Even though the Australian government lays dormant on the issue of providing incentives, infrastructure and emissions targets, according to Jaguar, two thirds of Australians will be driving electric cars within the next 10 years.
Look to any major motor show and much of what you see in the way of innovation centres around electric power. The electric car is here to stay and its growth follows an exponential path.
It's something car manufacturers in Australia are well aware of, and a commensurate amount of new electric cars are due in Australia in the next 12 months, from brands like Ford, Lexus, Mazda and others. It’s an electric invasion that could catapult EVs to the forefront of the Australian public's attention, further pressuring the government to take action itself.
Here are the new EV models slated to arrive within the next 12 months.
Audi RS e-Tron GT
Built on the same platform as the Porsche Taycan, the Audi RS e-Tron GT is the first Audi RS model to go fully electric, skipping the plug-in hybrid stage altogether and beating hi-po rivals BMW M and Mercedes-AMG to market with emissions-free motoring.
Power comes from high-energy 83.7kWh (93kWh gross) battery that feeds two synchronous motors – a 175kW motor powers the front axle and is shared with the regular e-Tron GT, but the rear is larger and more powerful, at 335kW. Just like the Taycan, there’s a two-speed transmission on the rear axle, and a focus on coasting rather than recuperation to extend battery range.
Charge times will also be equivalent to the Taycan, with a maximum DC charging capacity of 270kW, for a theoretical 100km of range in 5 minutes. A 50kW DC charger boosts the battery from 5 to 80 per cent in around 1.5 hours, or 22kW AC charger from 0-100 per cent in around 4.5 hours.
Want to know how it goes? Find out at our Audi RS e-Tron GT first-drive review.
BMW'S first electric SUV built from the ground up on a new EV platform shares exterior dimensions of an X5, is as tall as an X6 and has the wheelbase of an X7.
Inside, the iX’s cockpit uses a lot of inspiration from the iNext concept, including a hexagonal steering wheel and a vast curved digital displays for the driver and front passenger to use.
It also features BMW's new ‘fifth-generation’ electric powertrain tech, which includes 100kWh battery pack that contributes to a usable range beyond 600 kilometres on one charge.
Two e-motors – one on each axle – provide 367kW of shove, good for a 0-100km/h sprint in under five seconds. BMW says the iX is capable of up to 200W DC fast charging, allowing a 10-80 per cent charge to be done in 40 minutes.
BMW Australia has confirmed the iX will be available in the second half of 2021.
MORE: BMW iX3 revealed
The iX3 will arrive in Australia mid-2021, bringing an 80kWh electric powertrain to the tune of 210kW and 400Nm and a 6.8-second 0-100km/h sprint. BMW says it’ll provide an impressive 460km range, as determined on a WLTP test cycle. Using fast-charging, the iX3 is capable of receiving 80 percent charge in 34 minutes.
The 80kWh battery sends power to a single motor at the rear axle for exclusively rear-wheel drive. It's a different approach to some of its competitors, which use multiple motors for all-wheel-drive.
Ford Mustang Mach E
For the first time in its 116-year history, Ford has introduced a mass-market electric vehicle and it wears one of the most iconic badges of all time. It’s named the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which means it has a lot to live up to.
Ford says this all-new, all-electric SUV has the beans to back the traditional Mustang's exhilarating drive experience too, with the range-topping Mustang Mach-E GT said to hit 100km/h in under four seconds, thanks to an all-wheel drive layout channelling the 342kW and 830Nm outputs of a 75.7kWh lithium-ion battery (a 98.8kWh extended range battery is available).
VIDEO: Wild 1000kW Mustang Mach E
As a minimum, Ford is claiming a range of 480 kilometres from a full charge using its extended-range rear-wheel-drive car, but final details regarding range will come ahead of its 2021 release.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai's electric crossover gains a sharp-looking facelift that brings a cleaner front-end design, aerodynamic tweaks and a restocked safety suite that complements improved interior technology.
It retains the single 64kWh lithium-ion battery pack that is charged via a relocated port placed asymmetrically between the front headlights instead of slightly to the passenger side. Charge time is claimed to take 47 minutes when done with a 100kW DC fast charger.
Hyundai says the updated Kona EV will arrive in the first half of 2021.
A cloud still exists over the Australian availability of this Sportage-sized e-Niro EV. Initially slated to launch in 2019, Kia explained that Australian government inaction has enabled other countries to swoop in and snap up what was meant to be our allocation of e-Niros.
Kia hasn't confirmed whether the project to offer the car Down Under is off or on yet, but it is worth noting that it has gone to the effort of installing chargers in Australian dealers and have invested in teaching service centres how to work with the car.
The Kia e-Niro is offered with two battery options in Europe, the larger of which should see it travel 450kms between charges.
Revealed 12 months ago, the Japanese luxury carmaker’s first fully-electric car is already on sale in other parts of the world, but Australians will have to wait until November 2021.
Pricing for the new variant is yet to be finalised, but Lexus says the arrival will form a new “flagship” of the UX SUV range and will therefore be priced over the top of the $64,000 UX 250h AWD F-Sport.
While other premium carmakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz drag the chain on smaller EVs, Lexus will likely be the first into market with a small battery battery-electric car. It will also likely beat parent company Toyota to the EV punch in the Aussie market.
Exact local specifications for the 300e will be made available closer it's Australian launch, but we know it will share the same pure battery-electric drivetrain as the rest of the world, which produces 150kW and 300Nm and a range of up to 400km.
Its lithium-ion battery can be recharged in just 50 minutes with high-rate fast charging or about seven hours using standard household AC power.
Revealed during the Tokyo Motor Show in 2019, Mazda's first production EV is called the MX-30, and it’s now available in Europe. We’ll have to wait for full confirmation that it’s coming Down Under, possibly late 2021.
Initially, the MX-30 comes as one flavour, starting with a relatively small 35.5 kWh battery. That's as compact as the Honda e's power source, but this is a much larger, family-friendly small crossover. There are three trim levels and all are generously equipped compared to rivals.
The motor produces a little over 100kW, and just under 270Nm of torque - not necessarily the numbers you'd associate with Mazda's sportier MX brand, but the MX-30's 1645kg kerb weight is not that far off conventional crossovers of a couple of years ago.
Nissan Leaf e+
The Nissan Leaf e+ was first unveiled globally in January 2019 and features a 62kWh battery (up from 40kWh) that can propel the small five-door 384 kilometres on a single charge, representing a 110-kilometre improvement over the standard Leaf.
Although final specs haven’t been supplied just yet, expect to see the same improved 160kW/340Nm outputs as overseas markets which is capable of shooting the Leaf e+ to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds (an improvement of 0.6 seconds).
Polestar, for the unacquainted, is an off-shoot of Volvo that has found its niche in producing passenger EVs with a performance twist. The first car to come from the brand was the sleek-looking Polestar 1, but didn't find its way to Australia as it was only produced in left-hand drive.
But this guy, the Polestar 2, is a starter for Australia that we can likely expect in the new year.
It will feature 300kW of full electric power and boast a range of 560km according to Polestar. That should give it enough shove and range to worry the Tesla Model 3.
Volvo XC40 Recharge
From Volvo itself, the 2019 Wheels Car of the Year-winning XC40 will receive a battery-electric variant that is due to land on Australian shores at the same time as the Polestar 2.
Having recently just gone on sale in the UK, the XC40 Recharge will feature a whomping 300kW from two motors that will power all four wheels. A 78kWh battery (that can charge to 80 percent on a fast charger in 40 minutes) should provide enough juice for the XC40 Recharge to travel between 350-400kms in the real world.