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MG ZS EV leads 2021 electric car sales battle of non-Tesla models, ahead of Hyundai Kona Electric, Nissan Leaf and more

The MG ZS EV won’t outsell the Tesla Model 3 this year, but it’s ahead of other rivals.

Electric vehicle sales have kicked up a gear in Australia this year.

The availability of more models, as well as a growing acceptance and understanding of the benefits of EVs has helped push overall EV sales up by 191 per cent to the end of September.

There are still only a handful of EV models available in Australia for now, but there are plenty on the horizon.

The Tesla Model 3 is a lock to be the top-selling EV in Australia this year, given it is believed to be sitting at around 9000 units so far in 2021.

But if you look at the sub-$70,000 electric offerings of the mainstream brands, not including Tesla, there is an interesting little sales battle brewing.

Sales figures for electric versions of these models reveals that the MG ZS is the most popular of the mainstream brand’s EVs by some margin.

MG Motor has sold 13,740 examples of the ZS in total this year – including petrol versions – making it the top-selling small SUV in the country.

Figures show the Chinese contender has found homes for 1023 ZS EVs in that period, meaning the electric variant makes up seven per cent of all ZS sales.

The ZS EV was, until this week, the most affordable non-commercial EV available in Australia. The BYD e6 undercuts it at $39,999 before on-road costs. Don’t expect that pricing to push BYD to the top of the sales charts. Just 15 examples are available for now, with BYD kicking off its bullish Australian campaign in full next year.

The Hyundai Kona Electric trails the MG ZS EV for sales. The Hyundai Kona Electric trails the MG ZS EV for sales.

The next most popular EV of the mainstream brands is the Hyundai Kona Electric. Of the 10,150 Konas Hyundai has sold this year, 355 of them were the Electric – representing a 3.5 per cent slice of its overall sales.

Nissan’s standalone Leaf follows the Kona with 318 sales year to date. It’s up 9.3 per cent so far in 2021 after getting a boost from the longer range e+ variant that launched a few months back.

Next up is another Hyundai, the Ioniq. Not to be confused with the freshly launched Ioniq 5 crossover, the Ioniq is the small liftback offered in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EV guise.

Interestingly, the EV version, which has found 205 homes, makes up the majority of all Ioniq sales on 66 per cent.

It might not necessarily be a mainstream brand but from about $55,000 before on-road costs, the Mini Cooper Electric hatch is cheaper than some of the other models here. Mini has sold 188 electric hatchbacks to the end of September, which is 12 per cent of the Mini three-door hatch’s overall sales.

Following the Mini is the Kia Niro, which, like the related Ioniq, comes in hybrid, PHEV and EV flavours. The EV in this case makes up 37 per cent of sales, with Kia shifting 146 electric models out of the Niro’s tally of 398. Keep in mind that the Niro only launched in May.

Sales of the MX-30 EV are low but Mazda only brought in 100 examples for 2021. Sales of the MX-30 EV are low but Mazda only brought in 100 examples for 2021.

The slowest selling of the mainstream brand’s EVs is the Mazda MX-30 that also only landed mid-year. Just 40 examples have been sold to date out of the 793 for the whole MX-30 range. The lower numbers are a result of Mazda's initial allocation of just 100 units of the EV for 2021.

Further up the price ladder, the Mercedes-Benz EQA is sitting on 238 units for the year after hitting showrooms in July. Interestingly, Volvo’s XC40 Recharge pure electric variant only went on sale in September, and it’s already recorded 131 registrations.

The Swede and German rivals are neck and neck when it comes to price. The Benz is $76,800 before on-road costs and the Volvo is $76,990.

Pass the $100,000 threshold and things get even more interesting. The sales star for 2021 is the Porsche Taycan with 445 registrations so far. Launched early in the year, the Taycan is now Porsche’s second biggest-selling individual model line in Australia behind the Macan SUV (1724).

The Mercedes-Benz EQC SUV follows the Porsche with 200 sales. Rounding out the list is the Audi e-tron (83) and Jaguar I-Pace (43).

BMW will add to this tally from next year with the launch of not one but three battery electric vehicles – the i4 four-door sedan, and the iX3 and iX SUVs.

Tesla does not report its sales figures, so we have left the Model S and Model X out, but keep an eye on CarsGuide for more news on this front soon.