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Best Electric Cars Australia

An electric car should be easy to run, with good distance range and fast-charging options. Here’s how to find the best one for you.

Electric vehicles (EVs) have become a popular choice for both environmentally- and cost-conscious drivers. In fact, Finder analysis has found an EV could save you around $1,120 per year in running costs compared to a standard fuel car.

But the purchase prices are higher, and the distances you can drive before charging vary a lot. So, it's important to compare a range of electric cars before buying one. Here's our pick of cars based on sustainability, running costs, range and purchase price.

Best electric cars in Australia – Finder's top picks

Top pick for sustainability

Hyundai IONIQ 6


The Hyundai IONIQ EV

Awarded Green Car of the Year in the 2023 Finder Green Awards, the Hyundai IONIQ 6 is a pure EV designed to minimise its environmental impact through the use of eco-friendly and sustainably sourced materials.

It also has a competitive range of 429km (standard) and impressive charging speeds of between 10-80% in 18 minutes with a DC fast charge option. Finder's review of a previous model also noted its profile, performance and energy harvesting system as standout features.

Key stats
  • Price: From $72,435
  • Range: 429km standard, 614km extended range
  • Charging times: 10-80% in 18 minutes (DC fast charge); 0-100% in 25 hours (standard power point, 53kw/h)
  • Performance: 111kW/350Nm (standard range) to 168kW/350Nm (extended range)
Read our Hyundai IONIQ review

Top pick for running costs

MG ZS EV (Excite)


MG ZS EV

The MG ZS is one of the cheapest electric cars on the market in Australia when it comes to both purchase price and running costs. Analysis from RACV found its average charging cost would be $101.30 per month. That's around $156.53 cheaper than the average monthly fuel costs we calculated in the Finder Green Report 2023.

Even with factors such as purchase price, loan repayments, insurance, charging costs, tyres, servicing, repairs and auto club membership, RACV estimated a monthly cost of $1,172.76. For perspective, that was almost $500 less per month than the cheapest Tesla option included in the RACV Annual Car Running Costs Survey for 2023.

Key stats
  • Price: From $40,990
  • Range: 320km-360km
  • Charging times: 80% in 54 minutes (rapid charge); 100% charge in 5 hours (11kw/h, at-home or standard charge)
  • Performance: 130kW/280Nm
Read our MG ZS EV review

Top pick for long distance drives

Polestar 2 (Long range single motor)


Polestar 2

The long range, single motor model of the Polestar 2 has an impressive range of 655km as recorded with the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). This is a European standardised metric for range and is often included in the tech specs for electric cars in Australia.

If you're planning to drive a long distance, it's worth noting WLTP is based on a car travelling at an average speed of 46.5km/h in summer temperatures. As the typical speeds you might travel on Australian highways is more likely to be between 80km and 110km/h, the actual distance you reach before needing to charge could be lower. But it offers fast rapid-charging options – and there is a growing number of charging stations across Australia.

Key stats
  • Price: From $76,760
  • Range: 655km
  • Charging times: 10-80% in 18 minutes (rapid charge); 0-100% in 8 hours (11kW/h, at-home or standard charge)
  • Performance: 220kW/490Nm
Read our Polestar 2 review

Top pick for price

BYD Dolphin


BYD Dolphin electric car

A newer brand for the Australian market, the BYD Dolphin also has one of the lowest entry-level prices for a fully electric car. Based on its range, it doesn't offer the same potential distances as some of the more established EVs in Australia. But it should still be suitable for most day-to-day driving.

For people who just need a car to get from A to B and would prefer an electric vehicle, the BYD Dolphin could be a very competitive option at a price similar to many new petrol-fuelled cars. It's set to arrive in Australia in early 2024.

Key stats
  • Price: From $38,890
  • Range: 340km (WLTP)
  • Charging times: 10-80% in 30 minutes (DC fast charge); 0-100% in 31 hours (standard power point, 61.4kW/h)
  • Performance: 70kW/180Nm

How to pick the best electric car for you

With all the different models on the market, how do you choose the best electric car to suit your needs?

If your focus is sustainability, it's worth keeping in mind that most emissions for EVs typically come from the manufacturing process. In comparison, standard fuel cars may have lower manufacturing emissions, but much higher emissions to operate. This is typically the case even if you charge an electric car using energy from the grid.

In very general terms, reliability is less of a concern with electric cars. Their design means there are significantly fewer things to maintain and fewer moving parts – though that doesn't factor in each manufacturer's quality control.

But when looking for an EV, you should concentrate on the following:

  • Range
  • Charging
  • Charging network
  • Running costs
  • Reputation

Range

This is the distance you can travel before the car needs recharging (often, the quoted figure is to the point of the battery being completely flat, which is not good for long-term battery health). A larger capacity battery helps, though if the car is more powerful, it might sap the power quickly – so don't use that as the only deciding factor.

It's a bit like having a V8 with a massive tank versus a diesel with a smaller one – the V8 is going to burn more fuel in comparison. Energy efficiency is something to look out for, just as you would check the fuel economy of a fuel-powered car. Some EVs have more than one motor, which will cut more kilometres from the range.

Remember: the average Aussie commute is just a 32km round trip, according to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics Census (2020). Most of the EVs here are theoretically able to cover that distance at least 7 times (on paper).

Charging

Generally, you'll want a car that is capable of ultra-fast charging. Lower charge times are obviously more desirable, as you'll spend less time waiting in coffee shops while your car is plugged-in and more time driving.

You can install charging points at home, though these are slower and best suited to overnight top-ups. With these, you wake up to a brimmed battery, just like you would with your smartphone.

With a fuel-powered car, you probably don't worry so much about how many petrol stations there are. But with EVs, charging point location and availability are quite important.

Tesla operates an impressive charging network that spreads from Adelaide, to Melbourne and up through ACT to Cairns, via Brisbane and Sydney. There are chargers on the West coast too, but not as many as the East coast. Tasmania has quite a number also.

Non-Tesla EV models need to use third-party charging providers, with some manufacturers including up to five years of unlimited charging with each EV purchase (Mercedes). Providers include Chargefox.

Running costs

These costs still factor in, as different car makers have their own service pricing schemes. A lower range could also mean you need to charge the car more often, which could increase charging costs. Also, the energy efficiency of the model impacts operating costs.

Reputation

While not a technical specification, reputation can be important as more electric cars come onto the market. Seek out reviews from verified owners to find out what they think about the electric car you're considering buying.

All other buying considerations are really identical to purchasing a conventional vehicle. It helps if you make a list of things you need from a car, such as the following:

  • A large boot
  • Seats for five adults
  • Cruise control
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Wireless charging

Then make a shortlist based on your criteria.

Latest electric car reviews by Finder

Compare more electric cars in Australia (2022 models)

Make & ModelRangeAcceleration (0-100km/h)Charge timeFinder ratingAverage running costsPrice (from)
Hyundai IONIQ EV311km9.7 seconds54 minutes (100kw to 80%), 57 minutes (50kW)82.25%$2,961.36$54,591.46
Polestar 2 Standard range Single Motor EV440km7.4 seconds35 minutes (130kW 10-80%), 59 minutes (50kW charger to 80%)83.25%N/A$64,608
Hyundai KONA EV484km7.9 seconds47 minutes (100kW to 80%), 64 minutes (50kW)82%$2,749.92$59,346.46
Nissan Leaf 2270km7.9 seconds60 minutes (20-80% 50kW)81%$3,444.48$54,187
Porsche Taycan420km2.8 seconds (Taycan Turbo S)22.5 minutes (5-80% with 270kW charger, 93 minutes with 50Kw)86.33%N/A$174,702
MG ZS EV320km*8.6 seconds*36-42 minutes (100kw, 0% to 80%)*82%$3,410.40$46,990*
Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus491km6.1 seconds56 minutes (50kW charger 10% to 80%), 28 minutes (150kW to 80%)83.50%N/A$69,079

Average running costs from RACV

*Specs for early 2022 model

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