By: Byron Mathioudakis

Carmakers are investing billions bringing electric vehicles (EV) to the mass market, propelled by growing international legislation calling for cleaner models, and backed up by huge strides in the development of electric motor, battery efficiency and recharging infrastructure technologies.

When considering an electric car, remember its battery pack is like a regular car’s fuel tank, but for electricity instead. The bigger it is, the further you can go before recharging. However, you pay a lot extra for the privilege.

With more choice than ever before, here’s a rundown of all of the electric cars available in Australia in 2021.

MG ZS EV from $43,990 driveaway

Blue MG ZS

What is the cheapest new EV in Australia right now?

Imported from China, the ZS EV is a light SUV in the mould of the Mazda CX-3 rather than the larger Hyundai Kona EV.

Similarly, the ZS EV uses its small dimensions to good effect with strong performance from a 105kW/353Nm electric motor, though range is a little on the weak side at 263km. MG reckons a 50kW fast charger needs 40 minutes to replenish 80 per cent of the battery pack, while a 7kW wall box at home needs under eight hours.

Reviewers have criticised the existing ZS EV’s suspension as feeling too stiff over bumps, while the steering lacks the responsiveness expected from a sporty model wearing the storied MG badge.

Though designed for urban conditions, it is agreeably roomy with a modern dashboard and a reasonably generous cargo capacity to boot.

It’s also difficult to ignore the pricing and standard features for your $43,990-driveaway, which includes an electric driver’s seat, panoramic sunroof and satellite navigation. There are also driver-assist safety systems like autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-keep assist.

Tested in 2019, the MG ZS EV also scored a five-star ANCAP crash-test rating.

MG ZS EV specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive
Battery: 42.5kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 105kW/353Nm
0-100km/h: 8.2s
Consumption: 18.6kWh/100km
Electric range: 263km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited km
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Hyundai Ioniq Electric from $48,970 plus on-road costs

Image of blue Hyundai Ioniq

The Toyota Corolla-sized Hyundai Ioniq uniquely offers three electrification options – Hybrid, Plug-in hybrid and Electric.

The Electric has proved most popular since launching in 2018, combining the pure EV experience with choice (Elite or highly-equipped Premium from $53,010), spacious hatchback packaging for five adults and a decent boot (but no spare tyre), highly-responsive performance, agile cornering capabilities and excellent aftersales service.

2020’s Series II facelift brought fresh nose and tail treatments, a redesigned dashboard with a big touchscreen multimedia as part of a better overall user interface, and higher-quality fittings.

More importantly, a 12kW power jump results in even more spirited acceleration, smoother suspension for a comfier ride, a substantially quieter cabin, greater driver-assist safety like full stop/go adaptive cruise control, and more than 100km of extra range from a 10kWh-larger battery-pack upgrade.

Cleverly, paddle shifters alter the force of regenerative braking so you can speed up and slow down by merely pressing and depressing the throttle. But home charging now takes up to 17.5 hours, a 7kW wall-box installation (from $3000) slashes that to 6.25 hours, while a DC station requires about 50 minutes for around 80 per cent charge.

The upshot of all this makes the likeable Ioniq Electric our least expensive family-friendly electric car.

Hyundai AE.3 Ioniq Electric specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive
Battery: 38.3kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 100kW/295Nm
0-100km/h: 9.7s
Consumption: 13.8kWh/100km
Electric range: 311km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Nissan Leaf from $49,990 plus on-road costs

Image of red Nissan Leaf

Nissan’s game-changing Leaf launched in 2010 as the first modern EV, became history’s bestselling electric car (until Tesla’s Model 3 eclipsed it) and then underwent a complete restyle in 2017.

Still Corolla-sized, the Leaf II reached Australia in 2019 with a massive battery-pack boost (to 40kWh) to address the earlier iteration issues of low range. This effectively doubled it, while gaining more muscle for unexpectedly forceful acceleration thanks to a gutsy 110kW electric motor.

There’s now also far-better steering for more precise handling, a high-resistance throttle setting so when backing off, the Nissan slows down as if it were being braked, and most driver-assist safety like autonomous emergency braking, imminent collision alerts and a surround-view camera, but no adaptive cruise control sadly.

With a home socket, about 17.5 hours is required to recharge, a 7kW wall-box installation (from $3000) cuts that by 10 hours and a DC station needs about 60 minutes to go from 20 to 80 per cent full.

All of this enhances what was already a sound package – comparative affordability, reasonable space, comfy seating, a huge boot (with a temporary spare) and very intuitive controls, making it simple and easy drive.

This year, the optional Leaf e+ brings a 55 per cent bigger battery, boosting range to 385km.

Nissan Leaf specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive
Battery: 40kWh-62kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 110kW-160kW/320Nm-340Nm
0-100km/h: 7.3-7.9s
Consumption: 17.1-18.5kWh/100km
Electric range: 270km-385km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Renault Kangoo Maxi ZE from $50,290 plus on-road costs

Image of blue Renault Kangoo van

Only one delivery van in Australia has zero tailpipe emissions.

Developed for congested cities where excess vehicle noise and pollution are heavily taxed, the Kangoo EV’s 200km range makes it ideal as a short-haul workhorse, with its long body, four square metre load capacity and 640kg payload. Kudos to Renault, too, for making it possible to kit out the EV version as per the normal petrol/diesel versions.

While not fast, with a top speed of just 130km, the French van is quick off the mark, pulls hard and is exceptionally smooth and quiet for a hollow box. Additionally, the underpinnings are (albeit older) Megane hatch-based, so it steers, corners, rides and stops much like a car.

Like Renault’s Zoe, the Kangoo only allows for AC charging, so cannot plug into the burgeoning DC fast-charging network. Charging times vary from up to 17 hours (regular household plug), 11 hours with a 7kW wall box, to 9.5 hours at the less-common AC stations – or about 30km after 50 minutes.

Available overseas since 2011, the Kangoo EV is showing its age with no AEB or other driver-assist systems, but still provides basics like airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes and reverse camera, while the cabin is comfy, stylish and practical.

Renault Kangoo Maxi ZE 33 specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive
Battery: 33kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 44kW/226Nm
0-100km/h: 22.3s
Consumption: 12kWh/100km
Electric range: 200km
Warranty: 3yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 5yr/100,000km
Safety rating: 4 stars

Mini Cooper SE Electric from $54,800 plus on-road costs

Silver Mini Cooper SE

Fresh from the UK is the electric Mini, blending a sporty retro groove with progressive EV engineering courtesy of the BMW i3.

Based on the iconic Cooper S, the SE’s powerful electric motor drives the front wheels, fed by a 32.6kWh battery pack located under the back seat to keep the centre of gravity low.

Though comparatively small with a low 233km range (some similarly-priced EVs exceed 300km), the battery pack’s compactness actually underlines this Mini’s positioning as an eco-urban runabout for busy singles/couples, since an 80 per cent top-up is possible in 35 minutes via a 50kW rapid charger – though a $3,000-plus 7kW wall box will kick that up to 6.5 hours while a normal home plug can exceed 15 hours.

That said, that dinky battery pack’s lightness and lowness aid acceleration (hitting 100km/h almost as quickly as the fizzy Cooper S) and handling respectively, resulting in speedy cornering prowess. Fun athleticism is the name of the game here.

The rest is familiar, from the roomy front cabin, tight two-seater rear and short-but-deep boot, to the stylised dash with circular motifs, toggle switches and sturdy build. Add expensive options that should be standard (like adaptive cruise) and a stingy warranty, and this is literally the Mini of EVs.

Mini Cooper SE specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive
Battery: 32.6kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 135kW/270Nm
0-100km/h: 7.3s
Consumption: 16.8kWh/100km
Electric range: 233km
Warranty: 3yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Kia Niro EV from $62,590 (estimated)

White Kia Niro EV

Closely related to the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, the Niro EV brings much of the latter’s technology, but to a larger-bodied and roomier crossover/SUV shape. In other words, something more in line with consumer tastes nowadays.

Also available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid formats, the EV is the first electric vehicle from Kia. It is fitted with the same 64kWh battery as the larger Hyundai Kona SUV, allowing for an impressive range of 455km.

It should take just over a day to recharge using a 10a household outlet, down to under 11 hours with an optional 7kW wall box, eight hours with an 11kW wall box, or about an hour using a higher-flow DC charge station.

Performance is pleasingly punchy, with a quiet, smooth nature. Combined with good driver vision, this is ideally suited for nipping in and out of tight traffic spots. But being front-drive only, sometimes the front wheels do break traction easily in the wet.

With its lofty seating position and roomy interior, the Niro is a comfortable and practical car to live with and drive, and is very much aimed at making the EV experience a family-friendly and easy ownership experience – especially considering Kia’s seven-year warranty.

Kia Niro EV specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive
Battery: 53.4kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 150kW/395Nm
0-100km/h:/th> 7.8s
Consumption: 15.9kWh/100km
Electric range: 455km
Warranty: 7yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: N/A

Hyundai Ioniq 5 from $60,000 (estimated)

Gold Hyundai Ioniq 5

2021’s buzz car, the Ioniq 5 might be Australia’s first true breakthrough EV, with retro-inspired styling, a striking interior, excellent performance, heaps of range and – hopefully – comparatively keen pricing.

Due by September, there will be single-motor, twin-motor, rear-drive and all-wheel drive model permutations, offering either 58kWh or 72.6kWh battery packs, with up to 480km range and getting up to 5.2 seconds to 100km/h.

Hyundai says the Ioniq 5’s 800V architecture means battery charging from 10 to 80 per cent needs under 20 minutes using a 350kW fast charger, with 100km added in five minutes, while an optional roof-mounted solar panel will bring on-the-move charging. Clever. Otherwise, a 7kW wall box should offer full overnight home charging.

About the size of a Toyota RAV4 (though not as high), the Hyundai brings a spacious, versatile and highly-modern interior, a central 12.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system, 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster, an augmented reality head-up display and handy 531-litre cargo capacity – with more available in the front boot. Much of the materials inside are recycled.

Finally, advanced driver-assist technology should make the Ioniq 5 a safety leader. Coupled with anticipated sharp handling and secure road holding to go with its strong performance, Hyundai should be on to a winner.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/rear-drive or AWD
Battery: 58kWh to 72.6kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 125kW to 225kW/350Nm to 605Nm
0-100km/h: 5.2s to 8.5s
Consumption: >16.3kWh/100km
Electric range: <485km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: N/A

Mazda MX-30 EV from $60,000

White Mazda MX-30 EV

Yes, there’s a mild hybrid petrol MX-30; but the pure-EV MX-30 is the more anticipated new release.

Related to the CX-30 – itself a Mazda3 small-car derivative – the MX-30 is a coupe/SUV/crossover aimed at buyers prioritising style over practicality. Hence the fiddly ‘Freestyle’ rear-hinged rear doors and smallish boot for an SUV this size.

Mazda’s lifestyle EV also departs from the EV norm by purposely having a smaller and lighter battery – its 35.5kWh unit is half the size of the Hyundai Ioniq 5’s, for instance. In contrast, the smaller Mercedes EQA weighs almost 300kg more.

The Japanese maker reckons most EV buyers value lower pricing, faster charging, nimbler handling and the reduced carbon footprint that the more-compact battery brings.

An optional 7kW wall box charger will have the MX-30 recharged in 5.5 hours, a 3.7kW 16a outlet in under 10 hours and a regular household socket in 15.5hr. On the flipside, total range is just 200km. That, Mazda argues, is more than sufficient for the overwhelming number of daily commutes.

Like all MX-30s, the five-seater interior is lovely to behold, well-equipped and quite roomy. It isn’t fast, but the Mazda is quiet, comfortable and enjoyable to drive. Plus, it looks distinctive.

Mazda MX-30 EV specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive
Battery: 35.5kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 107kW/271Nm
0-100km/h: 9.7s
Consumption: 17.3kWh
Electric range: 200km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Hyundai Kona EV from $62,000 plus on-road costs

Blue Hyundai Kona

Going electric does double the Kona’s price, but the small SUV impresses with its big (64kWh) battery and powerful (150kW) motor, to deliver excellent range as well as brisk point-to-point acceleration.

Plus, the Kona EV hunkers down to steer, corner and grip with precision.

Recharging from empty using a household outlet can take 28 hours or just 60 minutes to 80 per cent full using a 100kW DC rapid charging station at the other extreme. A $3,000 7kW wall box needs 9.5 hours.

Being a small SUV, space is fine up front if a little tight for legroom in the back, the driving position is high for confident vision and the dash is designed to be as easy and unintimidating as possible.

Compromises do exist compared to the petrol version – including high pricing, a smaller boot (by 29 litres) and a switch from a spare wheel to a tyre-inflation kit – but the Kona EV’s strengths should convert many to electrification.

The 2021 facelift brings a new nose, greater driver-assist safety tech and improved equipment levels – including a digital instrument cluster, wireless phone charging, a rear-view monitor and remote start. There’s also an extra 35km of driving range, to 484km.

Hyundai Kona EV specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive
Battery: 64kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 150kW/395Nm
0-100km/h: 7.6s
Consumption: 14.7kWh/100km
Electric range: 484km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Tesla Model 3 from $62,900 plus on-road costs

Red Tesla Model 3

America’s Model 3 is the most affordable Tesla ever, beginning from nearly $63,000 for the Standard Range Plus single-motor rear-drive, stretching beyond $100,000 for the Performance dual-motor AWD.

Launched in 2019, the four-door sedan arrived three years late and has since dethroned Nissan’s Leaf as history’s best-ever selling EV.

Reasons include strikingly sleek styling, with a modern, minimalist and airy cabin, startling acceleration, searing performance and phenomenally stable and secure handling.

Just as important, 400km-plus of anxiety-minimising real-world range for proper long-distance EV driving is also possible, backed by Tesla’s own ‘Supercharger’ stations which can replenish most of that under one hour. A wall box at home takes about eight hours, or over a day using a regular plug.

The Model 3 may seem basic, but equipment levels are surprisingly high, while the company’s well-publicised Autopilot (for $8,000) brings automatic lane changing, automated parking and adaptive cruise control. Regular over-the-air updates will enable even broader autonomous-driving tech, as future legislation allows.

Downsides include patchy quality, technological glitches, a fiddly tablet interface, heat from the glass roof and limited headroom, but the 2021 models – now from China – are said to be better built.

Tesla Model 3 specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/rear or AWD
Battery: 50-75kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 190-353kW/375-639Nm
0-100km/h: 3.4-5.6s
Consumption: 14.9-16.6kWh/100km
Electric range: 440-580km
Warranty: 4yr/80,000km
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km*
Safety rating: 5 stars

Kia EV6 from $65,000 (estimated)

White Kia EV6

Although the Niro is Kia’s first EV, the EV6 is the brand’s first dedicated one, with no internal combustion engine alternatives.

As such, it rides on the same dedicated e-GMP electric architecture underpinnings as the stunning Hyundai Ioniq 5, but with its own body. Sales are set to commence in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Like the ‘5’, two battery choices are offered – 58kWh or 72.6kWh, in rear- or all-wheel drive, with up to 440km of range. All EV6s are brisk, but 2022’s GT is claimed to hit 100km/h in just 3.5 seconds, on the way to a 260km/h top speed.

The EV6 includes e-GMP’s 800-volt technology, facilitating fast charging, to around 20 minutes if you find a 350kW DC station. An 7kW wall box should up that to around 12 hours, or expect at least a day using a 10a plug at home/work.

The EV6’s interior is as premium-looking as the swoopy medium-sized SUV’s exterior, dominated by a wide double-screen design incorporating multimedia and instrumentation, much like most of today’s Mercedes models.

Factor in ample space, generous equipment levels, leading safety and progressive good looks, and Kia’s first dedicated EV ought to make a big impact.

Kia EV6 specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/rear-drive or AWD
Battery: 58kWh to 72.6kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 125kW to 225kW/350Nm to 605Nm
0-100km/h: 5.0s to 8.5s
Consumption: N/A
Electric range: <440km
Warranty: 7yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: N/A

Lexus UX300e from $70,000 (estimated)

Blue Lexus UX 300e

Set for a late-2021 launch, the UX300e will be Lexus’ first all-electric model, after nearly 20 years of specialising in petrol-electric hybrids.

Aimed directly at the Mercedes-Benz EQA, it is touted as the “performance flagship” of the popular premium small SUV range, and as such features a 150kW/300Nm electric motor capable of hitting 100km/h from standstill in 7.5 seconds.

Fitted with a 54.3kWh lithium-ion battery, some 315km of driving range is possible, while using a fast charger should take about an hour to replenish. A circa-$3,000 garage wall box drops that to under nine hours, or around 24 hours with a 10-amp household socket.

Initial impressions suggest a brisk, smooth and quiet high-riding compact luxury crossover, backed up by light steering and confident handling. The interior reflects the lofty pricing, with exquisitely built materials and a real luxury ambience. However, rear-seat space is tight for a so-called SUV and the boot is comparatively small.

Still, with its attractive styling, urban-friendly proportions and sumptuous cabin, the UX300e has the ability and quality to make the Lexus brand proud. If only the (much faster, sportier and sharper) Tesla Model 3’s interior was as salubriously finished as this.

Lexus UX300e specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive
Battery: 53.4kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 150kW/300Nm
0-100km/h: 7.5s
Consumption: 14kWh/100km
Electric range: 315km
Warranty: 4yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 10yr/1,000,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

BMW i3s 120Ah from $71,900 plus on-road costs

Red BMW i3s

BMW’s i3 hatch has never caught on, despite winning awards and up until recently being offered with an optional tiny scooter engine to quell concerns about EV range. The latter, along with high prices, low equipment levels and strange styling, have kept buyers away.

Now purely EV-only, the racier i3s brings nearly twice the battery capacity than the 2014 original, with a bigger motor providing a heady rush of strong, silent acceleration and speed. In about 45 minutes an 80 percent of charge is possible at a 50kW DC fast-charging station. A 7kW wall box at home takes around eight hours, extending to nearly 20 hours using a normal household outlet.

BMW fans should revel in the i3s’ sharp steering responses that enable pin-point handling and plenty of reassuring control. The interior, meanwhile, is still beautifully designed and executed, with lofty seating, outstanding vision and lovely materials.

On the flipside, the i3s’ range – though better than ever – still trails cheaper mainstream alternatives, the hard suspension results in a bumpy ride and the rear-hinged side doors are a nuisance to use as they require the front ones to open first. Throw in a small cargo area and poor warranty and this four-seater is strictly for urbane singles/couples only.

BMW i3s 120Ah specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/rear drive
Battery: 42.2kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 135kW/270Nm
0-100km/h: 6.9s
Consumption: 16.1kWh/100km
Electric range: 283km
Warranty: 3yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/100,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 from $76,800

White MB EQA

Aimed squarely at the market for the Tesla Model Y and Volvo XC40 Recharge, the EQA is a high-riding hatchback crossover. But like the latter, it is not built on a dedicated EV platform.

Right now, only the EQA 250 model is available, with its 140kW/375Nm motor offering modest performance. Mercedes says it’s tuned this for maximum efficiency. Range is rated at 426km.

Find a DC fast charger station with 100kW capacity charging and the EQA 250 can be replenished from 10 to 80 per cent capacity in 30 minutes or four hours with an optional 11kW wall box at home/work.

The EQA pretty much lifts the GLA’s huge 10.25-inch touchscreen dashboard wholesale, and that’s no bad thing. Cabin space is reasonable, but the 340-litre cargo capacity is substantially below many rivals. And there’s no additional boot space where the petrol/diesel engines once were.

Standard EQA 250 items include adaptive damping and a dynamic steering mode (promoting best-possible ride and handling characteristics), while a whole array of driver-assist safety systems is also fitted.

Mercedes is offering three-years access to Chargefox chargers. It is also the only German brand with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive
Battery: 66.5kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 140kW/375Nm 
0-100km/h: 8.9s
Consumption: 16.2kWh
Electric range: 426km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: N/A

Tesla Model Y from $80,000 (estimated)

Blue Tesla Model Y

Though based on the compact Model 3 sedan, the Model Y is longer, taller and wider, putting it firmly in the medium-SUV size bracket.

Due sometime in 2021, two grades with dual motors will be offered – the Long Range with 505km of range and the flagship Performance, dropping range down to 480km but capable of exceeding 240km/h. Highlighting the Y’s sporty focus, acceleration is strong right from the get-go, backed up by sharp handling and exceptional all-weather grip.

Tesla’s Supercharger Network of EV stations can provide hundreds of kilometres of charge in about one hour, or otherwise it increases to 1.5 days plugged in at home, around 12 hours using an optional 7kW home wall box, or a few hours at a public charging facility.

Like the Model 3, the Y adopts the minimalist tablet dashboard look, while deep windows bring a spacious and airy feel. Where fitted, the third row can be laid flat to increase cargo capacity beneath the tailgate.

Options should include Autopilot, bringing automatic lane changing, automated parking and adaptive cruise control, while like all Teslas, over-the-air software updates will also be a feature.

More information, including pricing and specification, will be announced closer to the Y’s on-sale date.

Tesla Model Y specifications
Motor: AC synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/AWD
Battery: 75kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 258-340kW/527-639Nm
0-100km/h: 3.7-5.1s
Consumption: 14.4-15.1kWh/100km
Electric range: 480-505km
Warranty: 4yr/80,000km
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Polestar 2 from $80,000 (estimated)

White Polestar 2

Swedish carmaker Volvo has an in-house EV performance brand called Polestar, with the Polestar 2 confirmed as its first model for Australia.

Expected late 2021, the handsome, spacious and sleek five-door hatchback is taking aim at the super-successful Tesla Model 3, and will have dual electric motors and a 78kWh battery pack, to offer around 470km of range, while also being able to dash to 100km/h from standstill in under five-seconds flat. So, not quite as fast as the American, but not too far off either.

While produced in China, the 2 will be equipped to Volvo’s usual extremely-high safety standards, so will include the latest driver-assist safety equipment and semi-autonomous technology to avoid collisions. The five-seater interior will also be highly specified, reflecting the Polestar’s premium positioning, with plenty of luxury options to help push the price northwards. Cargo capacity is rated at a handy 405 litres.

European data shows that charging using a household plug will take more than 37 hours, or one-third of that with the optional 7kW wall box installation.

Volvo says by 2025 half of its range will be pure EVs and the other half hybrid. The Polestar 2 is only the beginning for the resurgent Swedish marque.

Polestar 2 specifications
Motor: AC synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/AWD
Battery: 78kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 300kW/660Nm*
0-100km/h: 4.7s*
Consumption: 15.4kWh/100km*
Electric range: 470km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited*
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km*
Safety rating: 5 stars

Volvo XC40 Recharge from $90,000 (estimated)

Two Volvo XC40 Recharges

Volvo’s first pure EV is the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric.

Available from August, it supplements the XC40 Recharge plug-in hybrid (PHEV), with a motor on each axle for all-wheel drive and a 72.5kWh battery offering 418km of range.

Combined, both motors produce a very handy 300kW of power and 660Nm of torque, making this one of the fastest SUVs in Volvo’s history.

The electrical hardware within allows for high-flow recharges, with as little as 32 minutes at stations with 151kW DC power. Otherwise, an optional 11kW AC wall box is an overnight job (8.5 hours), or around a day or more with a 10a household plug.

Overseas reviews have praised the XC40’s agility and quietness, but have criticised the suspension as being too hard over bumpy roads.

Solid and sensible, the interior’s highlights include plenty of space, a big cargo area (452-litre capacity – with another 31 litres in the front boot), exceptionally supportive seating and beautiful fit and finishes.

On the other hand, the minimalist approach to the dashboard’s switchgear means drivers might have to dive into several menus within the large tablet touchscreen to locate some functions.

Still, the XC40 Recharge’s pace, space and range put it amongst the best.

Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet (x2)
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/AWD
Battery: 78kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 300kW/660Nm
0-100km/h: 4.9s
Consumption: 17.9kWh
Electric range: 418km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: N/A

Jaguar I-Pace EV400 from $128,248 plus on-road costs

White Jaguar IPace

Until recently Jaguar has mostly been about traditional English sedans. How things change, as the bolt-from-the-blue I-Pace proves.

The sleek five-seater crossover is designed to take on the Tesla Model S, but with more family-orientated SUV packaging. There’s ample space for five adults, sumptuous seating and a massive boot beneath that practical rear hatch, while the high-tech, elegantly styled dash features intuitive controls, tactile materials and plenty of storage.

With an electric motor at each end driving all four wheels, acceleration is startling. With all-wheel drive, carving up corners securely no matter what the weather or road conditions is another I-Pace strength, emphasising the Jaguar’s high-speed balance and control.

Real-world range is around 360km, but that 90kWh battery pack needs up to two days to charge at home, so invest in a circa-$3,000 7kW wall box to slash that back to 12 hours. Public stations with 50kW rapid chargers can manage 270km per hour, or 400km/hr using the rare 100kW outlets.

Downsides include some un-premium plastics inside, poor rear vision and expensive options. Still, the I-Pace has catapulted Jaguar to the pointy end of the EV world.

Jaguar I-Pace specifications
Motor: AC synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/AWD
Battery: 90kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 249kW/696Nm
0-100km/h: 4.8s
Consumption: 20kWh/100km
Electric range: 470km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

BMW iX3 from $130,000 (estimated)

White BMW iX3

An electrified version of the popular X3 medium-sized SUV, the iX3 will arrive in Australia late in 2022.

With BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive technology, a 210kW/400Nm electric motor drives the rear wheels only, for a spirited 0-100km/h sprint time of just 6.8 seconds and a 180km/h top speed.

Conversely, up to 460km of range is promised from an underfloor-sited 80kWh battery, with regenerative braking technology harnessing otherwise spent energy to help recharge that while on the move. If you find a public 150kW DC fast charger, the iX3’s battery pack can be replenished to 80 per cent in 34 minutes – or else the optional 11kW wallbox (costing several thousand dollars extra from BMW) needs eight hours, or around 24 hours-plus using a household 10a socket.

Otherwise, the iX3 is as-per the existing X3, boasting a spacious and practical interior with ample room for five occupants, as well as high quality materials. BMW’s latest OS 7.0 multimedia system will be fitted, capable of over-the-air updates. A special technology pipes in changeable ‘driving manoeuvre’ sounds through the audio system. Passenger comfort benefits from adaptive dampers that prioritise softness.

This is also the first BMW sold in Australia to be built in China.

BMW iX3 specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/rear drive
Battery: 80kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 210kW/400Nm
0-100km/h: 6.8s
Consumption: 17.8kWh/100km
Electric range: 460km
Warranty: 3yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Tesla Model S from $134,700 plus on-road costs

Red Tesla Model S

Gamechanger, disruptor, revolutionary, whatever it’s labelled, the Model S’ influence has profoundly reshaped luxury and performance motoring since launching locally in 2014.

Continuously improved with ever-evolving tech including the AutoPilot semi-autonomous driving system (where allowed), the head-turning five-door liftback also unshackled the EV from its urban tether.

Nowadays it offers more than 660km in Long Range grade, or, if desired, Ferrari-shaming neck-snapping acceleration in new tri-motor Plaid guise. Scalextric-like handling and road-holding will embarrass some Porsches too.

Electric motors at both ends drive such dynamic responses, fed by a huge 95kWh battery pack that needs nearly 50 hours using a home plug, more than 15 hours with an available 7kW wall box or half that with a 22kW outlet. Meanwhile, Tesla’s Supercharging Network demolishes these times down to between 30 minutes and 75 minutes, depending on how much power is going through.

Always roomy and airy with an enormous amount of luggage space, the interior was completely redesigned for 2021, with a new dash, better quality materials, improved rear seating and a jet-fighter-style quartic steering wheel.

Whether Long Range, Plaid or Plaid+, the Model S still demonstrates the potential and ease of EV ownership with breathtaking conviction.

Tesla Model S Long Range (Plaid+ in brackets) specifications
Motor: AC synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/AWD
Battery: 95kWh (120kWh) Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 500kW/>750Nm (820kW/>1000Nm)
0-100km/h: 3.2s (2.1s)
Consumption: N/A
Electric range: 663km (840km)
Warranty: 4yr/80,000km
Battery warranty: 8yr/240,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Audi e-tron SUV from $137,100 plus on-road costs

Blue Audi etron SUV

Though late to the EV party, Audi’s e-tron is a progressive medium-sized luxury SUV.

Two battery-pack models are available – the 230kW/540Nm 50 with 71kWh and 300kW/664Nm 55 with 95kWh. Located on each axle, a pair of electric motors drive all four wheels.

Both grades offer silent, stirring and instantaneous acceleration responses, as well as competent steering and excellent roadholding capabilities, but the 55 is more-closely aligned with the (smaller) Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC rivals in terms of range and performance (436km versus the 50’s 300km).

Helpfully, the Audi can accommodate the coming 150kW-plus ultra-rapid chargers, allowing a refill in 50 minutes. As it stands, standard home plugs need almost two days, and a 7kW wall box option take around 14 hours, while fast-charge stations can supply about 200km in 75 minutes. All are typical big-battery EV charging times.

The e-tron’s rich interior looks and feels expensive, and operates beautifully, with several screens including a pair replacing conventional exterior mirrors. There’s an abundance of space and practicality, a massive boot, air suspension for a cocooning ride and a host of driver-assist safety systems. However, Audi’s warranty is behind industry standards and options are expensive.

Audi is offering six years of free public charging, scheduled servicing and roadside assistance.

Audi e-tron 50 (55 in brackets) specifications
Motor: AC synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/AWD
Battery: 71kWh/95kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 230kW/540Nm (300kW/664Nm)
0-100km/h: 6.8s (5.7s)
Consumption: 23.6kWh/100km (22kWh/100km)
Electric range: 300km (436km)
Warranty: 3yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 from $141,400 plus on-road costs

White MB EQC

Surprisingly Mercedes’ first EV in Australia, the EQC is based on the GLC medium SUV, but shares no body or interior panels.

Designed to be highly functional and user-friendly, it seats five people comfortably, boasts a large cargo area and is packed with equipment, backed up by a full array of driver-assist safety.

With a combined 300kW/760Nm from two electric motors, the EQC is a feverish performer, sprinting off the line with seamless urge for something so large. Furthermore, the electric Benz transcends its size or mass through tight turns, thanks to a low centre of gravity, light but responsive steering and sophisticated suspension. The result is incredibly flat and composed handling.

Another highlight is the EQC’s brilliant refinement, pampering its occupants in isolated luxury even over bad or bumpy roads. If only most Mercedes rode this well.

As with all high-capacity battery packs, the German EV needs nearly two days to fully recharge from empty using a regular household outlet, 12 hours with an optional 7kW wall box or about 1.5 hours with the super-rapid 110kW stations (if you can find one).

Throw in a decent warranty, and the EQC is an exceptionally well-considered first EV effort for Mercedes. Expensive options aside, there’s much to recommend.

Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 specifications
Motor: AC synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/AWD
Battery: 80kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 300kW/760Nm
0-100km/h: 5.1s
Consumption: 21.4kWh/100km
Electric range: 417km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Audi e-tron SUV Sportback from $148,100 plus on-road costs

Silver Audi Sportback

BMW has made a fortune turning the boxy X5 SUV into the swoopier X6 SUV coupe, and Audi hopes for similar dividends with the e-tron Sportback – an e-tron SUV but with a sleek five-door liftback shape, 20mm less headroom and shallower luggage area. Other than that, the two e-trons are virtually identical under the skin.

This means two battery-pack models – the 50’s 71kWh and more powerful 55’s 95kWh, as well as an electric motor on each axle, for reassuring all-wheel drive grip.

The Sportback is identically refined yet rapid off the line (especially the sprightlier 55), providing a quiet and calm driving experience, backed up by slightly sharper steering for more-involving cornering, according to overseas reports. Meanwhile, the standard air suspension balances fine control and a comfy ride; along with the sumptuous cabin, it is consistent with Audi’s luxury reputation.

Both e-trons offer the same 150kW-plus ultra-rapid charge capability for 50-minute refills or an optional 7kW wall box (14 hours), in lieu of the 48 hours needed using a normal home socket or several hours at a public EV station.

The Sportback’s warranty is meagre too, but Audi is offering six years of free public charging, scheduled servicing and roadside assistance.

Audi e-tron 50 Sportback (55 in brackets) specifications
Motor: AC synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/AWD
Battery: 71kWh (95kWh) Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 230kW/540Nm (300kW/664Nm)
0-100km/h: 6.8s (5.7s)
Consumption: 23.2kWh/100km (22.7kWh/100km)
Electric range: 347km (446km)
Warranty: 3yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Tesla Model X from $159,400 plus on-road costs

White Tesla Model X

Billed as the world’s safest SUV, the striking Model X is heavily derived from the Model S liftback sedan.

Available in five or seven-seater formats, there is a massive amount of space inside, while accessing the expansive cabin’s third row via the novel gullwing ‘Falcon Wing’ doors is easy.

The dash is largely Model S-derived, meaning that the cabin was completely overhauled for 2021, with a new dash, better quality materials, improved rear seating and a jet-fighter-style quartic steering wheel.

With an electric motor on each axle for all-wheel drive, the Model X has no problem getting its prodigious power to the ground, for brutally muscular yet silky performance. The tri-motor Plaid breaks SUV acceleration records. It also corners as if magnetised to the road, backed up by pleasingly cushy suspension.

As per the Model S, recharging takes time – using a regular household plug needs about 50 hours, the optional 7kW wall box cuts that to 15 hours, or nearly eight hours via a 22kW plug, while Tesla’s Supercharging Network cuts these times down to between 23 minutes and 57 minutes, depending on how much power is going through.

The styling is controversial and pricing can be stratospheric, but the Model X is arguably the world’s most interesting SUV.

Tesla Model X Long Range (Plaid in brackets) specifications
Motor: AC synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/AWD
Battery: 95kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 500kW/>750Nm (760kW/>1000Nm)
0-100km/h: 3.9s (2.6s)
Consumption: N/A
Electric range: 580km (547km)
Warranty: 4yr/80,000km
Battery warranty: 8yr/240,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

BMW iX from $160,000 (estimated)

Gold BMW iX

Look out, Audi e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC and Jaguar I-Pace, because the BMW iX is coming for you.

Out later this year in two models – 270kW xDrive40 and 370kW xDrive50 – the large SUV will be positioned as the brand’s electrified flagship.

Ushering in BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive drivetrain and aided by excellent aerodynamics, the xDrive40 can hit 100km/h in 6.2 seconds while its big brother manages that in 4.8s. All-wheel drive helps keep this performance in check.

The xDrive40 is fitted with a 70kWh battery, allowing a range of more than 400km, some 200km shy of the xDrive50 (boasting a 110kWh pack). A 200kW fast charger offers 80 per cent capacity in under 45 minutes, or the optional 11kW home wallbox to full in about 12 hours.

The iX employs a lightweight aluminium spaceframe and a carbon-fibre ‘safety cage’, aiding efficiency whilst making it more secure on the road.

To maximise cabin space, the iX banishes the central transmission tunnel. Other features include a hexagonal steering wheel, 14.9-inch touchscreen powered by BMW’s latest OS 7.0 operating system claimed to be world-beating for clarity and ease, 12.3-inch digital instrumentation cluster and sustainable materials throughout.

BMW iX xDrive50 specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/AWD
Battery: 110kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 370kW
0-100km/h: 4.8s
Consumption: 20.5kWh/100km
Electric range: >600km
Warranty: 3yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: N/A

Audi e-tron GT from $170,000 (estimated)

Blue Audi e-tron

Sharing 40 per cent of its parts with the Porsche Taycan (including the same platform), the e-tron GT is a high-performance luxury four-seater EV sedan that comes in two flavours – comfortable GT and hardcore RS.

The 350kW/630Nm GT is fitted with a 93.4kWh battery paired to an 800-volt system that can slash charging to under 30 minutes at ultra-high-flow stations, or five minutes for around 100km of range. Expect up to 487km between charges.

Otherwise, it’s nine hours and 30 minutes with the standard 11kW AC inverter, or just over five hours with the optional 22kW inverter.

With a 440kW/830Nm upgrade, the RS is the fastest-ever Audi production car, and includes a short-boost launch-control mode that briefly makes 390kW, for a 0-100km/h burst in 2.5 seconds.

There are two electric motors – one producing 175kW up front and a 320kW unit on the rear axle (335kW in RS), and it also features four-wheel steering for improved high-speed stability.

Recycled materials make up much of the lavishly crafted interior, but the boot capacity is a disappointing 405 litres, though an additional 85L of storage is available up front.

Audi is offering six years of free public charging, scheduled servicing and roadside assistance.

Audi e-tron GT specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet
Transmission/drive: 1-speed direct drive (front), 2-speed (rear)/AWD
Battery: 93.4kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 350kW to 440kW/630Nm to 830Nm
0-100km/h: 3.3s to 4.1s
Consumption: >19.6kWh/100km
Electric range: <487km
Warranty: 3yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: N/A

Porsche Taycan from $190,400 plus on-road costs

Image of silver Porsche Taycan

Porsche’s first EV is also one of Australia’s most expensive.

All Taycans are all-wheel drive, with an electric motor on each axle. The 4S uses a 79.2kWh battery pack or optional 93.4kWh ‘dual-deck’ item that’s standard on the others to extend range. Offering fierce acceleration, top speed is limited to 250km/h, aided by exceptionally fine aerodynamics.

Porsche claims the Taycan leverages its storied sports car engineering knowhow, with sophisticated steering and computer-controlled suspension components for high-speed handling and roadholding prowess, while leading braking and driver-assist safety tech help keep the performance EV in control.

At nearly five metres long, the slinky Taycan emulates the Tesla Model S’ shape, seats four in cosseting comfort and includes front and rear luggage compartments.

Currently, the Taycan is alone with an 800V electrical system – double that of other EVs – which gives it high-flow capacity from the coming ultra-rapid charging stations for incredibly fast top-ups. 100km is achievable in five minutes. For now, 36.5 hours is needed plugging in at home, or 11.5 hours with a 7kW wall box; a fast-charge station can bring 240km in an hour, or more than 500km in 30 minutes if a rare 100kW-plus rapid outlet is available.

A beautiful five-door Cross Turismo wagon/crossover version joined the range, in 4S and Turbo guises, offering increased practicality.

Porsche Taycan specifications
Motor: AC synchronous electric
Transmission/drive: Two-speed /AWD
Battery: 79.2 or 93.4kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 320-460kW/640-1050Nm
0-100km/h: 2.8s to 4.0s
Consumption: 19.5 to 22.3kWh/100km
Electric range: 407 to 450km
Warranty: 3yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars

Mercedes-Benz EQS from $200,000 (estimated)

Silver MB EQS

Look out, Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan, the EQS is Mercedes-Benz’s visionary EV limo – as well as the most aerodynamic production sedan in history.

The range starts off with the rear-drive EQS450+, powered by a 245kW/568Nm rear-mounted electric motor, for 6.2 seconds to 100km/h (on the way to 210km/h) and range of up to an outstanding 770km.

The EQS580 adds a front-mounted motor for all-wheel drive and outputs of 385kW/855Nm, for a rapid 4.3-second sprint to 100km/h.

Both models use a 107.8kWh battery, support 22kW AC charging, taking five hours to fully recharge at a high-flow recharge station, while 200kW DC fast-charging will have your EQS 80 per cent full in 31 minutes – that’s 300km of electricity in just 15 minutes. Regenerative braking too replenishes the battery on the move.

Like the Tesla, the 5.2-metre-long EQS is a liftback, swallowing 610 litres or 1770L with the rear seats folded. Further forward, the dash debuts Mercedes’ vaunted Hyperscreen, which almost stretches the width of the cabin. It’s the last word in immersive multimedia…for now.

Semi-autonomous technology, over-the-air updates, remote parking via your smartphone and other features also help justify the EQS’ lofty pricing.

Sales start in December.

Mercedes-Benz EQS specifications
Motor: Synchronous electric permanent-magnet
Transmission/drive: Single-speed reduction gear/front drive or AWD
Battery: 107.8kWh Lithium Ion
Power/torque: 245kW-385kW/568Nm-855Nm
0-100km/h: 4.3s-6.2s
Consumption: 16-20kWh
Electric range: <770km
Warranty: 5yr/unlimited
Battery warranty: 8yr/160,000km
Safety rating: N/A

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Last updated: April 2021