The appeal of electric and hybrid vehicles is growing. From reduced fuel costs to a quieter drive – not to mention the warm glow that comes from doing your bit for the environment – these vehicles offer owners a raft of ongoing benefits.
One barrier to going electric used to be the price tag. However, with the market responding to surging demand, there are now many more affordable options to consider.
Here we look at some of the more popular electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid models currently in market, as well as some exciting releases just around the corner.
A brief explainer
Battery electric vehicles are fully electric, meaning they are solely powered by electricity and don’t have a petrol, diesel or LPG engine. Hybrid electric vehicles in comparison can be powered by electricity, fuel or a combination of both, and come in two varieties – plug-in or non-plug-in. The batteries inside Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) can be charged by an external plug, whereas the ones in non-plug-in hybrids are charged by electricity generated by the vehicle’s braking system. Hybrids can act as a stepping stone to battery electric vehicles, as they provide drivers some of their advantages for a lower price and without the commitment to an all-EV lifestyle.
All EVs and PHEVs come with a charging cable that can be connected to any power point, however, for faster more convenient charging some owners pay to have a dedicated unit installed at home. There is also a growing number of public charging stations available across Australia, helping pave the way for a fully electric future. Charging times differ between models, and owners can choose to ‘top up’ regularly or charge to capacity each time.
Popular, price-conscious EVs
Hyundai IONIQ Electric
One of the least expensive family-friendly electric cars currently released, the five-door Hyundai IONIQ uniquely offers three electrification options: Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and Electric. While it may lack the ‘oomph’ of some of its more expensive competitors, the IONIQ is a spacious, practical hatchback that pairs driving comfort with advanced tech.
MG ZS EV
This small SUV recently took the title of Australia’s cheapest battery-electric car. The first of several affordable EVs that MG Motor is developing, the ZS offers space, style and an impressive suite of safety features, perfect for everyday city driving.
The second-generation Nissan LEAF is one of the best-selling electric vehicles in the world1. Boasting a five-star ANCAP safety rating and autonomous driving tech, it’s also currently the only EV in Australia capable (when regulations allow) of powering your home or putting electricity back into the grid.
MINI Cooper Hatch SE First Edition
The all-electric MINI Cooper SE Hatch is the second electrified MINI to launch in recent years. Blending its famous go-kart handling with a sporty flair and progressive EV engineering, this small three-door hatch is ideal for short trips in and around the city.
Some energising arrivals in 2021
Mazda MX-30 Electric and MX Hybrid
Mazda is bringing its first all-electric car to Australia in 2021, along with a mild-hybrid variant. Inside both models you’ll find sustainable materials such as cork, recycled plastics and synthetic leatherette. An added visual flourish sure to entice the more fashionable city drivers are the RX-8-style forward-opening rear doors.
BMW’s first pure electric SUV – and its first new electric vehicle in seven years – is due mid-year and is sure to shake up the local EV market. While its price (still unknown) will be significantly higher than that of most of its competitors, the iX3 boasts a comparatively larger battery and a whopping range of up to 460km.
1. Based on Global EV Sales Data: June 2010 – August 2019.
Whilst all care is taken in preparing this information, you should not rely on it without making your own independent assessment of the vehicle and other sources of information.