With fuel prices and the cost of living soaring to record highs, there’s never been more interest in switching to an electric vehicle.
While the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an electric car is often lower than a petrol equivalent, the higher sticker price still creates a barrier for many. We answer the question on many people's minds, "What is the cheapest electric car in Australia?".
The recently refreshed MG ZS EV if officially the cheapest electric car in Australia starting at $44,990 driveaway. Read on to check out more details on the MG ZS EV and the other models that make this list.
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1. MG ZS EV
The MG ZS EV received a major facelift this year, with fresher looks, updated tech and an all-new battery pack, but prices are slightly up.
The refreshed Chinese small electric SUV houses a new larger LFP-based battery underneath its floor that’s good for up to 320km of range (WLTP). It can charge at up to 6.6kW AC or 75kW DC rates on a compatible charger.
Standard equipment highlights on the base Excite includes a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, full LED headlights, and ‘MG Pilot’ active safety assistance systems including auto emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, 360-degree surround view camera, and more.
Buyers who want features like blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, faux leather seats, and more will need to step up to the flagship Essence model at $48,990 drive-away.
2. BYD Atto 3
Launching earlier this year with much fanfare, the BYD Atto 3 has quickly positioned itself as one of the best selling electric cars in the market.
The Atto 3 Standard Range offers 320km of claimed driving range on the stricter WLTP testing cycle. Meanwhile, an Extended Range battery is offered for $3000 more with 420km of range (WLTP). Both packs can be topped up with up to 7kW AC or 80kW DC speeds, with an included vehicle-to-load (V2L) adapter for powering other devices or appliances outside the car.
Both models use the Shenzhen firm’s own ‘Blade Battery’ based on lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) technology. It’s claimed to be more durable, safer, and longer-lasting than traditional packs with minimal degradation over one million kilometres of driving.
With only one high-spec model, the BYD EV features a 12.8-inch tablet-style rotatable infotainment system running its own ‘DiLink’ software, panoramic sunroof, and a complete suite of safety assistance systems like adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera.
3. Nissan Leaf
The pure-electric Japanese hatchback offers up to 270km of range (WLTP) on a single charge, and up to 3.6kW AC or 50kW DC charging speeds. Additionally, the Leaf e+ with a bigger battery good for 385km of driving range (WLTP) is also available, priced from $60,490 before on-road costs.
It’s worth noting that all Leaf’s use a CHAdeMO DC fast charging connector, instead of the more common CCS2 type found on other EVs in this list. Though most Tritium RT50 charging stations, a common sight across the country, offer a CHAdeMO plug.
With one highly-specified model, the Leaf features an 8-inch infotainment system with wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, leather-accented seats with Ultrasuede inserts, E-Pedal regenerative braking system, and more.
All models are capable of bidirectional charging, including vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) to lower electricity bills and the TCO, though it isn’t available for the masses in Australia yet.
4. Hyundai Kona Electric
After a facelift in 2021, the Hyundai Kona Electric is now more accessible with the introduction of a smaller Standard Range battery.
The pure-electric small SUV starts from $54,500 before on-road costs and state incentives.
In its Standard Range battery configuration, it provides a claimed 305km of range (WLTP) and can be charged at up to 7.2kW AC or 100kW DC. Meanwhile, an Extended Range battery is available for up to 484km of range (WLTP), but is priced from $60,500 before on-roads.
Standard features in the base Elite Standard Range include a 10.25-inch infotainment system with wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, acoustic windscreen film, and full safety assist suite accompanied by safe exit warning and rear occupant alert.
5. Mini Cooper SE
Sneaking into the final place on the list is the Mini Electric, a four-seater electric city hatchback made in the United Kingdom. Priced from $55,650 before on-road costs, it has up to 222km of claimed driving range, one battery pack size, and is front-wheel drive.
The electric car can be charged at up to 11kW AC/50kW DC using a Type 2/CCS2 port.
It is offered in two variants featuring a 8.8-inch infotainment display, select active safety assistance systems, Union Jack LED tail lights, and more as standard.
The Mini Electric is covered by a three-year, unlimited kilometre vehicle warranty and an eight-year/100,000km battery warranty.
How Do the Cheapest Electric Cars Compare?
We've summarised the key specs for each model on this list below. From a purely 'specs' perspective the MG ZS EV and the BYD Atto 3 represent the best overall value as in addition to being the cheapest, they provide relatively provide good performance, range and space.
Figures by Danny Thai
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