Are we there yet?
- Five new EV models currently priced under $50K
- Dominated by competitive Chinese-made EVs
- Government rebates and incentives further lower price barrier
Electric vehicles have finally started to creep into the 'affordable' space that many buyers have been pleading for in Australia.
We may not see a new electric car under $30,000 in the foreseeable future but just a few years into the onslaught of EVs in the Australian market there are now a handful of options below $40,000.
Here’s your guide to the cheapest new EVs available (or well on their way) in Australia…
- 🇨🇳 Why are Chinese-made EVs often cheaper?
- 📏 Size v price
- 🔍 The cheapest EVs in detail
- 🤔 Time to make the electric switch?
🇨🇳 Why are Chinese-made EVs often cheaper?
Most sub-$60K EV models are made in China to benefit from cheaper labour costs and a local parts supply chain.
Importantly, this enables local access to the world’s biggest battery pack suppliers which is the key driver of higher prices compared to traditional petrol- and diesel-powered models.
The Chinese vehicle manufacturing industry has also rapidly grown in the past few years, with buyers globally – including Australia – now more willing to accept Chinese-made models thanks to budget-friendly price tags, strong value propositions, and improved perceived quality.
Some traditional carmakers have also partnered with or been acquired by Chinese companies, while others still establish factories in the country to reap from the local supply chain, reduce costs, and compete in one of the world’s biggest auto markets.
However, China's competitive advantage has been put into question due to incentives for automakers from the Chinese government. The Volkswagen Group has planned to establish vertically integrated EV production in Spain to compete.
Tesla and BYD in particular have dominated Australian EV sales, with models such as the BYD Dolphin, Atto 3, MG 4, and ZS EV offering appealing sub-$50K price tags to lower the barrier of entry for first-time EV buyers.
📏 Size v price
Australian buyers finally have more affordable EVs to choose from, compared to just a few years ago. But, the top 10 cheapest EVs are all classified as ‘small’.
As many European families do, Australians could use most of the models below for carting the kids and groceries around every day – especially with the decently practical BYD Atto 3 and MG ZS EV small electric SUVs – but they may have limited interior space depending on your needs.
Of course, while these EVs are ‘cheap’ in the context of the electric market, they're still generally pricier than equivalent petrol-engined offerings.
However, some are priced on par – sometimes cheaper – due to the entry price of petrol cars significantly increasing in recent years.
If it's a proper medium or large car or SUV you need, be prepared to spend more than $60,000 at the low end.
Yet, as our story linked below demonstrates, the right circumstances can see most EVs deliver greater value over time than their petrol counterparts, as you own the vehicle for longer and drive further.
10 11 most affordable EVs in Australia
Prices are accurate at the time of publication and exclude mandatory on-road costs and dealer delivery fees which usually add a few thousand dollars. These models are also eligible for EV incentives and purchase rebates, depending on where you live.
The list represents the starting base price of each model sorted from cheapest to most expensive. We’ve also stretched it to 11 given four models are identically priced.
*Model launching soon in Australia
- BYD Dolphin* – from $38,890
- MG 4 – from $38,990
- GWM Ora – from $39,990
- MG ZS EV – from $44,990
- BYD Atto 3 – from $48,011
- Nissan Leaf – from $50,990
- Fiat 500e – from $52,500
- Cupra Born – from $59,990
- Volvo EX30* – from $59,990
- Peugeot E-2008 – from $59,990
- Peugeot E-Partner – from $59,990
🔍 The cheapest EVs in detail
This story has listed the most affordable EV models, but how do they compare based on paper specs, warranty and servicing? Check out our guide linked below for more.
🤔 Is it time to make the electric switch?
EVs are not for everyone (for now), but they are right for most. Driving range, charging availability, and battery safety remain key perceived issues. For more, check out our /Electric hub guides below.