Four Tesla Alternatives
Four alternative electric cars available now or coming this year
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Only Tesla make electric cars (EVs) right? Wrong! There are a surprising number of cheaper alternatives to cars from Elon Musk’s company. Over the next few years, more and more mainstream car making giants are launching EVs and Tesla is going to have a fight on its hands.
Nissan Leaf 2.0
This year, Nissan is updating its popular and successful Leaf electric car. The Leaf is currently the world’s best selling EV, with over 300,000 units shipped. It's also one of the most affordable. The original Leaf launched in 2010 whilst Tesla were still converting rebadged Lotus cars to electric.
The original car featured numerous aerodynamic design features, including sweeping headlights that deflect air around the wing mirrors, reducing drag. The underside also had smooth panelling, making the car more slippery and further lowering drag. Nissan opted for LED headlights to lower power usage and increase efficiency. The Leaf was sold in Australia for a time and you may be able to find an original first-generation demo model for sale at dealers today.
The Leaf 2.0 should arrive sometime this year or in early 2019. The updated car promises to double the distance between charges to 400km, with some refinements to improve acceleration. The Leaf 2.0 will also boast driving assists like automated parking.
The expected retail price is between $40,000 and $50,000.
For those looking for a luxury EV at half the price of a Tesla, the i3 and i3s sports models by BMW fit the bill nicely. 95% of the i3 is recyclable, with BMW stating they tried to design with sustainability in mind. BMW package a 33kWh battery into the i3, however, this includes a non-usable, battery life-prolonging safety buffer of 6kWh. Still, the zero-emission German car boasts a 310km range.
The interior is deceptively spacious, but the external styling may divide opinions. The accompanying BMW smartphone app even helps drivers set off at the optimal time, how very German!
The list price for the BMW i3 is $68,700 excluding on-road costs.
French carmaker Renault is bringing its EV supermini to Australia this year. Renault will fit the ZOE with a 41 kWh battery, giving a real-world driving range of 280 km. The small car accelerates quite leisurely for an electric vehicle, taking a lengthy 13.5 seconds from 0 - 100kph. Flat out, the ZOE will hit 135 kph and it should receive a five-star ANCAP rating when launched. Features include smartphone connectivity and a 7” touchscreen with TomTom navigation as standard.
Owners of the ZOE will be able to rapid charge the battery from flat to 80% in 30 minutes and top up the energy pack in 3-4 hours at home. Interestingly, the ZOE was originally launched back in 2012, after engineers carried out hot-weather testing in Australia. The expected retail price is $45,000.
One of Australia's biggest selling automotive brands, Hyundai, plans to launch an EV model here this year. The Hyundai Ioniq is a 5-seater hatchback, that appears pretty conventional externally but the car receives widely positive reviews. Hyundai claims a range of 300kms, with a top speed of 165kph.
The Ioniq ships with an array of extra safety features like emergency braking and blind-spot detection. Its battery carries a lifetime warranty and 4.5-hour recharge time on a domestic plug. Local engineers from Hyundai Australia will no doubt tweak the suspension and ride to suit Aussie roads better. Speculation puts the Ioniq retail price at around $50,000.
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