The cheapest new electric car in Australia! 2022 BYD T3 undercuts MG ZS EV by up to $9000, as new budget Chinese brand arrives to tempt buyers
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The upcoming Volkswagen ID.3 could be Australia's cheapest electric car if the brand can lock in its target pricing when the new model launches Down Under in 2023.
When asked how far out the ID.3 was for our market, brand communications director Paul Pottinger told CarsGuide: “We’re a right-hand-drive market already right at the end of the production chain.”
“And pricing, we’re looking at the top of the regular Golf range, think the R-Line, that $40k range,” he said.
For reference the new-gen Golf R-Line wears a $37,990 before on-road costs sticker price, so $40k seems to be a conservative estimate. If we can assume the brand can actually bring the car here at bang-on $40k that would, in fact, make it the most affordable electric car in Australia, knocking off the current MG ZS EV champ which currently starts at $43,990 drive-away.
We’re told though, an imminent ZS EV facelift could increase the electric SUV's price, granting the ID.3 yet another advantage.
“These will be circuit breakers,” Mr Pottinger said of the ID.3 hatch and ID.4 SUV, “genuinely affordable EVs.”
At the launch of the updated Tiguan a fortnight ago, Mr Pottinger revealed the brand was targeting a roughly $55k price for the ID.4, similar to the Tiguan R-line, which VW said was "promising" as the R-Line is the most popular variant of the Tiguan range.
Timing for the 'genuinely affordable' pair? The brand couldn’t lock in a window, as a combination of high demand in Europe and a seemingly anti-EV taxation approach by many of Australia’s states are setting things back.
“Originally we were talking about 2022, but it might now be 2023,” Mr Pottinger said.
“Why would Australia be a priority? We don’t even ask for incentives for EVs, just an even playing field, but Victoria’s hair-brained road user charge is the embodiment of a disincentive.”
The ID.3 has been on the market in Europe for some time where VW tells us there is “huge demand” driven by the hatchback’s relative affordability and generous tax incentives.
The electric hatch can be chosen with either 45kWh (up to 350km range), 58kWh (up to 420km range), or 77kWh (up to 550km range – all according to the stricter WLTP range standards). It is worth noting that even the most affordable 45kWh version costs from around the equivalent of $50k in its home market of Germany, although its 350km WLTP range is better than the MG ZS EV (263km range), Hyundai Ioniq (from $48,790 BOCs – 311km range), and base Nissan Leaf (from $49,990 BOCs – 270km range).
Unlike all of those rivals, the ID.3 is built on a bespoke electric-only MEB platform, offering it benefits like a more open floorplan, a more integrated high-voltage electronics platform, and more flexible charging (higher variants can charge on DC at 125kW and AC at 11kW compared to 100kW and 7.2kW for each charging type respectively on rivals).
Stay tuned as we keep an ear to the ground for more accurate launch timing and specification for the ID.3, now expected sometime in 2023.