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Looking to switch? Here are the five most affordable EVs in Australia and when you can get them

Blue Hyundai Kona Electric in city

With fuel prices and the cost of living soaring to record highs, there’s now another compelling reason to switch to an electric vehicle.

Geopolitical sanctions squarely aim at condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Following the USA and UK, Australia has banned all Russian oil imports, which made up 1.2 per cent of our total crude imports last year. Despite the country supplying about 30 per cent of Europe’s gas and oil imports and around 11 per cent globally, Australians are being inflicted at the pump.

As at publication, the country is averaging $2.20 per litre for the cheapest E10 Unleaded fuel (94RON) – and may further spike to $2.50 per litre soon. In contrast, fuel prices this time last year sat at around $1.35 per litre. These figures include the government’s fuel excise tax at 44.2 cents per litre.

chart showing average fuel prices so far in 2022
Image by - MotorMouth

This represents the ‘perfect storm’ to accelerate consumer interest in owning an all-electric car, with a significantly lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Here are the most affordable electric cars you can buy now in Australia – and when you can get them amid semiconductor stock shortages. You can check out all the EVs available in Australia in 2022 here.

Grey BYD Atto 3 electric SUV

1. BYD Atto 3

Build Your Dreams (BYD) is poised to launch its first mass market electric model in Australia, courtesy of local distributor EVDirect.

The BYD Atto 3 is a small to medium SUV riding on a dedicated EV platform, starting from $44,381 before on-road costs and state incentives. Pre-orders are open online, with deliveries now slated from August this year via its mycar Tyre and Auto delivery and service partner.

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.

Atto 3 Standard Range pricing (after incentives)

Blue MG ZS EV electric SUV driving

2. MG ZS EV

The second-best selling cheapest electric car in Australia in 2021 is receiving a major facelift this year, with fresher looks, updated tech and an all-new battery pack, but prices are slightly up.

The 2022 MG ZS EV starts from $46,990 drive-away nationwide (before state incentives) and is due to hit showrooms from July. MG Motor Australia is currently taking reservations via its dealership network, offering a $500 discount on its MG ChargeHub AC charging wallbox for the first 500 customers.

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 $49,990 drive-away.

ZS EV Excite pricing (after incentives)

Blue Hyundai Ioniq Electric liftback

3. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

While the ground-up Hyundai Ioniq 5 is making the headlines, the venerable Ioniq Electric liftback has arguably been forgotten.

Starting from just $49,970 before on-road costs and state incentives, zecar understands Hyundai Australia has good, continuous stock of the Ioniq Electric available to buy at its nationwide ‘Blue Drive’ dealerships.

After a facelift in 2019, Hyundai’s oft-forgotten small liftback provides up to 311km of range (WLTP) in its pure-electric guise, with 7.2kW AC or 100kW DC charging capabilities. Interestingly, while it takes around 54 minutes to fill up on the latter station, juicing up on a slightly slower 50kW DC charger only takes three minutes longer, according to Hyundai.

The Korean-made Ioniq Electric is available in two model grades, with the entry Elite featuring a floating 10.25-inch widescreen with wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, eight-speaker Infinity audio system, and 16-inch alloy wheels as standard.

It’s unclear whether the Ioniq Electric – the first vehicle wearing the ‘Ioniq’ nameplate – will be phased out in favour of the line-up based on dedicated electric underpinnings, including the current Ioniq 5 crossover, and forthcoming Ioniq 6 sedan and Ioniq 7 large SUV models.

Ioniq Electric Elite pricing (after incentives)

Blue Nissan Leaf electric hatch charging at Tritium RT50

4. Nissan Leaf

As one of the original pioneers to re-spark the electric revolution, the second-generation Nissan Leaf hatchback is expected to receive a minor update in the second half of 2022.

The current model starts from only $49,990 before on-road costs and state incentives. A Nissan Australia spokesperson told zecar that its dealers across the country currently have “reasonable stock levels” of the Leaf.

“Wait times will depend on a number of factors including variant and location and we would encourage all customers to speak with their nearest dealer for an estimate,” the Nissan spokesperson said.

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.

Leaf pricing (after incentives)

Blue Hyundai Kona Electric SUV in front of windmills

5. 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. Zecar understands Hyundai’s nationwide ‘Blue Drive’ showrooms currently have good, continuous supply of the Kona Electric.

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.

Kona Electric Elite Standard Range pricing (after incentives)

How do they all compare?

BMW i3 fast charging at RACV Chargefox station
Image by - Chargefox

What about used EVs?

If you’re looking to immediately switch into an EV now – and for under $40,000 – there are a number of used affordable electric models available in the market.

This includes the:

  • First-gen Nissan Leaf (2012-2018)
  • Quirky BMW i3 (2014-2021)
  • Pre-facelift Hyundai Ioniq Electric (2018-2019)
  • Japanese imported second-gen Nissan Leaf (2017-2018)
  • Outgoing pre-facelift MG ZS EV (2020)

Of course, buyers should take the same precautions just like buying any used vehicle (i.e. condition, service history, etc.), along with the same considerations you need to know when buying any electric car like the charging connector type, included cables, and battery capacity and health.

Figures by Danny Thai

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