Affordable electric vehicles become a rarity again as EV demand spikes, supply shrinks

Earlier in the week, I was contacted by a reader of The Driven asking me about the state of affordable EVs in Australia, as the cost of living – and particularly the petrol and diesel price – is on the rise. So I thought I’d look into where things stand today and what’s next.

Are there any affordable EVs available for prospective family car buyers?

EV uptake in Australia has seen a shift in the last 18 months. While 2021 saw a tripling of sales compared to 2020, that growth has been crunched in recent months by a cut in the supply of EVs to local shores. This is not great news when many families are looking at making the switch to an EV.

MG launched what was then Australis’s most affordable EV just over a year ago in early 2021. It was promoted as Australia’s cheapest new EV and became the second best selling EV last year. This year though, the most affordable EV uptake has started to see a bit of a slow down.

Source: carloop

One of the main drivers of this downturn has been that the 2022 MG ZS EV with a longer range is not yet available in Australia. And very few of the 2021 models have arrived in Australia. In some states like Queensland, only 13 MG EVs made it to owner’s driveways for the first three months of the year.

Only 1 affordable new SUV for sale under $45,000

Recently it transpired that Hyundai will remove the original Ioniq EV from its lineup. That was one of the more affordable options available to prospective EV buyers. One major used car sales site today had just one new MG ZS EV under $45,000 available for sale.

This car is located in Tasmania and with under 50kms on the clock. There were also 2 other used models available one in Tasmania and the other in NSW. The used Tasmanian example has over 13,000kms and is being advertised as worth more than a new one.

Affordable EVs are on the way

With a recent change in government and some changes to the EV policies on the horizon, a different signal is being sent to manufacturers to bring in more affordable EVs for Australian buyers.

The demand for these cars is certainly there, as seen by the orders of the upcoming BYD Atto 3. According to the importer of BYD, thousands of orders have been taken so far with an eventual delivery in the second half of the year. MG ZS EV also has the updated model arriving in the third quarter of 2022.

MG ZS EV charging at Ampol. Image: Riz Akhtar

The popularity of EVs is rising across the nation. With fuel prices predicted to soar again, the demand for EVs will continue to outstrip supply. What is needed is a push for manufacturers to get more affordable models here. These models will be eligible for many state-driven incentives such as subsidies and rebates.

Carmakers like MG and BYD that bring affordable family SUVs first will undoubtedly see sales grow over the next 12 months, leaving others to catch up.

More affordable models landed in the second half of 2022 can only be a positive thing for EV uptake in Australia. This shift will make it easier for more families to experience the benefits of EVs and help us decarbonise transport sooner.

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