Electric vehicles you’ll be driving in 2019

Moving Well | Tim Nicholson | Posted on 25 May 2019

Australia is hopping on board the electric vehicle bandwagon.

Australians have taken a while to warm to the idea of battery electric vehicles (BEV), but 2019 is a key year in the rollout of green automotive alternatives.

Much of Western Europe has embraced electric vehicles, largely on the back of increasingly strict emissions regulations that have forced car-makers to redeploy their development spend from large-capacity petrol and diesel engines in favour of smaller, more efficient internal combustion engines, and zero-emission electric powertrains.

Countries such as the Netherlands introduced consumer incentives, including the exemption of registration and road taxes, years ago to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles (EV). The country also has the highest ratio of charging points to electric vehicles in the world.

A sky blue electric Hyundai vehicle is driving towards us on a an empty road

 

China, Japan, and parts of the United States and Canada all have incentive programs and a growing charging network, but Australia is still well behind, with the federal government not offering any buyer incentives or support for charging infrastructure.

Most major car-makers have announced their global electrification strategy and many of them have committed to offering zero-emission vehicles in Australia.

EVs are expected to remain more expensive than their petrol or diesel counterparts for at least a few years to come, but many industry observers point to mid-next decade as the ‘tipping point’ when an EV will likely cost the same as an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle.

Judging by new-vehicle sales, Australians still love a petrol engine, and the rise of dual-cab utes proves that they also love a big diesel engine.

But interest in EVs is slowly growing. We have detailed a list of what EVs to expect in dealerships in 2019.

EVs to expect to see available in 2019


Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai is powering ahead with its electrification plans. Last year, the bullish Korean car-maker launched what is currently the most affordable fully electric vehicle available in Australia – the $44,990 (plus on-road costs) Ioniq Electric.

The company followed this up with the launch of the Kona Electric in March this year. Based on the Kona small SUV, the Kona Electric is offered in Elite ($59,990) and Highlander ($64,490) guise and is packed with standard comfort and safety features

The Kona Electric is powered by a 150kW/395Nm electric motor paired with a 356-volt lithium-ion polymer battery with a capacity of 64 kilowatt hours. It has a driving range of 449 kilometres on the ‘real-world’ Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which is more than its cheaper Ioniq stablemate (230 kilometres).

It might be expensive for a small SUV, particularly given the top-of-the-range petrol-powered Kona is $20,000 cheaper, but it is much more affordable than the premium electric offerings expected this year.

Jaguar I-Pace

The Jaguar I-Pace technically launched in December last year, but deliveries ramped up at the start of 2019.

The all-electric crossover has won dozens of international accolades since its launch, most notably World Car of the Year, and it has been widely praised for its striking design and its sporty performance.

In Australia, the I-Pace ranges in price from $119,000 to $159,700, which is double the cost of the more mainstream Hyundai Kona Electric.

The I-Pace is powered by two permanent magnet synchronous electric motors mounted on opposing axles, which drives all four wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission.

It can dash from 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds and has an impressive 470 kilometres of driving range, according to real-world WLTP standards.

A sky blue Hyundai Kona Electric is parked side on on white sand against a clear sky

The Hyundai Kona Electric.


A white Nissan LEAF vehicle is parked front in at sunset in front of the ocean

The Nissan Leaf.


 

Mercedes Benz EQC

Mercedes-Benz will ramp up its electrified offerings in the coming years with seven new models that will fall under its recently launched ‘EQ’ electric vehicle umbrella.

First cab off the rank will be the EQC medium SUV that will hit Australian shores in October this year. Pricing and specification is yet to be announced, but it is likely to slip in under $150,000.

The EQC will compete against Tesla’s pioneering Model X SUV that has been on sale in Australia since early 2017 as well as the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi’s forthcoming e-tron.

Mercedes-Benz Australia says it is holding a significant number of pre-orders for the EQC, meaning anyone who orders one now will have to wait until 2020 for delivery.

The EQC’s dual-motor setup delivers 300kW of power and 765Nm of torque. Its 80kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides more than 400 kilometres of driving range on the WLTP standard.

Nissan Leaf

The world’s best-selling EV, the Nissan Leaf, will launch in second-generation guise in Australia in August this year.

Going on sale almost two years after it was revealed, the new Leaf will face a level of competition that its predecessor did not have to contend with.

Under the skin is a 110kW/320Nm electric motor and a 40kWh battery pack that makes for 270 kilometres of driving range on the WLTP standard.

Pricing is set at $49,990 plus on-road costs, which is $10,000 more than the old model, but $10,000 cheaper than the Kona Electric.

 

A navy blue Tesla X model drives down a city street
A white Tesla Model X with its doors opening up rather than out

The Tesla Model X is already available for purchase in Victoria.


Tesla Model 3

Arguably one of the most anticipated new-model launches this year, the Tesla Model 3 will hit Australian showrooms in “winter”, according to a Tweet from the Californian company’s founder, Elon Musk.

Unveiled in prototype guise in April 2016, the wait for the Model 3 has pushed out due to production delays at the company’s Fremont, California manufacturing facility. Pitched as the company’s affordable electric car, pricing is yet to be confirmed, but it is expected to start at around $50,000 – well under Tesla’s larger and more premium Model S and X offerings.

Tesla claims that the Model 3 has a WLTP driving range of at least 530 kilometres, easily beating all of the other EV models launching this year. 

Owners benefit from access to Tesla’s supercharger network that runs from outside of Adelaide in South Australia all the way up the eastern seaboard to the Sunshine Coast. A recharge takes 30 minutes, according to Tesla.

A bright blue Renault Zoe on a city street

The Renault Zoe is already available throughout Victoria.



New EVs launching in early 2020


 

Audi e-tron

Audi’s e-tron SUV was set for a 2019 launch but the company has confirmed that it will now lob Down Under in early 2020.

The German car-maker has not yet confirmed pricing, but it will compete directly with the Jaguar I-Pace, Mercedes-Benz EQC and the Tesla Model X.

The e-tron features two electric motors with a combined system output of 265kW/561Nm, and a 95kWh battery, ensuring a WLTP driving range of 400 kilometres.

Kia e-Niro and Soul EV

Kia will launch not one but two BEVs next year and it is using its sponsorship of the Australian Open Tennis Championship as a marketing tool.

The car-maker will introduce the all-electric e-Niro, which is a small SUV that is offered in other markets as a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid, as well as an electric version of the boxy new-generation Soul hatch.

Kia says the e-Niro has a driving range of 455 kilometres for the long-range version and 312 kilometres for the standard version. It is unclear which one Australia will get.

MG eZS

China is positioning itself as an electric vehicle superpower, with most of its domestic brands already rolling out EVs as part of the country’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.

Famed British brand MG, which is now owned by China’s biggest automotive player, SAIC, will add an all-electric version of its ZS small SUV to its range in early 2020.

The eZS is likely to become Australia’s cheapest EV when it lands next year, with reports suggesting that the brand is targeting a circa-$30,000 pricetag.

Other BEVs already on sale in Victoria


 

Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Renault Zoe, Renault Kangoo van.