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Step aside, Tesla - the one thing Chinese electric cars do better than anyone else's | Opinion

China is the great EV disruptor in Australia and one of the next models we will see is the GWM Ora Good Cat.

We all — most of us, at least – recognise that electric vehicles have an important role to play in all of our automotive futures, but there is an uncomfortable reality surrounding most EVs that is simply unavoidable.

And that is, of course, that they're not cheap. Not in the slightest. Finding a pure-electric vehicle you can park in your driveway for less than $50k is no easy task (in fact, only a couple qualify), while finding one you can pay well over $100k for is all too easy.

You might think that Australia's traditional entry-level players – you know, your Kias and Hyundais – might have stepped up to the cut-price EV plate, but alas they have not. The all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 might well be cheerful, but they're far from cheap.

Kia itself says it's unlikely it will be playing in the entry-level EV space. And it knows exactly who will be filling that void.

"There will be a lot of brands that we’ve never heard of that will come into that cheaper EV field, to make up what will be a pretty high demand for EVs," says Kia Australia's chief operating officer, Damien Meredith.

"There will be a lot of competition around that $30k-$40k mark. There will be a lot of competition – will we be there? We might be."

And where will those brands you've never heard of come from? China, of course. And not from Tesla - which sources most of its Australia-bound EVs from there - but from a heap of other brands seemingly hellbent on lowering the cost of EV ownership in Australia.

The Chery Omoda 5 is coming very soon in EV guise. The Chery Omoda 5 is coming very soon in EV guise.

It's begun already, of course. Both MG and BYD are currently battling it out for the title of cheapest EV in Australia.

The MG ZS EV is currently ahead, and can be yours for $44,990 drive-away. That's for the cheapest Excite model, which will deliver a pretty decent 322km driving range between charges.

Then there's the BYD Atto 3, which is priced from $44,381, but that price doesn’t include on-road costs, which push it just above the MG (depending on which state you live in).

BYD, by the way, is expected to secure position number three on the best-selling EV list when it begins officially listing sales figures, representing a pretty meteoric rise for a brand-new marque in Australia. And more BYD models are on the way, including the Atto 4 sedan and the Dolphin city hatch that will be renamed for Australia.

The BYD Atto 3 is already on sale in Australia. The BYD Atto 3 is already on sale in Australia.

But what's next? Enter Chery, which will launch the Omoda 5 in Australia next year. The all-electric SUV promises a driving range of around 450kms, and carries with it bold promises from the manufacturer that it is better than its Chinese and Korean competitors.

Then there's Geely, also making noises about an Australian return. It could lead the charge (so to speak) with the Emgrand, a sleek sedan that promises to travel up to 500km on a single charge.

Or there's GWM's Ora EV brand, which should kick off with the Good Cat, a handy all-electric hatch that produces 126kW and 250Nm, and will also pack a 48kWh battery that allows for up to 311km of driving range before needing to recharge.

Aiways has a presence in Europe with the U5. Aiways has a presence in Europe with the U5.

Another likely contender is Aiways which hails from China but has a big presence in Europe already. The U5 SUV should be the first cab off the rank but an Australian launch will have to wait until after other bigger right-hand drive markets.

And that's just the brand's we know are planning a launch in Australia. There is no way of knowing what other manufacturers are waiting in the wings. Remember, half of the world's EV sales take place in China, and electric vehicles there are a very big deal.

So cheap EVs are possible. But for some reason, nobody else seems all that interested in making them. And that leaves a massive market opportunity for Chinese brands.