Cheap electric vehicles available in Australia

Zero emissions motoring has become more affordable with the official launch of Hyundai’s fully electric Ioniq.

Cheap electric vehicles in Australia will be available within weeks. Priced from $44,990 for the base ‘elite’ model, the Hyundai will replace Renault’s $47,490 Zoe as the cheapest electric car on sale in Australia. While still carrying a significant price burden over petrol models, the Ioniq aims to put electric motoring within reach of more Australian motorists.

The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq's interior
The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq’s interior. Image: Hyundai

Launched this week in Brisbane, the hatchback is comparable in size to the Korean manufacturer’s popular petrol powered i30 model. With a cited ‘real world’ battery range of 230kms, the Ioniq can charge from flat to 80 per cent within 23 minutes when connected to a 100kW DC fast charging station.

On the performance front, the new Hyundai won’t keep Tesla owners awake at night. The 88kW/295Nm plug in electric Ioniq can sprint from a standstill to 100kph in approximately eight seconds. This is comparable with the company’s non-performance petrol hatchbacks.

Do premium electric vehicle models exist?

In addition to cheap electric vehicles, Hyundai’s Australian division are offering an up-spec premium model for an extra $4000. This includes heated and ventilated leather seats, LED headlights, wireless phone charging, parking sensors and a glass sunroof.

The small number of moving parts in the electric vehicle drivetrain will offer some hip pocket relief, with annual services expected to cost just $165.

Hyundai have also launched hybrid Ioniq models. These look likely to challenge the dominance of Toyota’s popular Camry, Corolla and Prius offerings.

Electric vehicle Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid being driven with wind turbines in the background
Ioniq Hybrid. Image: Hyundai

The $33,990 Ioniq Hybrid will pair a 77kW/147Nm petrol engine and small 32kW/170Nm electric motor. The car relies on just the electric motor at low speeds and has quoted efficiency of 3.9L/100kms. It is priced $2500 cheaper than Toyota’s Prius.

A plug-in hybrid option will be offered from $40,990. This is powered by the same petrol engine but adds a larger 44.5kW electric motor and 8.9kWh lithium-ion battery to deliver up to 63kms of dedicated electric motoring.

At the Brisbane launch, Hyundai Australia’s chief executive Jung Wook Lee said the new range will break down barriers to electric vehicles.

“The 2019 Ioniq makes responsive and eco-friendly electrified driving accessible to a wide range of customers, and is an exciting new chapter for our company,” Jung Wook Lee said.

Momentum building in the electric vehicle sector

Hyundai’s Ioniq is the first of many new electric cars from major manufacturers to hit the Australian market within months.

Building on the recent launch of the Jaguar I-pace, Nissan’s latest Leaf is due in the new year. Hyundai’s Kona crossover, the Audi e-tron and Kia’s Niro will follow.

While Australia’s electric vehicle uptake has been slow compared to other parts of the developed world, experts predict that we will catch up as EV prices drop, battery range grows and more charging infrastructure is built.

Last month ARENA announced support for Chargefox to build Australia’s first intercity EV charging network powered by renewables. The new network will link Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide, with new charge points also built around Perth.