Interested in buying an electric vehicle in Australia? Good luck. It won’t take you long to discover that the choice is not large, barely more than a handful, and nothing is available at a price of under $50,000.
Contrast that with Europeans, and the globe at large, where consumers have a choice of more than 50 different models, a choice that will grow to more than 150 in the next two years – thanks to concerted efforts curtail vehicle emissions to comply with the new mandatory reduction targets.
The new European Union regulations specify a fleet-wide average of 95gm of carbon dioxide per kilometre will become compulsory for carmakers selling vehicles in Europe by 2021, or face big fines.
The new rules have seen a huge push from carmakers to introduce electric vehicles as they work to avoid fines, resulting in some 50 new plug-in hybrid models and 33 new battery electric vehicle models being introduced in 2020 alone, according to 2019 report by Transport & Environment.
Interestingly, while the number of new BEV models will continue to proliferate from 2019 to 2025, the number of new plug-in hybrid models introduced will taper off, and hydrogen fuel cell will remain low, as we noted in our coverage of the report in 2019.
The follow on effect of the European regulations – not so much because of them rather than because of the lack of similar regulations in Australia – is that carmakers are tending to shunt resources first to countries to comply with vehicle emissions rules.
While some automakers are struggling with battery supply issues – both Jaguar and Audi have halted production of their flagship electric vehicles in recent weeks – others, such as South Korean auto maker Kia have straight out said they will take the e-Niro and e-Soul to other markets first.
The upshot is that Australia is missing out.
So what European electric models is Australia missing out on? Here is a list of some of these vehicles from the Euro main automakers that Europeans will see – or already are – on roads in 2020.
The all-electric version of VW’s popular Golf hatchback has been the mainstay of the Volkswagen’s early foray into electric vehicles. The second generation e-Golf introduced in 2017 has a real world range of 200km. It is also on the market in our climate-minded Pacific neighbour New Zealand, and Volkswagen has confirmed previously with The Driven it will not come to Australia.
Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4
The ID series is Volkswagen’s all new electric vehicle family, and the ID.3 with a promised range of 330km range is the first to go into production. Despite the fact that Volkswagen is currently tackling software issues with the new ID.3 electric hatchback CEO Herbert Diess says the carmaker is keeping with its plan to launch in mid-2020.
This may have a follow-on effect for the all-electric ID.4 SUV, which it is said will have 600km driving range and Volkswagen’s Australian arm has previously said it hopes to bring to Australia ahead of the ID.3, by 2022.
Launch of the Audi e-Tron in Australia is expected in 2020, although it is possible the current stalling of production may impact that. As with the e-Golf, the e-Tron is already available in New Zealand, and despite production woes Audi is charging ahead with the announcement of the new 2021 e-Tron S that will join the additional Sportback 50 quattro and Sportback 55 quattro trims announced in November.
The Škoda Enyaq all-electric SUV has only just been announced by the Volkswagen group’s brand and not a great deal is known about it, except that it will be built on VW’s MEB platform, with the brand hinting at a 2020 launch as part of a 10-model electric offensive by 2022.
Seat el-Born and Mii
Spanish Seat – also a member of the Volkswagen family – announced in 2018 it would introduce a new electric model every six months until 2020. The Mii all-electric city car with 200km real world range will be followed this year by the el-Born which is, like the e-Golf and e-Tron before it, also destined for a New Zealand market.
The high performance Seat sub-brand Cupra will introduce the all-electric Tavascan SUV in mid-2020, and is rated under the WLTP cycle with a driving range of 450km.
Peugeot e-208 and e-2008, and e-Expert van
French carmaker Peugeot has said it will introduce the e-208 electric hatch with 340km driving range (WLTP) and e-2008 electric compact SUV with 311km driving range (WLTP) in Australia “when the time is right“. Both have already launched in both Europe and the UK.
Peugeot also has an all-electric e-Expert van with maximum 300km driving range dependent on battery options slated for release in Europe in the second half of 2020.
The premium Citroen sub-brand introduced the all-electric DS3 Crossback with more than 300km driving range (WLTP) in Europe in 2019 but there are no plans for an Australian release.
Opel in Europe and Vauxhall in the UK are introducing the electric version of its Corsa hatchback (which formed the basis of the Holden Barina once in Australia), replacing the all-electric e-Ampera which was the European version of the Chevrolet Bolt before PSA Group acquired Opel.
Smart EQ fortwo and forfour
Daimler brand Smart will begin marketing the fortwo and forfour all-electric city cars in Germany and Western Europe in 2020, but of courese, Smart have already pulled out of Australia and there are no plans to return.
French carmaker Renault will launch the all-electric Twingo ZE with 250km driving range (WLTP) in Europe by the end of 2020, and while the Renault Zoe and Kangoo ZE are available locally Renault has no plans for an Australia release of the Twingo ZE.
Iconic Italian brand Fiat will remarket its retro-style Fiat 500 as an all-electric premium vehicle at the Geneva Auto Show next month as it drops petrol and diesel options altogether.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.