Six game-changing EVs we hope will come to Australia

New model grey EV parked with back-side view.

Tim Nicholson

Posted October 21, 2020

Fast, fabulous and just a bit kooky. We eye off the new breed of cool EVs hitting overseas markets.

Electric vehicle sales are on the rise and there’s no shortage of new EVs on the horizon for Australian buyers. Premium marques are leading the charge, with Audi set to release more e-tron models here soon, while BMW’s iX3 and Volvo’s XC40 Recharge Pure Electric are due to hit local showrooms next year. Mainstream brands Nissan, Ford and Mazda are sizing up their EVs for Australia too.

But it’s beyond 2021 that things start to get really interesting as a clutch of ground-breaking EVs are confirmed for release in ‘mature’ EV markets including the United States and China. When or even if these next-generation EVs make it to Australia is unclear, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hope. Here are six game-changing EVs we can’t wait to arrive on our shores.

Six game-changing EVs

Fisker Ocean 

The first ‘new’ Fisker Inc model (after Henrik Fisker’s 2007 launch and 2013 bankruptcy) is the Ocean SUV, unveiled back in January. Fisker claims its Ocean is the world’s most sustainable vehicle thanks to its optional full-length solar roof, vegan interior, use of discarded rubber waste in tyre manufacturing and an interior trim derived from polyester fibres, recycled bottles and plastic.

The Ocean’s driving range will be 400 to 480 kilometres and the 80kWh battery can take 320 kilometres of charge in 30 minutes. Expect rear and all-wheel-drive versions and a 0-to-100kmh sprint of less than three seconds.

Party trick: The Ocean’s signature party trick is California Mode. When activated, nine glass windows and panels, including the rear windscreen and sunroof, lower to create an open-air cabin, while maintaining the roll cage for safety. It will also come with augmented-reality features, haptic touch buttons and ‘immersive digital experiences’.

Down-under debut? Henrik Fisker confirmed last year that the Ocean would be coming to Australia (yay), but timing is uncertain. 

Lotus Evija

British sportscar marque Lotus has had a tumultuous decade of ownership changes and financial strife. But with a cash injection from new owners, Chinese giant Geely, it has now developed the bonkers Evija all-electric hypercar – a word used to describe vehicles with performance figures that make a Lamborghini Aventador look like a Fiat 500. Case in point – the Evija has four electric motors pumping out an insane 1470kW of power and 1700Nm of torque. This helps propel it from 0 to 100kmh in less than three seconds, or 0 to 300kmh in less than nine seconds. At 1750 kilograms, Lotus says it will be the world’s lightest electric hypercar and its driving range is about 346 kilometres. Just 130 examples will be built and at least three have reportedly been snapped up by wealthy Australian buyers.

Party trick: The Evija has ‘butterfly’ doors with no handles. Instead the doors are opened using the key fob.

Down-under debut? Good luck getting your name on that list. 

Lucid Air

Every year a new ‘Tesla killer’ hits car showrooms. The latest is the Lucid Air – and it’s probably the strongest contender for the title to date. Consider the stats: the Air has a driving range of 832 kilometres – well up on the current production leader, Tesla’s Model S Long Range Plus (647 kilometres). The dual-motor, all-wheel-drive Air pumps out 805kW – more than double Audi’s V10-powered R8 supercar. The 0-to-100kmh sprint is over in about 2.5 seconds. Lucid says it can take 300kW of fast charge, more than any other EV on the market. 

The sleek Air sedan is the most aerodynamic luxury car in the world, its maker says. The tech-packed cabin has a massive 34-inch curved-glass digital instrument cluster that appears to float above the dash, and 32 sensors that will work with future driverless vehicle systems. 

Party trick: Incredibly, it can charge 500 kilometres of range in just 20 minutes using a DC charger.

Down-under debut? Lucid Motors has committed to building the Air in right-hand drive for the UK market, but an Australian arrival hasn’t been locked in. 

GMC Hummer driving on a rock mountain

The GMC Hummer boasts modernised military styling, while pick-up versions will have a removable roof.

Rivian R1T and R1S

Slick branding, distinctive design and the promise of go-anywhere motoring have made US company Rivian the most buzzed EV brand right now. It beat Tesla, GM and Ford to the punch with an all-electric pick-up, challenging anyone who questions EV prowess to think again. The R1T’s range is about 640 kilometres, it puts out 560kW of power and 1124Nm of torque, ensuring a 0-to-100kmh dash of about three seconds, and can tow up to five tonnes. To compare, the massive Chevrolet Silverado can tow 4.5 tonnes from its 6.2-litre V8 and takes twice as long to hit 100kmh.

Party trick: The R1T can even do a ‘tank turn’ – a 360-degree turn on the spot, and has a gear tunnel under the rear seats that can be opened from both sides of the vehicle and can be fitted with a camp kitchen. Seriously. 

Down-under debut? Rivian reportedly plans to launch the R1T and its R1S SUV twin in Australia in 2022 at the earliest. 

GMC Hummer 

General Motors killed off the Hummer brand after the Global Financial Crisis, but it’s being resurrected as an EV sub-brand of GMC. Set to rival the Rivian R1T, Tesla’s Cybertruck and the upcoming Ford F-150 EV, GMC says the Hummer has a driving range of 563 kilometres.

With up to 746kW of power, 1085Nm of torque and covering 0 to 100kmh in about three seconds, the reborn Hummer boasts modernised military styling, while pick-up versions will have a removable roof.

As well as underbody armour to protect the battery in extreme off-road conditions, the Hummer has front and rear underbody cameras beamed onto the massive interior screens to help drivers navigate obstacles. 

Party trick: Crab Mode uses the four-wheel steering system to point all four wheels in the same direction to allow for diagonal travel. Very cool. 

Down-under debut? The Hummer’s Australian future is uncertain, but watch this space.

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla nearly broke the internet late last year when it revealed the Cybertruck. The US EV specialist had always said it was going to build a full-size pick-up truck, but no one expected it to look like something from Blade Runner

The Cybertruck is made from ultra-hard 30x cold-rolled stainless steel and a monochrome exoskeleton that Tesla says helps eliminate dents, damage and long-term corrosion. It also has ultra-strong armour glass, although the glass famously smashed when the company tried to demonstrate how unbreakable it was at the global reveal. Driving range is between 400 and 800 kilometres depending on how many motors you opt for. Its 6.3-tonne towing capacity edges out the Rivian.  

Party trick: The Cybertruck has a ‘magic’ tonneau cover that Tesla says can withstand the weight of a person standing on it.

Down-under debut? Australian Cybertruck fans can put down a deposit now, but it’s not clear when deliveries will start. It’s also uncertain if the big pick-up’s radical styling will have to be tweaked to adhere to Australian Design Rules.