If you’re looking for the cheapest new electric cars in Australia in 2021, then we’ve got you covered. Even if you’re not yet an electric car convert, the cheapest EV’s represent a host of new and exciting ways to get around town. And, with charging points popping up and recharge times coming down, the prospect of journeys farther afield is no longer a pipe dream.
We’re now witnessing manufacturers heeding the call to make more affordable electric cars available for consumers. Cars like the Tesla Model 3 were lauded for making cutting edge tech more affordable, but we’re also seeing some aggressively-low pricing strategies from the likes of MG and Hyundai.
Here are 6 of the most affordable electric cars you can currently buy in Australia
MG ZS EV
The MG ZS represents terrific value for money. As of 2021, it’s the cheapest electric car sold in Australia. And yet, it doesn’t appear to sacrifice much for it. It delivers a more refined driving dynamics than the ICEV variant while providing a decent range and performance.
The ZS EV includes the “MG Pilot” active-safety features as standard, which consists of various active safety features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Collison Warning, Emergency Braking, Speed Assist and Lane Departure warnings. A compact SUV, the ZS EV packs a 44.5kWh battery which provides a claimed range of 263km which translates to roughly 220km of real-world range.
The MG ZS EV is, above all, a good all-rounder, it also offers buyers a decent amount of interior space for a small family, with above-average load space. At AU$43,990, inclusive of a five-year comprehensive warranty and eight-year battery warranty, it’s almost $10,000 cheaper than its closest rivals.
The Nissan Leaf was, to many, the first real “affordable” electric car presented. Initially launched in Australia in 2012, the first generation boldly went where no other manufacturer had dared to before. The latest generation continues that theme, with a dash of normality to turn the sci-fi down from 11.
With a better design, bigger battery, and lower price, the second-generation Leaf is the safe bet for most. At AU$53,190, it’s one of the cheapest EVs around. While there’s nothing particularly revolutionary about the Leaf in this day and age, there’s no avoiding the fact that it feels like the kind of well-thought-out and polished product you’d expect from a nameplate that’s in its second generation. Plus with features such as “single-pedal driving”, the Leaf manages to offer a genuinely enjoyable and relaxing driving experience.
With a claimed range of 270km (220km real-world range), the Nissan Leaf offers decent value, although it also faces stiff competition from the aforelisted MG ZS EV. But with more brand stock and a plusher interior, the Leaf delivers on the higher list price, while maintaining its value proposition.
Hyundai IONIQ Electric
Hyundai has proved they’re taking alternative fuels seriously. In addition to their EV efforts, they’ve made several strides in Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles. The Ioniq nameplate is soon to be spun off into its own all-electric brand. Before that happens, the Ioniq electric remains the cheapest EV sedan on sale in Australia.
The body style may be fairly traditional (it’s actually a five-door hatch, but we’ll pass it for a three-box shape), but the price — AU$53,400 — is decent for the tech. As well as being an affordable electric car, the Ioniq EV is quite possibly one of the best-driving examples of a BEV on sale today in its price range.
Claimed range is 311km, but a real-world figure sees the Ioniq managing around 250km of real-world range. Its range is greater than both the Nissan Leaf and MG ZS EV, but not as impressive as another entrant on our list, which coincidently also hails from the house of Hyundai.
You may be surprised to find the Mini Electric on a list of affordable electric cars in Australia. Still, with a starting price of AU$59,900 drive away, Mini’s first-ever EV offers a cheap and stylish alternative to the norm.
It’s faster to 100km/h than all else on this list bar the Tesla, and there’s no denying that the chic styling and buttoned-down driving dynamics of the Mini offer it a unique edge over the competition. It’s also sized well for city use and, with the departure of the Renault ZOE in 2020, is one of the smallest EVs on sale in Australia.
With 185km of real-world range (233 claimed), the Mini Electric isn’t exactly a long-distance tourer. In fact, with just 32.6kWh, it has one of the smallest battery capacities of any EV on sale. But this is likely to be inconsequential to the target market, who’ll appreciate the Mini Electric for what it is: a decent, fun-to-drive car that just happens to be one of the cheapest electric cars on sale.
Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona Electric is one car on this list likely to tempt you away from an ICEV and into the realms of EV ownership. Not only does it manage to line up as one of the cheapest electric cars in Australia for 2021, but it also delivers outstanding range and practicality.
With 390km of real-world range (449km claimed), the Hyundai Kona Electric betters its Ioniq stablemate by some margin. This is thanks to a 64kWh battery, that means more juice for those longer journeys. Power output is also respectable, with 150kW and 395Nm of torque — enough for the Kona Electric to do the 100km/h sprint in 7.6 seconds.
Fast charging means you’ll be topped up from empty in 44 minutes while home-charging with a wall-box will take seven hours — both acceptable speeds for modern EVs. The Kona is also practical. It has 332 litres of load space with the seats up, and a capacious 1114 litres with them down.
Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus
Tesla’s Model 3 was touted as an easier entry to the tech-oriented automotive brand, and indeed, the Standard Range Plus variant manages to make our list of affordable electric cars. It remains a simple way to gain access to Tesla’s world-class tech and, although it doesn’t deliver the same range or performance as its dearer stablemates, it does bring the brand to a much broader client base.
The Model 3 is all-out to impress and impress it does, with a strikingly minimalistic interior which flies in the face of modern car design. Everything is controlled via the massive central touch screen, and you get a host of fun easter eggs to explore too. Over-the-air updates, much like your smartphone, keep each Model 3 up to date, and you’re also given access to Tesla’s Level-2 autonomous driving features — albeit the best of which is only activated with a pricey add-on.
When it comes to the cheapest electric cars in Australia, this shortlist of the top six is bound to change in the months and years to come. With many exciting new EVs on the horizon and ever-increasing competition, the price of affordable EVs is set to tumble still more.
However, with Australia trailing behind Europe and the US in terms of EV infrastructure and government incentives, the increasing accessibility of cheaper EVs remains a question mark for many marques.
Yet we remain confident that the best is yet to come. Be sure to subscribe to the EV Mojo newsletter for the latest updates on affordable electric cars throughout 2021 and beyond!
Stay up to date on all the new & upcoming electric cars in Australia