Sales of electric cars are gaining momentum in Australia, with demand up by 14 per cent so far this year in a vehicle market that is down by 18 per cent.
However the raw numbers are still minuscule, with only 1400 electric cars reported as sold by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries in the first 10 months of 2020.
As a proportion of the entire new-car market over the same period (726,000) it equates to 0.2 per cent of Australian demand for new vehicles.
This figure does not include Tesla, which does not supply sales data, however even assuming (generously) 3000 Tesla cars have been sold nationally this year, the total proportion of pure electric cars delivered in Australia represents 0.6 per cent of demand.
The real eco hero? Hybrid cars. Petrol-electric vehicle sales have doubled so far this year to a new record – from 23,000 reported as sold in the first 10 months of 2019, to 46,600 reported as sold in the same period this year.
Indeed, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid led the entire new-car market in the month of August 2020 for the first time ever, as the company filled back orders with a surge in stock.
Meantime, here are the five cheapest pure electric car options in Australia today.
MG ZS EV, $43,990 drive-away
The MG ZS EV went on sale locally this week and is Australia’s cheapest electric car. With a 44kWh battery pack, it has a claimed driving range of 263km. The petrol variant of the same car had a four-star safety rating when it was tested in 2017. The MG ZS EV has a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and the battery has an eight-year/160,000km warranty.
Nissan Leaf, $53,000 drive-away
The Nissan Leaf small hatchback and was briefly the cheapest electric car on sale in Australia until the MG ZS EV came along in November 2020. Now with a 40kWh battery pack, it has an estimated maximum driving range of 270km. It has a five-star safety rating from 2018. The Nissan Leaf has a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and the battery has an eight-year/160,000km warranty.
Renault Zoe, $53,800 drive-away
The Renault Zoe is the smallest electric car on sale in Australia, and falls into the ‘city hatch’ category. With a 41kWh battery pack Renault estimates it has a real world maximum driving range of “300km in summer and 200km in winter”. The Renault Zoe is covered by a three-year warranty and its battery pack has a five year/100,000km warranty. It does not have an ANCAP crash safety rating, but it was awarded five stars by EuroNCAP in 2013.
Hyundai Ioniq, $53,000 to $58,000 drive-away
The Hyundai Ioniq is the only car on sale in Australia available with a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric power. There are also three equipment grades. The pure EV is the dearest of the three options but still the third-cheapest tickets into an electric car in Australia today. It has a five-star safety rating from 2016. With a 38.3kWh battery pack, it has a claimed maximum driving range of 311km in ideal conditions, a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty on the car, and an eight-year/160,000km warranty on the battery pack.
Hyundai Kona SUV, $63,500 to $71,000 drive-away
The Hyundai Kona city SUV has the most range for the money of any electric car in Australia, thanks to its large (64kWh) battery pack. There are two equipment grades and it has a five-star safety rating from 2017. It has a claimed maximum driving range in excess of 449km in ideal conditions, a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty on the car, and an eight-year/160,000km warranty on the battery pack.
MORE: Everything electric