The idea of electric vehicles gliding silently around our roads was once a flight of fancy, limited to the big screen and the efforts of occasional backyard EV enthusiasts with a lot of time on their hands. But the automotive landscape is changing rapidly and the dawn of zero-emissions cars is closer than you might think - even for a nation that trails the rest of the world as much as Australia.
In the coming weeks, you’ll be seeing some exciting changes at WhichCar as we prepare for the slowly rising numbers of electrified cars on our roads, more EV choice for you in showrooms, and a future that’s very much electric.
In the not-so-distant future, electric cars will no longer be an occasional novelty within our pages, they will likely become the norm.
To prime you for that future, here is the WhichCar guide to electric cars with all our best and most relevant EV-focused coverage condensed into one place to bring you up to speed. Keep an eye out for much more coming to your screens soon.
EV facts and myths
The subject of electrified cars and their feasibility was recently brought into the limelight during the federal election. If like many Australians you weren’t confused before the various campaign pledges and counter offers, then you probably were after. We set the record straight from an unbiased view and without political agenda.
The frustrating truth is that the rise of EVs is not being slowed by inferior technology or the cars themselves, because time and again EVs have conclusively proven their own cause. It is the supporting infrastructure and legislation that is jamming the brakes on. As long as the people that steer our country’s direction continue to block electrification, we will continue to languish.
As a result, the electric vehicle prospects for Australia are not great for now and, as a nation, we are one of the most ill-prepared and dismissive, but it won’t be that way forever. Love or hate the idea, as tightening emissions regulations squeeze car markets around the world, Australia will be forced to get in line.
For a start, electric cars will be getting cheaper. In fact, they already are. From a time when the only options were for the well-heeled, there are now a number of more affordable options starting from less than $45,000. And that trend will continue.
If you need no convincing about EVs and their suitability to your transport requirements, then perhaps you simply need a guide to what’s out there in showrooms. Well we’ve handled that for you too.
Obviously, that list will change and, more excitingly, grow. Keep an eye on our pages as we continuously update the EV options list, along with comprehensive reviews and the best deals.
Let’s take it a step further and give you an idea of what each of those vehicles is like to drive. We arranged an EV comparison with six of the current offerings pitched against each other to find out which makes most sense.
You can find the full review for each model here:
And if you want to know what it’s like living with an EV for even longer, check out our first electric long-term review. We took delivery of a Hyundai Ioniq for a six-month tenure in the WhichCar garage for a more realistic sample of zero-emissions life. If the most affordable electric car in Australia isn’t quite your cup of tea, don’t worry, we will be taking on more electrified long-term reviews soon and can’t wait to tell you how they are to live with.
Just like the 100-year-plus evolution of the combustion-powered car, electric car performance will dramatically accelerate over the coming decades too. But the status quo is already pretty impressive. BMW recently revealed an electric 5 Series prototype that out-accelerates the mighty M5, and an electric Mini pulled a Boeing 777.
Volkswagen is also pushing the fringes of electric performance hard and its I.D. R racer has not only smashed the Pikes Peak hillclimb record (a race traditionally dominated by combustion power), it then went on and did it again at the Nurburgring and at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The first production car to be born out of all these Volkswagen publicity stunts will be the I.D. 3 R and it’s a very exciting little package.
Using the same platform, Volkswagen unveiled its ID3 hatchback that'll utilise the new MEB platform - set to underpin a number of future electrified VW products.
Also unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show was the Porsche Taycan, which Tesla are slightly worried about, the Mercedes-Benz EQS concept which previews the future of the company's electrics, the Mini Cooper SE which is destined Down Under in 2020 and the Honda e electric city car which is not.
For more information from the Frankfurt electric vehicle reveals, head to the gallery and hub page.
If you’re still concerned by the words of minister for employment Michaelia Cash when she said “We are going to stand by our tradies and we are going to save their utes,” then allow this story to put your mind at ease.
As you can see, it’s not just dainty little hatches that electrification works for, with all segments eventually in line for EV options. BMW recently laid out its plans for an electric future including an interesting prediction for the longest range vehicles.
We have also been watching the cost of ownership of electric vehicles and this comprehensive study from last year looks into not just how much it costs to put something electrified on your driveway, but the ongoing costs from one month to the next. You might be surprised at the findings.
We've also recently looked at an often overlooked cost of car ownership, depreciation. You might think that depreciation rates are similar among all cars, yet this story paints a different picture and it's definitely a cost worth considering before taking the plunge.
Looking even further into the future, there won’t just be lots of electric options, they will be the only option. Countries around the world are already starting to plan strategies to stop the sale of combustion-powered vehicles, lead by the first – Norway. When will Australia follow suit? Continental thinks we won’t have a choice within 40 years.
The future of cars is bright, clean and exciting and when you are ready to make the switch to electric, WhichCar will be ready for you.