Affordable electric cars in Australia

author-avatar By on February 18, 2021
Affordable electric cars in Australia

You might be surprised to know there’s a bunch of affordable electric cars out there if you want to go green, and you don’t need to have a freaky-looking car to do so.

It’s hard to deny the Tesla line-up is the gold standard of electric motoring. They often boast class-leading range, features and performance. However, that comes with a price tag. The Model S starts at nearly $150,000, while Tesla’s ‘entry level’ model, the Model 3, starts at around $70,000.

So, what’s out there for the everyday motorist - someone who just needs a simpler car that won’t kill the earth and won’t break the bank? We’ve sourced the expertise of Brett Davis of Performance Drive, whose YouTube car reviews channel has more than 100,000 subscribers.

In the market for an electric car? The table below features car loans with some of the lowest fixed interest rates for low-emissions vehicles on the market.

Top five affordable electric cars in Australia

We’ve gone all-electric here, no hybrids, with a budget of around $50,000 - more expensive than many can afford, but still more affordable than many other electric car models. The list is in no apparent order, and range and prices are per manufacturers' specifications.

MG ZS

  • Price in Australia: $43,990 drive away
  • Range: 263km
  • 0-100km/h time: 8.2 seconds (Vbox tested)

Brett says... "Yes, it is the cheapest EV on the market and it is made in China, but it’s not some cheap and nasty pet project. This offers all of the usual creature comforts we've come to expect from a modern, small SUV, only this has the added benefit of peaceful, zero-emissions driving. It’s smooth, very torquey, spacious inside, and presents decent build quality. MG offers a five-year vehicle warranty and an eight-year warranty for the battery, too. All of this could be the perfect grounds to try out EV ownership for the first time."

Hyundai IONIQ

  • Price in Australia: Fully electric ‘Elite’ model from about $48,490 before on-roads
  • Range: Up to 311km.
  • 0-100km/h time: 9.9sec (claimed)

Brett says… “One of the great things about this car is the normality of the interior. It looks and feels just like a conventional small-to-medium sedan. All of the controls are very familiar, making it really easy to drive and live with.”

Nissan LEAF

  • Price in Australia: $49,990 before on-roads
  • Range: 270km ‘indicative’
  • 0-100km/h time: 8sec (claimed)

Brett says… “It's a regular hatchback that offers excellent cabin space and practicality. It just so happens to feature an advanced electric powertrain. There are some interesting and innovative technologies and design elements in this, such as the ePedal that allows you to pull up to a stop without using the brake pedal. The centre console also showcases a very unique gear selector toggle, which almost makes it feel like you're driving a spaceship.”

Hyundai Kona

  • Price in Australia: $59,990 before on-roads
  • Range: Up to 449km
  • 0-100km/h time: 7.6sec (claimed)

Brett says… “It is one of the most affordable fully electric SUV currently on sale in Australia. And for that alone it should be commended. Hyundai has even beat some of the big Euro names to the market, with vehicles like the Audi e-tron and BMW iX3 still yet to arrive. These will obviously enter the premium segment and come attached with a much higher sticker price.”

MINI Cooper SE

electric MiniSE

  • Price in Australia: $59,990 'indicative' drive-away
  • Range: Up to 270km
  • 0-100km/h time: 7.3sec (claimed)

New for 2020, the iconic MINI has gone electric. It hit Australian shores in July 2020, however, supply was tight - just 80 units were supplied There could be a waiting list and you may need to wait a while to get your hands on one as more stock arrives. As BMW owns MINI, many parts from the German manufacturer's own more-expensive electric model, the i3, are shared. Relative to other European electric cars with a tilt towards luxury, the Cooper SE has an attractive starting price, and could be cross-shopped with Hyundai’s offerings, however Hyundai’s models have a higher maximum range.

Savings.com.au’s two cents

You might have thought that electric vehicles were the realm for the rich and powerful. However, that’s not necessarily the case, and you don’t need to feel penalised with poor features, weird design choices and poor range just because you want to go green on a fairly modest budget.

As seen above, there’s quite a few cars that are subjectively attractive and relatively ‘normal’ that go for around the $50,000 range or thereabouts. However, $50,000 is still nothing to be sneezed at. Even with the most competitive fixed new car loan interest rates, you’re still looking at a monthly repayment over 5 years of around $700 - and that’s if you have a good credit history.

If you’re on a strict budget, it might be worth looking at used cars, that have already borne the brunt of depreciation. They can also be just as ‘green’ when you consider total emissions used to manufacture and ship the car to our shores, because you are not choosing from new stock and you are essentially ‘recycling’.


Photo by Jan Kaluza on Unsplash

In-Text Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2019. They are (in descending order): Credit Union Australia, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
  • If you click on a product link and you are referred to a Product or Service Provider’s web page, it is highly likely that a commercial relationship exists between that Product or Service Provider and Savings.com.au

Some providers' products may not be available in all states.

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*The Comparison rate is based on a $30,000 loan over 5 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

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author-avatar
Harrison joined Savings in 2020. He is an experienced journalist, with previous stints at News Corp and financial comparison site Canstar. With a keen interest in personal finance, Harrison is passionate about helping consumers make more informed financial decisions.

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