Affordable electric cars in Australia

author-avatar By on May 25, 2020
Affordable electric cars in Australia

Photo by Jan Kaluza on Unsplash

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.

Provider
Ad rate
p.a.
Comp rate*
p.a.
Monthly
repayment
 
3.97% 4.51% $552 More details
5.29% 5.56% $570 More details

Base criteria: fixed and secured car loans for 'low emission' cars. Data accurate as at 01 July 2020. Rates based on a loan of $30,000 for a five-year loan term. Products sorted by advertised rate, then by company name (A-Z). Repayments are calculated based on advertised rates. View disclaimer.

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.

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 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: From $45,000 before on-roads
  • Range: Up to 270km
  • 0-100km/h time: 7.3sec (claimed)

New for 2020, the iconic MINI has gone electric. It is due to hit Australian shores in July. However, supply could be tight - just 80 units will land on Australian shores initially. There could be a waiting list and you may need to wait for 2021 to get your hands on one. As BMW owns MINI, many parts from the German manufacturer's own more-expensive electric model, the i3, are shared. For a European manufacturer, 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.

Renault Zoe Intens

electric Intens 2020 australia

  • Price in Australia: $49,490 before on-roads
  • Range: Up to 403km
  • 0-100km/h time: 11.4sec (approx)

A funky alternative and a quirky package from the French manufacturer, the Zoe ‘Intens’ is an interesting little hatchback. When shopping around you may have noticed the car has a 2017 model year. However, rest assured the cars are new and were manufactured from 2019.

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’.


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 2019) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.

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

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au 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 a journalist with more than four years of experience, 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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