyundai, Kia and Nissan to head upstream into more expensive territory with their electric-car pricing.

As a result, they too are now starting to become overstocked on some electric-car variants.

South Korean sister brands Hyundai and Kia have showroom stock of certain electric vehicles – though not their complete line-ups – while the Nissan Leaf has been overtaken by the competition with its high price and comparatively outdated technology.

Some industry analysts believe it won’t be long before discounts start to emerge on electric cars in Australia.

“Everyone who wanted one to start with now has an electric car,” a third major multi-franchise dealer told Drive.

“Now we’re in the second phase where demand has peaked for the time being, and there is a good supply of vehicles and plenty of choices for customers.”

In a statement, the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) confirmed long wait times are over for electric cars.

“There is no shortage of (electric cars) available for purchase here in Australia,” the AADA boss James Voortman said in a media statement.

“In many instances customers can walk into a dealership and drive out in a new (electric car) in a matter of days.

“In particular, (electric cars) at the more affordable end of the spectrum have strong levels of supply which is good news for customers looking to make the transition (from a petrol car).”

The industry executive who represents approximately 3500 new-car dealers across Australia added: “It is really important that we stop talking down the supply of (electric cars) in Australia because they are available for customers to purchase and take delivery soon.

“We have canvassed (new-car showrooms) across the country, and checked delivery timeframes for online distributors. The supply situation for (electric vehicles) is very healthy.

“We know there have been reports in the media recently of long wait times for customers who are looking to purchase (an electric car), however customers can be … assured there is plenty of stock.

“While there are some (models) that continue to have extended wait times, supply issues are being resolved quickly, allowing customers to get into their new (electric car) sooner.”

Meantime, the industry executive noted, there are still lengthy wait times for hybrid cars, petrol hatchbacks, and diesel utes and four-wheel-drives.

“Supply of some popular (petrol, diesel and hybrid) vehicles remains an issue, but the situation is improving,” Mr Voortman said.

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