According to Jaguar, two thirds of Australians will be driving electric cars within the next 10 years, and, as the Federal Election campaign has shown, they’re not the only ones convinced the electric revolution is nigh.
A bevy of new electric cars are due in Australia in the next 12 months, from brands like Hyundai, Nissan, Audi and others. It’s an electric invasion that could catapult EVs from expensive niche products (we’re looking at you BMW i3 and Tesla Model S) into true mainstream models with mass appeal.
Here are the new EV models confirmed to arrive within the next 12 months.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai revealed two electric versions of its Kona small-SUV in February, including a basic variant which offers a range of 300km, and a more powerful variant with a larger battery pack capable of 500km per charge.
Both versions can have their batteries charged to 80 percent in just under an hour using a fast charger, or fully charged in 10 hours by plugging it into a standard electrical socket.
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Hyundai has confirmed the longer-range Kona Electric could arrive in Australia in time for Christmas this year, and has already been testing it in Australia to ensure its chassis and suspension is best tuned for local conditions.
The Hyundai Kona Electric starts at $59,000, which represents a hefty $20,990 markup over the most expensive combustion-engined Kona, the $39,000 Hyundai Kona Highlander 1.6 turbo,
Kia's Sportage-sized e-Niro will arrive toward the end of 2019, boasting a range between charges of up to 615km that will leave more expensive European models such as the Jaguar i-Pace and Mercedes-Benz EQC in its wake.
The e-Niro will also feature independent rear suspension, advanced regenerative braking technology, battery heating for cold climates, LED lighting inside and out, a 451-litre cargo area and Kia’s seven-year warranty.
Expect it to arrive around November with a circa $55,000 price tag.
The second-generation of the all-electric Nissan Leaf hatchback goes on sale in October with a $49,000 price tag.
Owners will also be able to power their homes with their Leaf - at least partially to power appliances or as a backup battery in case of a blackout.
The Leaf sports a more conventional interior than before, with the main difference to the average hatchback being its e-Pedal system on the centre console, which allows the driver to toggle between normal and high-force brake regeneration – effectively allowing drivers to accelerate and brake by just using the accelerator pedal.
The Audi E-tron, the company’s first mass-produced EV, is based on a Q6 mid-size SUV and has a battery pack sending electrons to three motors (two at the rear axle and one at the front) that combine to produce 320kW and a whopping 800Nm of torque. This power drives all four wheels via a special electronic quattro all-wheel-drive system.
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Audi says the E-Tron will travel about 450km between charging, which will take as little as 30 minutes with a DC fast charger.
Due for European release at the end of this year, the Audi E-Tron is expected on Australian shores in mid-2019, priced around $140,000.
About the same size as a Mercedes-Banz GLC-Class SUV, the EQC produces more power and torque than its competitors and drives via two electric motors (one per axle). That’s is enough to propel the 2425kg SUV from 0-100km/h in just 5.1 seconds.
Mercedes-Benz says owners will be able to achieve an 80 percent charge in around 40 minutes. Plugging the EQC into a Mercedes-Benz wall box (approx. $1700) at home will take between 10-11 hours to achieve a full charge.
Tesla Model 3
There's still no definite local arrival time for Tesla's most affordable model, but right-hand drive production is expected to start in the middle of the year.
The Model 3 is essentially a simplified, scaled-down version of the former, and the two share near identical glasshouses and a similarly accommodating interior with the Model 3's not quite as plush.
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Cost cutting has taken place. Unlike the Model S, the the Model 3’s boot lid is now manual, though combined cargo space is reasonable at 425 litres including a ‘frunk’ big enough for a carry-on suitcase. Smarter execution sees the 60/40 rear seats lay flat when folded, with no stepped floor like the Model S.
Sportier Long Range and Performance variants with dual motors will have a 500km, while the two cheaper versions with less battery capacity will get you 350km between charging.
Australian pricing is yet to be revealed, but expect pricing to start below $60,000 for the standard model when it finally arrives.
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