By Dylan Campbell
Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2023
It’s never been cheaper to own an electric vehicle (EV). Dozens of new EV models are due in the next few years, but if you can’t wait, here are the six most affordable ways to park the future of motoring in your driveway right now.
Note that these prices don’t even include the SA Government’s current $3000 rebate and three-year registration exemption on new EVs (capped at 7000 rebates per year). Meaning EV ownership might be even more attainable than it first seems.
6. Cupra Born ($64,490 driveaway)
New to Australia, Cupra hails from Spain and says its baby Born electric hatch is named after a neighbourhood in Barcelona. But – and whisper it – the truth is, it’s a Volkswagen in disguise, made in Germany.
That’s not a bad thing. As well as 511km of claimed range, dual digital displays give the interior a high-tech feel and you sit in seats covered in sustainable ’Seaqual Yarn’, an upholstery made from recycled plastic collected from the beaches of the Mediterranean.
On the road, the Born packs a powerful 170kW punch thanks to its single motor mounted under the boot, also making it rear-wheel-drive.
5. Hyundai Kona Electric ($58,936 driveaway)
Any list of affordable vehicles wouldn’t be complete without a Hyundai, which comes in at number five with its all-electric Kona small SUV.
While the EV spotlight is hogged by its futuristic and pricier Ioniq 5 bigger brother, the Kona can cover up to 305km on a single charge and happily zips into gaps in traffic thanks to its responsive 100kW electric motor.
Shell out another $6000 and you get a bigger, 64kWh battery offering 484km of range – and a more powerful 150kW motor. But then you’re getting very close to Tesla Model 3 territory.
4. Nissan Leaf ($53,536 driveaway)
The little Leaf was to electric motoring what the Big Mac was to burgers: a bit revolutionary.
The world’s best-selling electric car between 2011 to 2014, the pioneering Leaf now offers 311km of range and 110kW from its single, front-driven electric motor. An extra $10,500 buys a more powerful 160kW motor and a larger 62kWh battery with 385km range.
The Leaf, however, now floats atop an ever-increasing EV torrent – and risks getting carried downstream by cheaper, better packaged and higher tech rivals. For many, being made in Japan is worth the small premium.
3. BYD Atto 3 ($50,586 driveaway)
It looks like just another small SUV from the outside, but inside, the ‘Build Your Dreams’ Atto 3 couldn’t be more peculiar. It’s as if different teams styled the inside and outside – and, more pressingly, never spoke to each other.
Inspired by fitness culture, this EV’s shift lever is styled like a dumbbell, while the dashboard resembles an anatomical model of a human muscle. On the doors there are tautly attached strings of elastic that can be played, peculiarly, like a guitar. It’s all as bizarre as it sounds.
These all distract, however, from what is a surprisingly accomplished – and, thanks to 150kW, brisk – Chinese EV. The Atto 3’s trump card is its high-tech lithium-iron phosphate ’Blade’ battery packing 345km of range.
2. MG ZS EV ($47,940 driveaway)
It might be an MG but this small SUV is about as British as bubble tea. That’s because MG has been wholly Chinese-owned since 2005.
Being made in China – like the other cars at the top of this list – does means it’s cheap and abundant. Those two things alone have helped make the MG ZS small SUV one of the most popular new electric models in Australia in recent years.
It’s also one of the simplest and, dare we say, blandest. But if a basic, no frills electric vehicle – with 130kW of power and 320km of range – is all you want, the MG ZS EV delivers.
1. Great Wall Motors Ora ($46,891 driveaway)
Number one on our list, the quirky-looking Great Wall Motors (GWM) Ora is yet another EV offering newly landed in Australia from China.
Fitting the entire family might be a struggle at first glance, but with its flat electric floor you’d be surprised how spacious this Golf-sized Chinese electric hatchback is inside, where you’ll also find dual 10.25-inch digital displays.
The front-drive, 126kW Ora offers 310km of range in its cheapest guise, but pony up $51,051 and that jumps to 420km making this the best bang-for-buck EV you can buy – for now.
*All prices were correct at the time of publishing.