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Australia’s top six most affordable electric cars for 2022

18 May 2022
• 6 minutes read
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With recent record high fuel prices, it’s likely the number of Australians considering a switch to electric power for their next new car will only continue to speed up.

However, despite the high cost of fuel, registration savings (depending where you live) and government incentives on offer in some Australian states and territories, electric vehicles (EVs) still seem to many some way off from achieving 'price parity' with petrol and diesel cars.

That said, with an ever-growing selection of relatively "affordable" electric cars starting below $50,000, plus a range of finance options available, owning an electric car seems more achievable than ever.

What’s in this article

We'll take a look at some of the cheapest electric cars coming to our shores in 2022.

  • MG ZS EV
  • BYD Atto3
  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Polestar 2
  • Tesla Model 3

MG ZS E

Since the MG ZS EV launched in November 2020, it has been Australia's most affordable series-production electric vehicle, with prices from $44,990 drive-away. However, a new facelift model in late 2021 saw the base prices rise to $46,990 drive-away.

Whereas the pre-facelift model had a 44.5kWh battery and 263km of WLTP* driving range, the new ZS EV gained a 51kWh battery offering up to 320km of range. MG also offer a larger 72kWh battery, but don’t get too excited just yet, as it’s currently only available overseas1.

The Essence MG model is a more expensive option, priced from $49,990 drive-away. It adds many features which were previously standard on the 2021 ZS EV model (but missing from the $46,990 Excite in 2022).

The MG EV range carries an impressive seven-year/unlimited-kilometre vehicle warranty, and a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Overview:

  • Price: $46,990 to $49,990 drive-away
  • Driving range: 320Km (WLTP)
  • Fast charge time: 40 minutes (from 0% to 80% with 75kW DC)

BYD

The BYD Atto3 is an upcoming small SUV from Chinese manufacturer Build Your Dreams. Its guide price from $44,990 drive-away, would make this impressive car Australia’s cheapest EV, but there’s a catch. And it’s all to do with where you live.

The $44,990 drive-away is only applicable in Tasmania, where government-imposed costs are lower.

While the drive-away prices in Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and ACT also fall below the MG's $46,990 price tag, they do not in New South Wales, Victoria or Western Australia.

As a result, the BYD Atto 3 will not be Australia's most affordable electric car for most Australians.

Its specifications are impressive, with this small SUV offering a 150kW/310Nm outputs, 50.1kWh battery and a 320km estimated WLTP range in Standard Range trim, and a 420km estimated WLTP range with a 60.4kWh battery in the Extended Range2.

The BYD Atto 3 comes with a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, but it’s worth noting there's no official ANCAP rating yet!^

BYD will sell directly online to consumers rather than via a standard dealer network.

Overview:

  • Price: From $44,990 (depending on location)
  • Driving range: 320Km to 420Km (WLTP)
  • Fast charge time: 45 minutes (unspecified start/end states of charge, 80kW DC)

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is priced from $49,970 to $54,010 plus on-road costs, or about $54,500 to $58,800 drive-away.

Both Hyundai’s Elite (Base model) and Premium (top of the range) models are equipped with the same 38.3kWh lithium-ion battery, paired with a 100kW/295Nm electric motor and front-wheel drive for 311km of claimed WLTP driving range3.

So, what do you get for the extra $$ on the Premium, you ask? Well, the Premium comes with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, an electric driver's seat, larger digital instrument display, LED headlights, wireless phone charging, and a sunroof.

Hyundai offers a five-year/unlimited-kilometre vehicle and eight-year/160,000km battery warranty as standard. Plus, a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Overview:

  • Price: $54,500 to $58,800 drive-away
  • Driving range: 311Km (WLTP)
  • Fast charge time: 54 minutes (from 0% to 80% with 100kW DC)

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf was a pioneer in the mainstream electric car market a decade ago and was once the country's most affordable electric vehicle.

Now in its second generation, an entry-level model starts at around $54,000 drive-away, and4 features a 40kWh battery pack, 110kW electric motor and 270km claimed range. While the Leaf e+ upgrades to a 62kWh battery, 160kW motor and 385km WLTP range, and will cost you about $65,000 drive-away.

Although fast charging is available at up to 100kW DC, the Leaf uses the Japanese-market CHAdeMO plug, whereas most other electric cars opt for the far more commonly used CCS socket. Just something to consider if this is the car for you.

As far as vehicle warranty goes, Nissan offers a five-year/unlimited-kilometre as standard, along with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Overview:

  • Price: $54,000 to $64,000 drive-away
  • Driving range: 270Km to 385Km (WLTP)
  • Fast charge time: 40-60 min, depending on battery (20% to 80%, 50-100kW DC)

Polestar 2

Set to become one of the first true rivals of the top-selling Tesla Model 3, the new Polestar 2 arrives in Australia from early May. The Swedish automotive company has priced its latest offering from $59,900 to $69,900 plus on-road costs, or about $64,500 to $75,000 drive-away5.

The Polestar 2 comes in three variants, ranging from the entry-level Standard Range Single Motor (165kW/330Nm outputs, 69kWh battery, 440-474km range), Long Range Single Motor (170kW/330Nm, 78kWh battery, 510-542km range), and Long Range Dual Motor (300kW/660Nm, 78kWh, 455-482km).

Polestar will only sell its cars online at fixed prices, rather than via traditional dealers. While they’ll be sold online, you’ll still be able to view and collect cars from Polestar Centres. As for servicing your Polestar, that’ll be through Volvo, who part-own Polestar.

A new Polestar will come with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Plus, a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Overview:

  • Price: $64,500 to $75,000 drive-away
  • Driving range: 440km to 542km (WLTP)
  • Fast charge time: 35 min (from 10% to 80% with 116kW or 155kW DC)

Tesla Model 3

And last, but by no means least, is Australia's best-selling electric car, the Tesla Model 3 – which starts at $60,900 plus on-road costs or about $66,000 drive-away.

Entry-level 'Rear-Wheel Drive' versions use a circa-62kWh battery pack and a circa-200kW electric motor good for 491km of range, a 6.1-second 0-100km/h time, and access to Tesla's ultra-fast Supercharger network6.

All-wheel-drive Long Range and Performance versions up the ante with up to 602km of range, or a 0-100km/h time as low as 3.3 seconds, but significantly ups the purchase price.

Although clearly a leader in the EV industry, when it comes to its four-year/80,000km vehicle warranty, Tesla is somewhat behind most other EV manufacturers.

Overview:

  • Price: $60,900 to $86,472 plus on-road costs
  • Driving range: 491km to 602km (WLTP)
  • Fast charge time: 300km of claimed range in 15 minutes

When it comes to buying any car, it’s important to do your research, shop around and test drive to ensure you’re buying the car that best meets your needs. For more information on what to consider when switching to electric, it’s worth having a look at your guide to buying an electric car.

If you’re ready to buy, Great Southern Bank can assist with a personal loan for an electric car.

Matt Brown is a content writer at Great Southern Bank and our resident car enthusiast.

Important Information

Reference:

1 https://mgmotor.com.au/models/mg-zsev/ & https://www.carexpert.com.au/car-reviews/2022-mg-zs-ev-review-first-drive

2 https://www.carexpert.com.au/car-news/chinas-byd-electric-brand-arrives-from-44381-online

3 https://www.hyundai.com/au/en/cars/eco/ioniq/electric & https://www.drive.com.au/news/australias-cheapest-electric-cars-in-2022/

4 https://www.nissan.com.au/vehicles/browse-range/leaf.html & https://www.drive.com.au/news/2022-nissan-leaf-update-confirmed-for-australia/

5 https://www.polestar.com/au/, https://www.carexpert.com.au/car-comparisons/2022-kia-ev6-v-polestar-2-v-tesla-model-3-comparison & https://www.drive.com.au/news/australias-cheapest-electric-cars-in-2022/

6 https://www.tesla.com/en_au/model3 & https://www.drive.com.au/news/australias-cheapest-electric-cars-in-2022/

* The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) laboratory test is used to measure fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from passenger cars, as well as their pollutant emissions.

^ No official ANCAP Safety Rating awarded at time of article being written.

The information contained on this website is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

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