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Top 10 most efficient electric vehicles sold in Australia

 

Efficiency is a major factor in making electric vehicles cheaper to own – here, we rank the top 10 EVs by how far they’ll take you on a kilowatt-hour of electricity


The novelty of electric vehicles can make it easy to forget that, much like petrol and diesel cars, EVs are not created equal when it comes to efficiency.

It’s easy for a carmaker to simply add a bigger battery to an EV to make it go further. What’s harder – and much more impressive to us – is carmakers who can make their electric car more efficient than the rest.

Kia EV6 GT 2023-3
Electric vehicles are rolling out thick and fast across Australia

Making an EV more efficient means it can use a smaller battery – which in turn weighs less, reducing the energy needed to move it in the first place; a virtuous cycle that also makes EVs handle better, with less mass to contain in corners and over bumps.

Smaller batteries also consume fewer of the earth’s resources to create – and they can be recharged more quickly and at lower cost. See why we love high efficiency so much?

In this guide from Chasing Cars, we rank the top-10 EVs on sale in Australia in mid-2022 by their efficiency. We provide their WLTP-TEH efficiency in kWh/100km, as well as their battery size and range, plus a weekly recharge cost for an average Aussie driving 270km per week, charging at home while paying $0.25/kWh for electricity.

Prices are correct at the time of writing in July 2022.

Tesla has created a seriously efficient EV in the Model 3

#1 most efficient EV in Australia: Tesla Model 3 Standard Range RWD ($65,500)

Efficiency: 11.6kWh/100km

Usable battery size: 57.5kWh

Range: 491km

Form factor: Four-door, five-seat midsize sedan

Tesla is the catalyst that pushed legacy car makers to get serious about electric vehicles so it’s no surprise that with its wealth of experience the American brand is extremely good at creating energy-efficient cars like the Model 3.

While all Model 3s are quite efficient, the entry-level model with a 57.5kWh battery and a single motor on the rear axle is the best of them all.

With an efficiency rating of 11.6kWh the average Australian who travels 270km per week can expect to pay around $7.83 to do so, which is certainly alluring as petrol skyrockets above $2.30/litre. 

Mini Electric 2021 side
The Mini Copper SE can’t go very far on a single charge but it can do so using barely any electricity

#2: Mini Cooper SE ($55,650)

Efficiency: 12.4kWh/100km

Usable battery size: 28.9kWh

Range: 203km

Form factor: Three-door, four-seat small hatchback

Big batteries are great for achieving a long range but they are also heavy and therefore less efficient when travelling, which makes Mini’s decision to fit a tiny 28.9kWh battery in its electric hatchback quite clever.

While it may only have a range of 203km, the Mini Cooper SE draws just 12.4kWh from its battery for every 100km driven in combined conditions.

Assuming you can find a place to regularly top up the battery, the Mini presents a great option for those who use their second car for navigating stop-start traffic in city streets.

What’s more, the Mini will only cost $8.37 to top up, assuming you drive the average 255km every week. 

Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander 2021 front 3/4
The Hyundai Kona Electric is offered in both standard- and long-range variants

#3: Hyundai Kona Electric Standard Range ($54,500)

Efficiency: 12.9kWh/100km

Usable battery size: 39.2kWh

Range: 305km

Form factor: Five-door, five-seat small SUV

Last year Hyundai decided to introduce a short range version of its already incredibly efficient Kona Electric small SUV which uses just 12.9kWh/100km despite its pumped-up SUV shape.

A usable driving range of 305km will offer a bit more breathing room than the Mini previous testing conducted by Chasing Cars on our EV range test showed the Hyundai actually exceeded its range claim when equipped with the larger 64kWh battery.

With its lower price of $54,500 before on-road costs, the Kona Electric Standard Range is also one of the few EVs eligible for the more restrictive rebates put out by the Queensland government and will only cost an average of $8.71 to charge up every week.

Tesla Model Y 2022 midnight silver side profile
The Model Y is a newcomer to the Australian market

#4: Tesla Model Y Standard Range RWD ($72,300)

Efficiency: 13.3kWh/100km

Usable Battery size: 60kWh

Range: 455km

Form factor: Five-door, five-seat midsize SUV

Launching to the Australian market just last week is the Tesla Model Y – a whole two years after it first went on sale in the United States.

Like the Model 3 on which is it based, the Model Y is incredibly efficient and uses just 13.3kWh/100km in combined conditions, putting the cost of your weekly charge at $9.00

This is despite the fact it carries around a rather large 60kWh battery that provides a driving range of 455km. In many ways, the Model Y is the best of both worlds when it comes to striking a balance of efficiency and useful driving range.

The Nissan Leaf has been around for a long time but still has a lot to offer

#5: Nissan Leaf base model ($50,990)

Efficiency: 13.7kWh/100km

Usable battery size: 36kWh

Range: 270km

Form factor: Five-door, five-seat small hatchback

The Nissan Leaf might be getting on in years but even amongst a wave of new and advanced rivals this electric hatchback still has some fundamental talent under its bodywork.

When equipped with the 36kWh battery in standard range form, the Leaf uses just  13.7kWh/100km, which puts the weekly cost of charging at $9.25, and while Chasing Cars did see this figure blow out to 15.9kWh/100km on a highway range test, the results are still impressive.

The Leaf also came quite close to its 270km range claim, achieving a driving distance of 226km on our road trip from Sydney to Canberra.

Kia Niro 2022 electric GT-Line
The new Kia Niro is slightly bigger inside than the Hyundai Kona

#6: Kia Niro S Fully-Electric ($65,300)

Efficiency: 14.13kWh/100km

Usable battery size: 64.8kWh 

Range: 458km

Form factor: Five-door, five-seat midsize SUV

Unlike the Hyundai Kona with which it shares the bulk of its underpinnings, the Kia Niro is only available with the larger 64.8kWh battery pack in Australia.

This provides a flexible driving range of 458km and yet still remains quite efficient with an official rating of 14.13kWh/100km in facelifted guise, reflecting a weekly cost of $9.54.

While the two are similar underneath, the Niro offers a bit more interior space than the Kona which could make it worth considering for family buyers.

Polestar 2 2022 feature-1
The Polestar 2 is available with a single motor FWD variant

#7: Polestar 2 Standard Range Single Motor ($61,400)

Efficiency: 15.2kWh/100km

Usable battery size: 67.0kWh

Range: 440km

Form factor: Five-door, five-seat midsize hatchback

The Polestar 2 is one of the newest entrants to the Australian market and the availability of the more affordable Standard Range Single Motor has made it more accessible to buyers.

Not only is it the cheapest but it’s also the most efficient of the range with consumption rated at 15.2kWh/100km, putting the cost of a weekly charge at $10.26.

Like the Tesla Model 3, the Polestar 2 also has a respectable range claim of 440km so you’ll be travelling further on less energy than some other EVs on this list.

MG ZS EV 2022 front 3/4 driving corner
The MG ZS EV is available at a keen price of $46,990 driveaway

#8: MG ZS EV ($46,990 driveaway) 

Efficiency: 15.3 kWh/km

Usable battery size: 49.0kWh 

Range: 320km

Form factor: Five-door, five-seat small SUV

The MG ZS EV is the second best-selling electric vehicle in Australia and while much of that success is owed to its keen starting price (which has now risen to $46,990 driveaway) there is no denying its fundamental level of capability. 

Despite the cheaper price, the recently facelifted  MG has quite a lot going for it and boasts a respectable efficiency rating of 15.2kWh/100km, putting your weekly charge cost at $10.33.

The recent update has also seen the range claim climb to 320km, a boost it sorely needed after Chasing Cars found the previous model fell well short of its previous claim. 

Hyundai Ioniq 5 2022 art shot front
The retro Hyundai Ioniq 5 is quite frugal for its size

#9: Hyundai Ioniq 5 RWD ($71,900)

Efficiency: 15.5kWh/100km

Usable battery size: 72.6kWh  

Range: 451km

Form factor: Five-door, five-seat midsize SUV

Sitting on the same e-GMP platform as the EV6, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 shares much with its Kia sibling but brings its own retro flare that has proved quite popular with Australian buyers.

Australia does not yet have access to the smaller battery versions so the single- and dual-motor 70kWh options are the only choice for now.

Even still, the slightly cheaper RWD, single motor Ioniq 5 has an efficiency rating of 15.5kWh/100km, putting the cost of charging it up every week at $10.46.

The Kia EV6 Air can travel up to 528km on a single charge

#10: Kia EV6 Air RWD ($67,990)

Efficiency: 16.5kWh/100km

Usable battery size: 72.5kWh

Range: 528km

Form factor: Five-door, five-seat midsize SUV

The Niro may have been Kia’s debut into the world of electric vehicles but the EV6 is where things started to get serious. Sitting on the lauded e-GMP platform which is dedicated to all things electric, this midsize SUV has helped move the game forward.

We don’t get the short range battery packs in Australia but even with the 72.5kWh model the EV6 still has an efficiency rating of 16.5kWh/100km, meaning it would cost $11.14 to charge every week.

This is assuming buyers opt for the single motor, rear drive model as the AWD version is slightly less efficient but in our testing on Chasing Cars’ Car Of The Year, our judges actually preferred the driving dynamics and ride quality of the more frugal option. 

The inbound Cupra Born is extremely fast and efficient

Honourable mentions

Cupra Born (from $60,000, est)

Efficiency: 13.8kWh/100km

Usable battery size: 77.0kWh

Range: 492 km

Form factor: Five-door, five-seat midsize SUV

The Cupra Born is not yet on sale in Australia so it can’t officially qualify for this list but it is expected to arrive before the end of 2022.

Official specs have not yet been confirmed but Cupra is expected to bring the dual-motor version producing 170kW of power and 310Nm of torque.

Despite its performance focus, the Born is also rather efficient and uses just 13.8kWh in combined conditions, putting the cost of a weekly charge at $35.19.

The handsome Genesis G80 is surprisingly efficient for a large car

Genesis Electrified G80 (from $140,000, est)

Efficiency: 15.9kWh/100km

Usable battery size: 82.5kWh

Range: 520km

Form factor: Four-door, five-seat large sedan

As the electric vehicle market exands to include more and more options in Australia it’s only natural that we would see more luxury options break onto the field.

Genesis has leapfrogged rivals such as BMW by offering the Electrified G80 first in Australia which combines a seriously luxurious interior combined with an efficiency rating of 15.9kWh/100km.

This puts the cost of charging it every week at $40.55 and it still has a driving range of 520km.

The Enyaq iV 80 uses just 14.1kWh/100km

Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV 80 (from $80,000, est)

Efficiency: 14.1kWh/100km 

Usable battery size: 77kWh

Range: 545km

Form factor: Five-door, five-seat midsize SUV

Skoda has yet to confirm what exact version of the Enyaq Coupe will be coming to Australia in the second half of 2023 but we hope the iV 80 grade is on the shortlist. 

Despite being a midsize SUV, the Enyaq is still quite efficient with a consumption rate of 14.1kWh/100km, amounting to a weekly charge cost of $35.96.

Combine that with a driving range of 545km, courtesy of a huge 77kWh battery, this could be a great road trip SUV for Australian buyers.