Herald Sun - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - JOHN CAREY

Elec­tric mo­tors need no pre-event warm-up rou­tine, so you can’t hear the sound of dozens of EVs get­ting ready to race into show­rooms. Big name car brands have been talk­ing about the com­ing EV age for years. Plans and pre­dic­tions were plen­ti­ful but the promised prod­ucts al­ways seemed to be years away. No longer …

For now, only BMW and Tesla sell purely bat­tery-pow­ered cars in Aus­tralia. The Ger­man com­pany has the i3, an in­no­va­tive $68,100 small city car, while the Amer­i­can EV-only brand has the big Model S sedan and fu­tur­is­tic Model X SUV at prices stretch­ing from just over $100,000 to more than $200,000.

But at least 10 brands are com­mit­ted to launch­ing new EVs here be­fore the end of 2020, be­gin­ning soon. Some of them aim to quickly build multi-model line-ups, mean­ing about 20 new EVs are on the way with the prospect of be­com­ing ever more af­ford­able.

The Hyundai Ioniq Elec­tric five-door fast­back hatch, ex­pected to be about $45,000, will go on sale in about Au­gust, at the same time as Hy­brid and Plug-in Hy­brid ver­sions.

Jaguar has an­nounced a $119,000 start­ing price in Aus­tralia for its first-ever elec­tric ve­hi­cle, the good-look­ing but hard-to­cat­e­gorise I-Pace. The five-door, five-seat, SUV­like cross­over will go on sale from Oc­to­ber.

Be­fore the end of the year these prob­a­bly will be joined by two hatch­backs, the small Re­nault Zoe and the larger, sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Nis­san Leaf. Re­nault be­gan sell­ing the Zoe to fleet buy­ers in 2017, for $44,470 or $45,870, de­pend­ing on equip­ment grade. “The in­ten­tion is to be of­fer­ing to pri­vate buy­ers in the near fu­ture,” says Re­nault Aus­tralia spokes­woman Emily Fadeyev. First the com­pany needs to ex­pand its net­work of EV deal­ers from one each in Mel­bourne and Syd­ney.

The first Leaf ’s pal­try sales in Aus­tralia led to the model be­ing with­drawn here — but it still be­came the world’s most suc­cess­ful EV to date, tal­ly­ing more than 300,000 sales glob­ally.

Last month Nis­san’s Ja­panese HQ an­nounced the new Leaf would go on sale in Aus­tralia in the next 12 months with a larger 40kWh bat­tery pack giv­ing far greater range be­tween recharges than the orig­i­nal Leaf. Given the high level of tech, the com­ing Leaf is tipped to cost about $50,000.


Early in 2019, Hyundai is “very likely” to add the Kona Elec­tric to its range. “We see this as a game-changer,” says spokesman Bill Thomas.

There are two ver­sions of this small elec­tric SUV and Hyundai Aus­tralia’s in­ter­est is in the more ex­pen­sive long-range ex­am­ple, with

64kWh lithium-ion poly­mer bat­tery pack. It can cover up to 482km be­tween recharges, ac­cord­ing to the new in­ter­na­tional stan­dard.

Hyundai Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive JW Lee says it wants to es­tab­lish a lead­er­ship po­si­tion on EVs. He ex­pects gov­ern­ments to fol­low.

“Aus­tralia is blessed as a coun­try in terms of its nat­u­ral beauty and its clean skies. The Aus­tralian govern­ment has to put some more ef­fort in for their next gen­er­a­tion on this en­vi­ron­men­tal agenda,” he says.

The first of three con­firmed-for-pro­duc­tion Audi e-tron EVs will also ar­rive in 2019. Audi brought cam­ou­flaged pro­to­types of the first, a sporty SUV with elec­tric all-wheel drive, to the Geneva show ear­lier this month.

Audi chair­man Ru­pert Stadler says it will be joined be­fore the end of 2020 by a pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the e-tron Sport­back con­cept car and “a model in the com­pact seg­ment”. “The roll­out of three elec­tric ve­hi­cles in the next few years her­alds an ex­cit­ing phase of new prod­uct,” says Audi Aus­tralia’s Shaun Cleary. He thinks cus­tomers will be ex­cited, too. “We can’t wait to show them how well an Audi EV drives.”

Late next year, Mercedes-Benz will launch the EQ C, a pre­mium SUV with all-wheel drive. The fol­low­ing year it will be­gin pro­duc­tion the EQ A, a small, front-drive hatch. In time, there will be more mod­els from EQ, the name cho­sen for the com­pany’s EV-only sub-brand.

... AND IN 2020

Volkswagen plans to in­tro­duce its fam­ily of pur­pose-de­signed EVs at the end of next year. First fruit of the Wolfs­burg womb will be the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the Golf-sized ID hatch­back con­cept. It’ll reach Aus­tralia in 2020, says lo­cal spokesman Kurt McGui­ness.

“Mov­ing ahead, we also plan to in­tro­duce the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the ID Crozz and the ID Buzz,” he says, re­fer­ring to VW’s elec­tric SUV and mini­van con­cepts.

The com­pany’s Geneva EV con­cept is also headed for re­al­ity. “ID Vizzion has only just been pre­miered, but we can see it fit­ting within our (EV) range.”

Volvo boss Hakan Sa­muels­son prom­ises the Swedish brand will launch five fully elec­tric mod­els be­tween 2019 and 2021. Three will wear Volvo badges, the other two will be from the Polestar pre­mium per­for­mance sub-brand.

It’s not cer­tain when they will ar­rive in Aus­tralia but come they will. Volvo Cars Aus­tralia spokesman Greg Bos­nich says the com­pany plans to im­port ev­ery EV that its par­ent puts into pro­duc­tion in right-hand drive.

“The first of these will be the XC40,” he says. That is, the elec­tric ver­sion of the small SUV due to launch here next month with in­ter­nal com­bus­tion power.

The Mini Elec­tric — the first EV from the Bri­tish brand — is tipped to ar­rive in two years as a three-door hatch.

Porsche’s lovely Mis­sion E con­cept will start rolling off pro­duc­tion lines in 2019, prob­a­bly with an Aus­tralian launch early in 2020.

Mini’s owner, BMW Group, will def­i­nitely launch the iX3, an elec­tric ver­sion of its new medium-size SUV in 2020.

At the Geneva show, chair­man Har­ald Kruger con­firmed BMW would turn the dra­matic iVi­sion Dy­nam­ics con­cept into road­go­ing re­al­ity. Badged i4, it will go into pro­duc­tion in Mu­nich in 2021.








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