133 155 157 159 163 173 176 177 184 184 196 207 215 219 service station are increasingly popular but for now are largely exclusive to luxury brands.
Australia’s biggest selling plug-in hybrid, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV from $50,490, has relatively small overall volume.
The game-changer could be the plug-in version of Hyundai’s Ioniq (main picture), which is likely to be sharply priced and enthusiastically marketed when it launches in December.
Among early adopters, there are plug-in versions of the Volvo XC90, Porsche Cayenne and Panamera, the Mercedes C350e, GLE500e, and S500e limousine.
BMW has the broadest spread among the German brands, with PHEV versions of the 2 Series compact people-mover, 3 Series and 5 Series sedans, and the X5 SUV.
No range anxiety thanks to the petrol engine back-up. With up to 50km of electric driving between charges, some owners may not need to use petrol on the daily commute.
Electric driving range is optimistic. Limited access to recharge points beyond the household. The petrol engine is redundant most of the time.
Tesla is the world’s best known brand but there will be a flood of competition from Jaguar, Porsche, Mercedes and BMW among others, some imminent or within two years.
Showrooms await the Jaguar i-Pace, Porsche Taycan, Mercedes EQ and BMW iX3 (which will join the i3 and i8).
The mainstream won’t miss out. Hyundai launches an all-electric version of the Ioniq in December, while Nissan’s new Leaf is due mid-2019.
Kia is looking to launch its e-Niro electric SUV next year and follow up with two or three models over the next couple of years. Volkswagen and Renault are poised to enter the market in a similar time frame.
The driving range on the above EVs varies. Experience shows, as with fuel consumption labels, claims of between 250km and 500km are optimistic.
Prices are yet to be announced but expect a starting price of at least $50,000: twice the price of a conventional hatch but half as much as the cheapest Tesla.
Emissions are not from the tailpipe but from the energy supplier, zippy performance, almost silent motoring.
Driving range is optimistic. Limited access to recharge points beyond household and public charging points. Battery dead? You’ll need a tow truck, not a jump start.
This could be the end game but it’s a case of chicken versus egg. Hyundai is about to introduce its second-generation hydrogen car and Toyota is testing a fleet of fuel cell vehicles locally.
But for now there is just one refuelling point at Hyundai’s office in Sydney. Toyota uses a mobile refueller on the back of a truck to follow its fleet. The ACT Government is about to install a hydrogen refuelling point as part of a trial of 20 Hyundai Nexo SUVs.
You can refuel as quickly as a petrol car and get the same range.
The tech is prohibitively expensive and there’s scant refuelling infrastructure.