Cheapest Electric Car: What is the Most Affordable EV in Australia?

EV Electric 5

Looking for the cheapest electric vehicle (EV) is a a bit like trying to find a diamond necklace at the lower end of the price spectrum: sure, you might find a way to save a few bucks, but ultimately it’s still going to be a reasonably costly exercise.

This is not to badmouth EVs, for there is much to love about these electro-wonders: they are considerably more environmentally friendly, they deliver instant, silent torque and they’re very cheap to run when compared to vehicles with an internal-combustion engine (ICE).

The high purchase price of EVs isn’t quite as delightful, but that’s not entirely the fault of EVs, or their makers. Currently in Australia there are no major government incentives to encourage consumer uptake of EVs, which lowers demand as people are put off by the higher price tags.

There’s no shortage of car manufacturers offering EVs locally – Nissan,Renault, Tesla, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Hyundai, Jaguar, Porsche, MG and Mini all offer them – but when the cheapest EV going is $44,381 (BYD’s smallish Atto 3, which is about the size of a Mazda2 but over double the price), you know there’s a way to go before they are within everyone’s reach.

Below we’ll fill you in on what are Australia’s most affordable electric cars, which should give you a decent idea of what to get if you’re ready to take the plunge and go all-electric, or alternatively give you reason to wait out the early adopter phase and watch the prices, eventually, come down.

What is the cheapest electric car in Australia?

What’s going to be the number one cheap electric car motor on the market is going to of course constantly changing as new models arrive, demand goes up and prices drop, but currently it’s the Atto 3 and ZS EV, fully electric small SUVs from Chinese car manufacturers BYD MG, respectively, with prices starting from $44,381 (MSRP) and $46,990 (drive-away).

The popular Hyundai Ioniq Electric, which is a bit over $4K more than the MG ZS EV, comes in third place as the cheapest electric car in Australia with a price tag of $49,970 (MSRP).

For that you’ll get a 100kW electric motor that offers 295Nm of torque and an average driving range of 311km (for comparison, the MG ZS EV boasts a better 105kW of power and 353Nm of torque, but it has a lower driving range – 263km).

The ever-popular Nissan Leaf ($50,900) gets the bronze with a 40kWh lithium-ion battery and a 270km indicative driving range (you can also upgrade to a Leaf e+, which goes for $61,490 and comes with a larger 62kWh battery and an improved driving range of 385km).

If a compact electric van is more your vibe, Renault offers one in the form of the Kangoo Maxi Z.E. (yes, we know it sounds like it was given its name as some kind of dare), which retails for a tidy $50,290, placing it at the end of the EV price spectrum where all the hatchbacks live.

From $54,500, the Hyundai Kona Electric is another small SUV, with its entry-level variant claiming a driving range of 305km.

Speaking of which the MINI Cooper Electric, which puts a modern spin on the classic MINI Cooper design, is available from $55,650, with the ‘Classic’ variant offering up 135kW of power and a driving range of approximately 233km.

For a bit over $8k extra, however, you graduate from a small hatchback to the much-heralded Tesla Model 3, Australia’s best-selling EV model and one of the reasons why Elon Musk will be going into space soon, and you won’t.

The Model 3’s price is $63,900 (the lowest Tesla electric car price) for the entry-level variant, and it comes packing a stellar 491km driving range, and the power to get from zero to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds.

The Mazda MX-30 Electric SUV, a relative newcomer to the Australian market and Mazda’s first all-electric car, is priced from $65,490, and faces quite a challenge considering its driving range is a meagre 224km.

Once you get above $70k, you’re not really talking ‘cheap’ any more (if you have the coin, there’s a whole slew of EVs available for over $70k from the likes of Volvo, Jaguar, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz).

Are EVs cheaper overseas than they are in Australia?

Due to a healthier EV market in other parts of the world, and factoring in currency conversion, EVs overseas are a considerable amount cheaper.

The cheapest EV in the US is the Kandi K27 hatchback ($AU18,350; 17.69kWh lithium battery with 160km range) and the larger Kandi K23 hatchback ($AU31,750; 41.4kWh lithium battery with 289km range).

Will EVs go down in price?

The short answer is, yes – eventually.

As EVs grow in popularity – which they will, since several countries around the world have been setting targets to ban the production of ICE vehicles in the not-too-distant future – the prices will most certainly drop, and EVs on Australian roads will be a far more common sight to behold.

Electric cars Australia: price comparison

BYD Atto 3 From $44,381
MG ZS EV From $46,990 (d/a)
Hyundai Ioniq Electric From $49,970
Nissan Leaf From $50,00
Renault Kangoo Maxi ZE From $50,290
Hyunda Kona Electric From $54,500
Mini Electric From $55,650
Tesla Model 3 From $63,900
Mazda MX-30 Electric From $65,490
Mercedes-Benz EQA From $76,800
Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric From $76,990
BMW iX From $135,900
Audi e-tron From $139,900
Jaguar I-Pace From $142,580

By Stephen Corby


*Disclaimer: Prices, features, warranties and other information that may be shown in this editorial content (Review Information) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (CAMS) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Information was correct at the time of publication. CAMS does not warrant or represent that the Review Information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon the Review Information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.

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