One problem with people bemoaning poor electric vehicle sales in Australia is the range of EVs on offer is actually rather miniscule at the moment.
But that situation is changing and as we head toward 2023 the trickle of new EV launches is turning into a stream. The floodgates should open within years.
So put on your swimmers and let’s dive in and check out some of the more interesting and significant new EV brands and models sailing our way in coming months.
BMW iX1 xDrive30
The smallest and most affordable BMW electric vehicle yet – not counting the original odd-bod i3 that’s no longer on-sale – the iX1 will be sold alongside the orthodox X1 compact SUV when it arrives in the first quarter of 2023.
Being an SUV the iX1 will have plenty of useable interior space including a large 490 litres boot. Being a BMW, it will also be loaded down with plenty of luxury and safety equipment.
The model launching here will be the iX1 xDrive30 – a typically convoluted BMW name – which boasts a dual motor all-wheel drive powertrain that delivers a copious 230kW and 494Nm and range between recharges around 440km.
Pricing will come in somewhere north of $80,000. Hey, we said it was an affordable BMW not a cheap EV…
Cupra is a performance brand spun-off from SEAT, the Spanish subsidiary of Volkswagen. The Born is Cupra’s version of the VW ID.3 small electric hatch.
Confirmed for Australia by early 2023 at the latest, the Born will have the honour of beating VW’s phalanx of EVs on-sale on these shores.
Pricing before on-road costs will settle around $60,000. Okay, that’s not bargain basement, but it’s not bad for an EV either.
The Born will offer performance to match the orthodox VW Golf GTI hot hatch and an excellent claimed driving range up to 550km.
A key difference with the GTI – apart from the lack of emissions – is the 170kW/310Nm electric motor will drive the rear rather than front wheels.
Ford E-Transit Custom
Ford is compiling a whole squadron of enticing and exciting electric vehicles globally. The Mustang Mach-E is on-sale in the USA and the full-size F-150 Lightning full-size pick-up has order banks stretching out for years.
In Australia, the blue oval has been bit more pragmatic with its initial forays into EVs, confirming the E-Transit van and smaller E-Transit Custom are on the way.
The latter could be one of the cheapest EVs on-sale in Australia when it arrives in the second half of 2023, priced under $60,000 (before rebates).
That would also make it the most expensive Transit Custom to buy, but running costs should be much lower than the diesel models.
One of the great Chinese success stories in Australia is Great Wall Motors, or GWM.
The GWM Ute and Haval range of SUVs have become increasingly popular as quality has improved and pricing has remained amongst the most competitive on the market.
In 2023 GWM will launch its EV brand Ora in Australia, leading off with a happy looking compact hatch called the Good Cat in China and Funky Cat in the UK. Here, we’re less likely to get the feline appellation.
Foiling some initial hopes, the GWM Ora non-Cat won’t be the cheapest EV on-sale in Australia when it lobs, but should still come in under $50,000 when rebates and incentives are taken into account.
In the UK – another right-hand drive market so very relevant to Australia – it comes with a 126kW/250Nm electric motor driving the front wheels, a 48kWh battery and a claimed WLTP range of 310km.
Hyundai Ioniq 6
Korea’s leading car company Hyundai is on a roll when it comes to battery electric vehicles.
Key to its success has been the development of an architecture, powertrain and range of batteries that can be plugged in together underneath bespoke sheetmetal to create distinctly different vehicles.
First off we got the award-winning Ioniq 5 hatchback and next up is the curvaceous Ioniq 6 sedan that arrives in early 2023.
That streamlined body produces a slippery 0.21Cd (Coefficient of Drag), which Hyundai says is the best it’s ever achieved. That’s better than the 0.23Cd of the market-leading Tesla Model 3.
While the Ioniq 6 is intentionally very different to look at compared to the angular Ioniq 5, Hyundai’s plug and play technology means it has familiar single and dual motor powertrains and battery set-ups.
That includes a 239kW/605NM AWD Ioniq 6 with 5.1 sec 0-100kmkm capability, while the single motor version is claiming a range-anxiety smashing 610km between recharges. Pricing should start around $70,000.
We’ve been hearing about electric utes like the Tesla Cybertruck, Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T for years.
But the honour of being the first manufacturer to launch an electric ute in Australia goes to LDV, which introduces its dual cab eT60 in November.
If you’ve never heard of LDV that’s understandable. It’s a Chinese brand owned by the giant SAIC Motor conglomerate that’s been in Australia a few years selling cheap diesel utes and vans.
LDV was actually British – Leyland DAF Vans– but was scooped up a few years ago by SAIC, which now also owns fellow former Brit MG.
The eT60 is more of a flag-waving exercise for LDV than a vehicle that is going to sell in big numbers.
That’s because it’s going to be very expensive (around $80,000 before on-road costs), has a 130kW/310Nm electric motor that looks undernourished compared to the turbo-diesel engines almost all utes employ, has a short 330km range, a mediocre 1500kg braked towing capacity and is rear-wheel drive rather than the 4×4 as the market prefers.
Toyota bZ4X/Subaru Solterra
Toyota dominates Australian new vehicle sales to such a degree that the launch of its first battery electric vehicle shapes as a pivotal moment.
It’s called the bZ4X and it’s a RAV4-sized cross-over that was originally expected to lob in Australia in 2022 but has now blown out to 2023.
The five-seat mid-sized SUV will be available as a single motor two-wheel drive or dual motor all-wheel drive.
Pricing is expected to start around the $60,000 mark, which is expensive for a compact Toyota but quite cheap for an EV.
Subaru will also launch a badge-engineered version of the bZ4X called the Solterra onto the Aussie market in 2023. Being a Subaru it will, of course, only come as an all-wheel drive.