If not for a small quirk of fate, the world would have been driving electric cars from the early part of the twentieth century – the world’s first electric car was made in the 1890s.
A hundred years later, and the tide is turning towards EVs again, and even though Australia lags behind the rest of the world, there is sufficient momentum locally to consider an EV as your next car.
It’s not cut and dried yet, and there are still financial implications to consider, but if you’re considering an electric car for your next vehicle, you’ll find all the information right here.
The first mainstream EV from Mercedes-Benz, the EQC is a mid-size SUV that uses the GLC to provide the basis for its dual-motor (front and rear) layout fed by a floor-mounted lithium-ion battery pack and 350km range. In 2020 it became the second electric vehicle to win the coveted Wheels Car of the Year award, after the BMW i3 in 2014.
The second-generation Leaf offers 270km of range from a 16kWh battery, which is a big step up from its earliest efforts. The five-seat, five-door Leaf hatch lacks a little polish, but at around $50,000, it offers mainstream brand security in a still-developing space.
It’s the cheapest electric vehicle on sale in Australia at present, and its $45,000 ask buys you 230km of range, short charging times (if you have access to a 10kW DC charger) in a package that’s no more confronting than an i30 or Tucson. It still offers slightly space-age looks and it’s not the quietest car on the road, but the Ioniq Electric makes a convincing case for EV ownership.
Hyundai’s second all-electric model follows hard on the heels of the Ioniq hatch. Like the Ioniq, the Hyundai Kona EV is a variant in a full model range, meaning you can also buy it with one of two petrol four-cylinder engines. It has a large, 64kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, which gives it an effective urban range of 450km, or 400km on the highway.
The BMW i3 brings age and experience to the table, having launched in 2014. It offers up to 260km of range, as well as a unique look and genuine eco credit points. It’s not the cheapest at more than $70,000, but the clever i3 is more than the sum of its parts
Jaguar left the major premium players gasping in its wake with the launch of the i-Pace in 2018. “Impossibly complete,” raved our journos, and they’re right; with 470km of claimed range (figure on more like 350km) and stirring performance, the $120,000 i-Pace straddles luxury, practicality and electricity in a beguiling way.
The much-vaunted entry-level Model 3 from the EV-only carmaker Tesla arrived in Australia mid-way through 2020, with the four-door five-seater offering a claimed 460km of range from its $66,000 entry-level model. With its simple interior and unconventional business model, could Tesla help to kickstart the EV revolution?
Thinking of buying an electric vehicle, refer to our EV Buyer's Guide
When it comes to new EVs arriving in Australia, it’s the Koreans and Europeans leading the charge over the rest of the world.
Here’s a comprehensive wrap-up of everything that’s set to arrive in Australia in the next 12 months
There has been a lot of noise made about electric cars and – like a lot of unproven and unknown technologies – there are more than a few myths doing the rounds.
TYPES OF EVs
The expression EV refers to an electric vehicle, which covers all the sizes and shapes that an EV can come in. What are the most popular types of EVs? Is an electric SUV the best car for you, or do you need something more traditional like a sedan or hatchback? Check out our story here for the right advice.
The battery is an integral part of the EV experience, and it comes with its own unique requirements and language. Equally, understanding the potential dangers and pitfalls of battery power is also important.
A new buzzword – range anxiety – is defining the EV buying experience - but it doesn’t need to. We examine the EV market to find the electric vehicle with the longest range.
We also have all of the updated information around the state of EV charging in Australia, including locations and types of electric vehicle charging stations around the country.
The motor in an electric car is no different to the one in your fridge compressor or air conditioner, but it does have to do a different job in a wider range of conditions. And there’s no secret that making an electric car is less complex than a petrol or diesel engine. What does it mean for the car industry and for your hip pocket?
Safety is at the forefront of everything the automotive industry does, but the electric vehicle prevents new challenges across the board. Which EVs are the safest, and what makes them safe? Find out here.
And it’s not just the vehicles themselves; a lot of research and design is going into making other elements, like specialised tyres, as safe as possible for the EV age.
Electric vehicle development is a battleground of cutting-edge tech from some of the world’s biggest – and smallest – automotive companies, and the dust hasn’t settled on which tech will come out in front. Are hydrogen-fuelled EVs in our future? What about fuel/electric hybrids? It’s all explained here.
There are also the new ways in which we will all interact with vehicles and mobility in the future – do we even need to own a car when we can share one?
And for some, more is never enough – here’s an insight into how electric vehicles are ripe for performance tuning via a laptop and not a spanner.
One of the benefits being touted for EVs is the relatively low cost of running them – but is there a catch? And what’s the cheapest way to charge your EV, and at will be the the price point that makes them a more viable alternative?
Buying a new EV means that you’ll have a used EV on your hands pretty much straight away. Interested in how much your EV will depreciate over time? We’ve done the research for you.
Speaking of second-hand EVs, are they are a smart buy, or trouble waiting to happen? We examine the Tesla Model S as a test case.
The jury is still out on whether the electric vehicle is better for the environment, thanks to factors like manufacturing and the source of its power. Some argue that the EV is no cleaner than a petrol car, while politicians have also used the issue to divide electorates. Here’s our take.
The electric vehicle came perilously close to becoming the norm as far back as the 1890s, when a plethora of small, relatively affordable cars outsold gasoline-powered cars at a rate of two to one.
The advent of electricity to the home, plus the primitive nature of early petrol cars with their hand-cranks and multiple operating levers, gave EVs a real leg-up, with both London and New York supporting decently-sized electric cab fleets.
However, the discovery of vast oil reserves in the early part of the 1900s, as well as the invention of the electric starter motor, saw the cost of petrol power plummet, while the short range of the electric cars of the day meant that their time in the sun was short-lived.
More recently, the Tesla Roadster is a great example of how far the industry has come in just a decade, and an indication of how much further it will go in the next.