A Comparison of Electric Cars in Australia under $100k

📅 Posted 2019-10-30

Yikes. $100k sounds like an awful lot of money, but you don’t get much of an electric car for much less. Today’s blog is a quick attempt to see where the electric car market is in Australia, based on my unscientific 7-point comparison approach, whilst keeping the price “reasonable”.

I figured if I’m going to build a spreadsheet with some facts and figures, I might as well publish a blog on the topic.

What matters in an electric car anyway?

Range. Of course. Price. Yep. Probably overall size and quality. Enough, I’m sure you’re across what it means to consider an EV. Let’s get on to the comparison table.

Buying new

The following are all new and the prices are drive-away, which means they include all of the taxes and everything. Yep, plenty of tax and zero rebates for electric cars in Australia. We’re progressive!

Tesla Model 3 (Standard Range Plus)Nissan LeafBMW i3 120AhHyundai Ioniq ElectricHyundai Kona Electric
Price ($AUD)$72896$57222$78995$50289$66168
Distance (NEDC)429km325km365km280km470km
Distance (EPA)354km243km246km200km415km
Interior QualityGoodGoodPremiumAverageAverage
Boot Space425L435L260L350L334L
Battery Size50kWh40kWh42kWh38kWh64kWh

There’s really no competition here. If you’ve got about $73k, you really can’t look past the Tesla Model 3. By the way, the Standard Range Plus model is the cheapest one we get in Australia, although I hear that the cheaper model will be available sometime in the future.

Buying used

Dipping into the used car market - I’m a massive fan because of the silly amount of depreciation bonus you get by buying used. However, the options become a lot thinner. Noting here I have excluded the old Nissan Leaf (the range is poor), some BMW i3 models (again, range too poor) and crazy-huge Teslas like the Model S.

BMW i3 94Ah RExRenault Zoe
Price ($AUD)$55000$47000
Distance (NEDC)290km400km
Distance (EPA)??
Interior QualityPremiumAverage
Boot Space260L338L
Battery Size33kWh + 600cc ICE41kWh

I’ve cheated a little bit and included the BMW i3 with Range Extender (in the form of a 600cc ICE ‘generator’) but it’s the only way to get any decent range out of that model - plus you could potentially limp pretty far across this wide brown land if you packed a jerrycan full of unleaded fuel.

What happened to the Renault Zoe in the market here? Seems you can’t buy one new. I’m not sure who did, at over $50k anyway!

My observations (as of writing)

  • We (personally) don’t really drive far in one day and rarely drive road trips, so 200-300km of range is probably fine
  • The current EV market in Australia is poor, so you basically get a sub-$20k Corolla for about $50k. Not great value at the moment for the early adopters
  • The BMW i3 has a tragically comical 260L of boot space, which doesn’t seem big enough for trips to Bunnings let alone anything else
  • We don’t have a great charging infrastructure in Australia yet, but things are improving
  • A 4.7m car seems outrageously long, given I’m used to a 3 door hatchback
  • I’m sure glad we can pull up to 6.6kw via 240v 20A for reasonable charging times in Australia, but we do have further distances to drive to get places
  • I feel we haven’t progressed nearly far enough: this 1917 Detroit Electric car which can be found at the Powerhouse Museum had a range of 105km and may only have 10hp but it is over 100 years old

More thinking to come.

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