Tony DavisMotoring writer
Last week we ran through the Audi-to-Lexus of battery electric vehicles (known as BEVs or simply EVs) likely to be on offer in Australia in 2023. This week we complete the picture. (Read part one of the guide here.)
The MX-30 e35 is a good-looking SUV but with a high price ($65,490), a modest range (224 kilometres) and petrol car underpinnings (and body). Alas, there is nothing else from Mazda in the immediate pipeline.
Going on sale about now is the EQE, an E-Class sized sedan built on a dedicated EV platform. A smaller sibling to the EQS – and with very similar air-cheating bodywork – it is priced from $134,900 to $214,900. The EQE 300 variant has the best range: 626 kilometres.
The EQA, EQB and EQC models continue, all based on petrol cars, but from around August or September we’ll see the EQE and EQS SUVs, designed for electricity from the ground up. There will also be another variant of the EQS sedan, the 450 4Matic. (At the moment only an AMG EQS is available).
The MG4 is a small, not-quite-hatch/not-quite SUV model that is drawing strong reviews overseas. We’ll see it in the first half of this year at something close to $40,000.
This transplanted British brand (now Chinese owned and built and with nothing in the range comparable to the old sports cars), also sells a converted version of the petrol ZS SUV.
It’s competent if unexciting, and is currently the cheapest EV on sale, despite a recent price rise (to about $48,000 drive away). A longer range ZS – with a 72 kWh battery rather than the current 51 kWh – will arrive mid-year.
The Cooper SE is an EV version of the three-door petrol hatchback, priced from $55,650 with a range of just 233 kilometres.
Some Chinese-built, bespoke EV Minis aren’t too far away, and should improve the interior packaging, range and driving experience. Parent company BMW won’t yet comment on final timing for Australia, but the first of these has been previewed with the Mini Concept Aceman.
The second-gen Leaf (above) carries on quietly, priced from $50,990. Alas, there are no other pure EVs in the immediate pipeline from Nissan Australia.
The first EVs from this venerable French brand will be light commercials, available by the end of year. An e-208 hatch is available in Europe but the bigger e-308 hatch is the one being evaluated for Australia. It will almost certainly arrive in 2024 rather than this year.
The Polestar 3, a big SUV aimed at the Porsche Cayenne segment, might just sneak in before the end of the year (thought more likely very early 2024). It will be priced from about $135,000 in dual-motor high-performance form. A less expensive single-motor version will follow.
In the meantime, the Polestar 2 liftback sedan (from $63,900), which is closely related to the Volvo XC40, will no doubt continue to do well in this market. It will have a major upgrade mid-year with styling changes, improved range and performance, and rear-drive on the base model.
A new variation of the brilliantly competent Taycan sedan, the GTS, has just gone on sale, priced from $240,300. The company won’t confirm if the forthcoming (and much delayed) Macan EV, a small SUV, will be seen here by year’s end.
Renault will soon introduce a couple of light commercial EVs (the Kangoo and Master E-Tech models). Of more importance here is the Megane E-Tech, a handsome small hatch/SUV mash-up with a range of about 470 kilometres. We should see it in the third quarter, though final specs and pricing information are not yet available.
The first customer examples of the Spectre coupe – Rolls-Royce’s first EV – will arrive late this year, priced around the $800,000 mark. The Spectre will hit 100 kilometres an hour in 4.5 seconds, says Rolls (that’s even quicker than the flagship V12s), and travel more than 500 kilometres between charges. The brand promises to be all-EV by 2030.
The Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV have just had their prices cut by a few thousand dollars, which suggests cooling demand. Still, they remain the best-selling EVs here by a long shot.
The newest entry is the Model Y Performance, a faster and dearer version priced from $94,900. This all-wheel drive SUV has a 514-kilometre range and a claimed 3.7 second 0-100 kilometre time. As for the Roadster II, Cyber Truck, Model S Plaid and other long promised models, it remains a waiting game.
Toyota has been talking down EVs at every level and pointing to hydrogen fuel cells and other solutions that it knows are years and years from widespread adoption, if they ever happen.
Still, market pressure means it will finally, reluctantly, have a battery EV on sale here in the second half of this year – the awkwardly named bZ4X SUV. Aussie specs and pricing are to be confirmed.
Overseas models have a range of between 403 and 516 kilometres, and have front-drive on the base model. There will be an exclusively all-wheel drive Subaru-badged version too, the more gracefully named but near-identical Solterra, at about the same time (Toyota owns 20 per cent of Subaru and the two companies already share a dual-badged sports coupe).
Volvo sold more EVs than petrol cars here for the first time in December. The existing XC40 SUV and C40 fastback SUV have much to commend them. The single-motor versions will switch from front- to rear-wheel drive later this year, giving better efficiency and handling of the base model.
But the biggest news is that the company has shown teaser photos of a smaller and lower-cost battery SUV and insists it will have it on sale here in the third quarter of this year. It is likely to be called EX30.
The super high-tech EX90 flagship SUV, recently unveiled in Europe, won’t arrive until 2024.
Although slow off the mark here, VW Australia promises to make amends by launching the ID.4 and ID.5 SUVs later this year, along with an updated version of the ID.3 hatch (first seen in Europe in 2019), then a series of other models, in quick succession.
All are built on the MEB “skateboard” platform. The ID.4 will likely be priced in the mid-$60,000 bracket, and deliver a 522-kilometre range from its 82 kWh battery. Skoda’s version of the ID.4, the Enyaq, is most likely arriving in early 2024.
Need to know
Any prices mentioned above are exclusive of on-road costs, unless otherwise stated. Range is calculated using the international WLTP standard.
- Which EV should you choose? Our guide to going electric in 2023 (part 1)
- We run the numbers on whether it’s worth getting an electric vehicle The bigger the mileage, the more things lean towards the EV.
- Why 2023 is the year to get an electric vehicle Many Australians have proven they’d prefer EVs, with waiting lists blowing out for almost anything electric. In 2023, there will be no need to wait.
- This EV charger is taking on the world from Tennessee (and Brisbane) The CEO of electric vehicle fast charging station manufacturer Tritium DCFC predicts about 80 per cent of charging of EVs will be done at home, but there is still lots of revenue for companies building charging infrastructure in the community.
- New laws, government incentives usher in the EV era When California announced in August it would ban the sale of “gasoline cars” by 2035, it was another reminder of how quickly things are changing in the industry.
- Electric vehicles are better than a ute for dodging tax EVs can now take pride of place alongside the Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Isuzu D-MAX and other big utility vehicles as a favourite way for Australians to sidestep the taxman.
- Citroën’s weird-looking Oli EV is partly made of cardboard The brand’s new electric vehicle, built from 100 per cent recycled materials, puts the question all too clearly: How much do you really need in a car?
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Tony DavisMotoring writerTony Davis writes on lifestyle specialising in cars. Email Tony at email@example.com
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