The gas station attendant knows immediately at which pump we are standing. "Is that the new Ford Everest?" We affirm and add "the one with the V6 diesel". "Great car" is the brief verdict of the Australian behind the cash register. On the way back to the car, a clear picture emerges: a Ford Ranger is parked at one pump, a Skoda at another. Australia is and will always be a country of pickups and SUVs. The rustic vehicles also dominate the motorways and country roads on the way to Melbourne.
A look at the sales figures for 2022 Down Under published by the "Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries" confirms this. Of the more than one million vehicles sold (1,081,429 units), 76.8 percent were SUVs and light commercial vehicles. The bestseller for the seventh year in a row was the Toyota Hilux pick-up, of which 64,391 were delivered. In general, the Australian car market is firmly in the hands of the Japanese car manufacturer. Toyota is number one with 231,050 vehicles, followed by Mazda (95,718) and Kia (78,330).
What about electric vehicles? A look at the drive types of the vehicles sold in 2022 is sobering for Stromer fans: 361,366 were diesel, 551,556 petrol, only 33,410 BEVs, 81,786 HEVs and 5,937 PHEVs. The charging infrastructure is correspondingly thin. The Australian "Electric Vehicle Council" estimates the number of charging points at 3,600 spread over 2,100 locations, including around 500 fast charging stations. This is a fraction of the number that is available in Germany. "Australia has a lot of catching up to do in terms of charging infrastructure for electric cars," says Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI). However, a rapid expansion of the charging infrastructure is planned. Charging stations can currently be found primarily in metropolitan areas such as Sydney or Melbourne. That should change. According to the "Electric Vehicle Council", the government in Canberra has already spent 71.9 million Australian dollars (around 47 million euros) on expanding the charging stations.
This image is reinforced on the streets. Subjectively, Stromer are clearly in the minority. We saw six Teslas and a Kia EV6 on our trips. The latter hung on a charging station in a shopping center in Melbourne. The range of car manufacturers looks accordingly. At Audi you will find the E-Tron GT and the SUV E-Tron. Smaller vehicles like the Q4 E-tron? none. A similar picture emerges at VW. Tough guys rule the offer. The Tiguan Allspace Adventure is the front-runner, but the Amarok is also prominently represented.
There is no Stromer at Ford, only variants of the E-Transit appear under “Future Vehicles”. There is no trace of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which was so successful in the USA and Europe. “Ford Australia is already working to bring lower emission vehicles to market. We recently added the Escape PHEV to our lineup and plan to launch at least five electrified vehicles by the end of 2024, including the previously announced E-Transit and E-Transit Custom vans,” said Ford Australia's Matt Moran. But until then, some kangaroos will still be hopping through the outback. The best-selling Ford of 2022 was the Ranger pickup, followed by the seven-seater Everest.
This model is powered by the 184 kW / 250 hp V6 turbo diesel with a maximum torque of 600 Newton meters, which is also used in the large F150 pick-up. On a vehicle that weighs around 2.5 tons like Everest, this engine is essentially the EcoBoost drive. We are on the famous Great Ocean Road. The three-liter diesel harmonizes well with the ten-speed automatic. We set the four-wheel drive to 4A mode and let the system decide which axle participates in the drive concert. Despite the length of 4.94 meters, the SUV copes surprisingly well with tight corners. Even if the ladder frame construction does not really have a positive effect on comfort, we enjoy the ride along the coast. But we don't see any electric cars on this picturesque street either.