RACV’s EV of the year over $65,000 for 2020
Of the seven models in the over-$65,000 category, the Jaguar I-Pace came out on top with a final score of 52 points. The Jag won a swag of international awards when it launched in 2018 and despite competition from newer models, it’s still at the top of the pack. It beat out the Audi e-tron, BMW i3s, Mercedes-Benz EQC and three Teslas – the Model 3, Model S and Model X.
An impressive warranty and servicing offer that includes free servicing for five years or 200,000 kilometres elevated it above its rivals, while safety was also a strong point for the I-Pace. The $128,248 (before on-road costs) Jag scored second in the group for value for money behind the Tesla Model 3, which starts at $68,425 before on-roads.
The I-Pace lives up to the Jaguar brand promise of being a true driver’s car. It’s engineered for dynamic and engaging driving and only the Tesla Model 3 and Model S scored higher in this regard.
The Model S Long Range Plus AWD scored second in the over-$65,000 category with 49 points. It’s the oldest model here having launched locally in 2014, but is still a seriously impressive car. It topped the scoring for driving range and charging with its 652-kilometre range. Tesla benefits from over-the-air (wireless) updates so while the bones of the car might age, the tech certainly doesn’t.
The Tesla Model 3 small sedan tied for third place with the recently released Audi e-tron SUV. While they are very different vehicles, each excelled in certain areas. The Audi for safety and interior space and comfort – a traditional Audi strong point – and the Tesla for drive impressions and value.
Next came the Mercedes-Benz EQC that launched a year ago and is similar in size, price and specification to both the Audi and Jag. It’s a high-quality offering with an exceptional interior and good driving dynamics, but was just pipped by the others.
Tesla’s Model X SUV offers ample interior space, but it’s a quirky offering with some unusual features, such as the falcon-wing doors. It scored highly for drive impressions and range but lacks the refinement of some of the other models.
The BMW i3s finished last in this category, which again is no indication of the quality of the car. While the i3 is the second-oldest model here behind the Tesla Model S, and lacks some of the features found in the others, it remains a trailblazer and a true eco car. It’s built in a carbon-neutral factory and features dozens of recycled and natural materials. It’s also a real joy to drive.
For full scoring details click here.
The scoring, explained
For consistency and fairness, we have included only the entry-level variant of each model. Several models, including the three Teslas and the Audi e-tron, are available in higher-grade variants that have greater battery capacity and, in some cases, driving range. Other models such as the two Hyundais and the Jaguar I-Pace are offered with higher specification grades but the same powertrain. The remaining models are available in one variant only.
Porsche’s hotly anticipated Taycan is technically available to order in Australia now, but the delivery of first customer vehicles isn’t until early next year so it was not included. The Renault Zoe was also excluded because it was discontinued in Australia, although there are still some examples for sale at dealers.
As well as analysing and comparing the stats of each EV, RACV senior motoring journalist and Australia’s Best Cars judge Tim Nicholson has tested each of these vehicles separately over the past two-and-a-half years.
The driving-range figures used are the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), provided by the manufacturers. Many factors affect an EV’s driving range on the road, including heating and air-conditioning use, weather conditions like wind and cold weather, hills, additional weight from luggage, cargo and people, and speed – the faster you drive, the harder the electric motor has to work.
Most charging times were sourced from the manufacturers, and some via reliable sites and then confirmed with the manufacturer. We have tried to provide times for a full charge – zero to 100 per cent battery capacity – but some figures are for a zero to 80 per cent charge where a full charge was not available. Some experts suggest charging to 80 per cent is recommended as it is better for the longevity and health of the battery. We have included times for charging using a household power point, a home wall charger and a 50kW public charger. Although the Tesla public charging time is for their 120kW superchargers.
Each scoring line – value for money, safety, driving range and charging, interior space, comfort and quality, drive impressions and warranty and servicing – is out of a maximum 10 points. Any unexpected but welcome extras are worth one point each on top of these categories. The Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Benz all scored one extra point because they are offered with multi-year free charging at Chargefox stations. The Nissan Leaf received half a point because its offer is limited. In the past, Tesla has offered unlimited free charging for the Model S and X using its supercharger network, but it no longer does this. The Hyundais, Mini and MG are not offered with free public charging.
For each model in both categories, the owner must pay to install a wall charger if they want to charge at home. Audi’s offer of free installation on the e-tron ends on 31 December. Each model in the over-$65,000 category, as well as the Mini, can be charged remotely. This means you can set charge start and end times at your home using a dedicated app.
The scoring in each category is relative. We acknowledge that the price of EVs is still very high, with many models out of the reach of new-car buyers. So with the value-for-money category, this is compared with the other models in this category, not with other vehicles of similar size. We are not, for example, comparing the price of an Ioniq with a petrol or diesel-powered i30.