Australia’s 2023 EV market in overview: The very best worth electrics – and what was Tesla pondering?


Effectively, one other yr has handed – and it’s time to overview the 2023 market that has been.

Final yr I started this text with “We now have round thirty-three passenger automobiles and 6 mild industrial autos … together with a ute!” available for purchase.

That record now extends to simply over fifty passenger autos, fourteen mild industrial autos … plus a rising variety of medium to heavy electrical vehicles. On high of all this motion, the record of formally introduced passenger automotive arrivals for 2024/25 sits at round 30.

Initially of that article I made notice of 4 markers of once I thought my job may very well be thought of ‘performed’. The primary of these was “When ICE (inside combustion engine) automobiles are within the minority and EVs are in every single place.”

While the opposite three are quietly progressing, that first is now shifting sooner than many anticipated – though in the event you examine the everyday know-how adoption curve, it ought to have come as no shock (Figures 1 and a couple of).

Fig. 1: Rogers ‘diffusion of innovation’ mannequin for adoption of a brand new know-how. Picture: Wikimedia Commons



Fig. 2: EV gross sales in Australia, 2011-2023. Supply: EV Council report “State of Electrical Automobiles” report, July 2023

The chief within the transition, Norway, has now handed 93% PEV gross sales – 87% of which had been full battery EVs (BEVs) and solely 6% PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid EV). Sport-over there.

Subsequent door to Norway, European PEV gross sales at the moment are one in 4 of all new automobiles offered. Even in Australia PEVs have been hitting 10% of all new automotive gross sales in the previous few months.

So, my private EV picks for 2023 are:

‘Bang for buck’

The Chinese language have all however received that sewn up with the $40,000 worth barrier being damaged this yr. In consequence, the award just about goes to all 5! There are, I believe, two honourable mentions although.

The Cupra Born for the value and vary will not be too far off the tempo for a automotive not made in China, plus the quiet achiever of the Kona electrical nonetheless plods on as a competitor to the Chinese language manufacturers – particularly as a second-hand one measures up nicely in specification and worth to a brand new BYD, GWM or MG.

Desk 1: Bang for buck contenders. Supply: Notes to tables at finish of this text

Metropolis automobiles 

Brief vary will not be a problem for a metropolis automotive, however a helpful vary to take you exterior of the town bounds often is good, so I’ll set a driving vary of 300 km plus. Small dimension and nimbleness can also be a requirement, so 4 metres or much less in size could be good, but when I set that there would solely be one – the Fiat 500e at 3.6 metres.

Given there are few actually small EVs in the marketplace right here but, to create a little bit of competitors I’ll set the dimensions as 4.3 metres or beneath as a substitute. So what suits in? BYD Atto 3 is 4.45 metres, so it’s out. The Dolphin at 4.29 metres simply suits, however the GWM Ora, regardless of its seems is surprisingly giant at 4.325 metres. Actually the Cupra Born pips it at 4.322 metres!

So what are we left with?

Desk 2: Metropolis automotive contenders. Supply: Notes to tables at finish of this text.

Of these, if worth will not be your major criterion – I’d decide the Fiat. For 2 folks it gives a small, enjoyable run-around that can take you locations exterior of the town limits. In case you want seating for 4 (the Fiat is strictly for small folks solely within the again) then the Dolphin and the MG4 battle it out.

Curiously, the present Kona made an look too because it squeaked in on the dimensions standards, though the brand new Kona coming quickly grows round 150mm in size to develop into a mid-size SUV. On pricing too it deserves to be up there – second-hand variations would compete nicely for choice towards the Dolphin and MG4.

Honourable mentions go to 2 others: the GWM Ora is a useful small-ish hatch, however it missed the lower on size. The Mini is sufficiently small, however it’s vary is a bit limiting.

Finest worth ‘long-rangers’:

Like final yr, for long-rangers I’ll arbitrarily select something that roughly equals or exceeds my Kona. It does an excellent effort in very lengthy drives (like Melbourne to Perth), if let down barely by its sluggish (by present requirements) AC and DC charging charges. So my standards for choosing an excellent ‘long-ranger’ are:

  • Greater than 450km WLTP driving vary. (The Kona’s 2019 WLTP driving vary was 449km);
  • Additional DC charging kudos if greater than 70kW (the DC charging pace of my Kona: most now are nicely previous 100kW, with some reaching 300 kW DC);
  • AC charging kudos if it gives 11kW or 22kW (my Kona is 7kW and when utilizing a 32A three section outlet, I begrudge the ‘wasted’ different two section that might lower a 3 hr cost to 2 at 11kW, or all the way down to 1hr at 22kW);
  • Have a ‘cheap’ baggage capability. (My Kona loses on the market. It has a restricted baggage space when the seats are up: a legacy of being a platform shared with ICE variations, which means a lot of wasted area within the ‘engine’ bay up entrance that may’t be repurposed into passenger space).

Be aware: For this yr I’ll scale back the value restrict to $90,000. (Final yr I set it at $100,000).

Additionally, you will notice I’ve combined the automobile dimension and kind classes considerably as there’s a mixture of small and medium SUVs in addition to passenger automobiles – however most are across the 4.3m to 4.7m vary in size and most are SUV/crossover in model, so I might contend they aren’t as disparate as they first appear.

Desk 3: Finest worth long-range contenders. Supply: Notes to tables at finish of this text

All-up, the winner is the shopping for public as there may be loads of selection on this class! Fortunately, with the enhancements to the Polestar/Volvo EV platform, I can now add the Polestar 2 normal vary and Volvo C40/XC40 which weren’t included final yr.

So which takes the highest rating right here from me this yr?

Personally, I’d like to offer it to the Volvo C40 rear-wheel drive model. Primarily as a result of I wished to offer it to that mannequin final yr, however it missed out on driving vary.

Nonetheless they’re all nice automobiles and your selection can be totally different to mine. The Ford Mach-E is a really succesful new entry for folks on the lookout for a household lugger that fits 5 massive folks (though it has no tow score, which might put some potential consumers off).

The Ioniq 5 is unquestionably nonetheless the TARDIS of the group (greater on the within) and for funds shopping for, the MG4 mid-range blitzes the class and might be the actual winner.

Gentle industrial EV picks

Final yr, the winner was any enterprise that may discover a mild industrial EV that matches what they want. For this yr, many extra have arrived AND much more will are available in 2024.

2024 is in actual fact is seeking to be a bumper yr for the class with the arrival of the Ford E-Transit Customized, LDV e-Ship 7, plus belated arrival of the Renault Kangoo E-Tech and the attainable arrival of the Victory mild truck and van vary plus (possibly) a few twin cab utes from LDV and JAC. The massive arrival for 2024 although would be the VW ID.Buzz van.

For a winner: nicely it will depend on what you want. The Ford E-Transit is a wonderful electrical van that ‘simply works’. The approaching smaller E-Transit Customized van is the talk-of-the-town relating to tradies all for an electrical work van.

The maybe-soon-to-arrive Renault Kangoo E-Tech seems an excellent bundle for individuals who need a smaller car-like van. Nonetheless, it’s operating late (as common for EV launches) and the Peugeot e-Companion is each right here and an equally compelling contender for that use.

So I’ll depart the award to those that can discover an electrical mild industrial automobile that fits your wants – nonetheless there are much more of you this yr than final.

Desk 4: mild industrial EV contenders. Supply: Notes to tables at finish of this text

And now (drum roll) to maybe my favorite class: the ‘What WERE they pondering??? award.

What WERE they pondering?

Final yr I awarded this prize collectively to the Lexus UX300e and the Mazda MX-30. I’m completely happy to say that in 2023 Lexus addressed the largest failing of the UX300e by placing a good sized battery in it. Now with a 440km WLTP driving vary – it is sufficient to be sensible for many makes use of.

Thoughts-you they nearly deserve a re-nomination for being one of many few producers to nonetheless embrace the wildly over optimistic NEDC vary determine of their promoting materials in addition to retain the zombie of the charging plug world – the CHAdeMO DC socket. (The newer Lexus RZ450e comes with the present CCS2 DC socket).

As for the Mazda – nicely, it positively scores a re-nomination given the brand new automotive worth has been raised by $10,000 to $74,500! Nonetheless, the second-hand market has solid its vote and now you can purchase an MX-30 for round $40k on the highway.

At that worth, it’d maybe rating a second-glance from potential purchasers of one of many short-range Chinese language fashions. My guess is the Mazda will slip gracefully into the pantheon of unloved second-hand automobiles that go so cheaply that they develop into a little bit of a cult traditional…

So to this yr. My nominations for the 2023 ‘what WERE they pondering?’ award are:

  1. The Renault E-Tech Megane. Provided in every single place else on the planet with 22 kW AC charging as normal, or in a couple of markets as 7 kW normal and 22 kW as an possibility – in Australia, with its huge distances and plentiful availability of three section energy shops in out-of-the approach locations, Renault have of their knowledge not provided 22 kW charging, and even 11 kW charging (as per nearly all different EVs offered right here). No, they determined 7 kW was adequate for Australia – with no different charger choices attainable.
  2. Tesla Inc. For an organization that started with lofty beliefs to hasten the electrification of transport – it definitely has not performed the mission any favours this yr. So why am I nominating what was the EV business poster-child?
  1. Within the pursuits of cheapness – Tesla has eliminated the indicator/lighting stalk from the Fashions 3 and Y. As a substitute, it’s essential to chase the indicator management round because the steering wheel turns, including one more distraction to elongate the time wanting away from the highway looking for it.
  2. The ‘structural’ battery pack is now rolling out. This one is each an financial AND environmental catastrophe. While not actually ‘structural’ because it does bolt in, Tesla have sophisticated the automobile restore business by disposing of the floor-pan above the battery and bolting/sticking the inside on to the battery high. This makes it each cheaper to assemble and saves materials – however it additionally means the potential for skyrocketing insurance coverage prices and/or pointless write-offs for seemingly minor dings to a battery pack, given you now should take out all the inside merely to take away the battery.
  3. Tesla nonetheless calling their autonomous driving help tech ‘autopilot’ (successfully implying the best Stage 5 within the 0 to five autonomy scale), when it barely makes it into Stage 2 and a few producers are already starting to launch full Stage 3 programs. Tesla nonetheless vigorously defends the system in all of the courtroom instances introduced towards it to date, however will probably be fascinating to see whether it is Tesla, or another person, that lastly makes it to Stage 4.
Fig. 3. The six ranges of autonomous driving, as outlined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. (SAE). Graphic: College of Birmingham


4. Relating to Elon Musk’s Cybertruck self-importance undertaking (Elon Musk BTW is the CEO of Tesla), the query actually must be requested as as to whether this meets his said aim of encouraging electrical transport for the plenty, or is in actual fact losing ever extra of the world’s assets by constructing a massively massive and heavy automotive with an enormous battery and costly panel materials, when all that R&D would have been higher spent making a ‘folks’s automotive’?

So the winner for this yr’s ‘what WERE they pondering award?’.

Effectively, given the E-Tech Megane is in all different methods an distinctive EV that provides an area environment friendly bundle and is extra environment friendly than most (squeezing 450km WLTP out of a 60kWh battery), maybe they are often forgiven for putting in a less expensive charger which, for many consumers, gained’t be observed.

No, for this yr one producer stands head and shoulders above the others for producing much less fascinating, much less user-friendly, much less environmentally pleasant EVs … and on high of all, introducing a automotive that the world actually didn’t want. That firm? Tesla Inc. in fact. All-up, I believe Tesla is a deserving winner of the ‘what WERE they pondering?’ award for 2023.

Notes to tables:

  1. Totally different ranges for the totally different dimension batteries. Similar for costs (see additionally notice d).
  2. V2L: Car to Load. V2G: Car to grid.
  3. Most recharging charges. Be aware that AC charges over 7.4 kW require three section energy. DC charges are for charging charges as much as round 80% of full cost. DC charging charges scale back considerably after 80%.
  4. Costs on the highway in Victoria until in any other case said.
  5. ETA: Q=quarter. Q1=Jan-Mar; Q2=Apr-Jun; Q3=July-Sept; This fall=Oct-Dec. H1=Jan-Jun; H2=Jul-Dec.



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