Coming to Australia in 2023 — Cars, Cars, Cars

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As well as the electric vehicle models currently available in Australia, it looks like there will be at least 10 new EV models arriving sometime on 2023. Some are already here undergoing testing, others may be delayed, and some may be vapourware. Recent history has taught me to be wary of announcements in the media and from car companies. The two big questions are: will they be cheap enough to qualify for state government rebates? And will they arrive in numbers sufficient enough to make a difference? Only time will tell.

Perth Now reports that 2023 will be another milestone year for electrified automotive technology. Most form factors will be represented: SUVs, vans, utes, and hatchbacks. Toyota is promising the BZ4, Fiat the 500e, Subaru the Solterra, and Ford the E-Transit van. The rumour is circulating that the Mustang Mach-E will be available, but we are awaiting confirmation. Volkswagen is testing the ID.4 for Australian conditions. LDV will be bringing out its electric ute and delivery van. These are all new EV brands to the Australian market. Where are you, General Motors Holden?

Big Auto Brands need to beware: Australian buyers, like their counterparts overseas, may not prove to be loyal if the EV offerings don’t stack up. For example, in the last few months, a whole lot of different vehicles have been traded in for the newly arrived Tesla Model Y. Historically, carmakers have depended on loyalty to protect their market share, but EV buyers seem to be willing to give the new brands a “go.” This is true especially in Australia, where the majority of EVs are being bought from “new” brand Tesla. All of these sales are conquest sales.

Carmakers that can attract early adopters have a good chance in making them loyal customers, but if you don’t have an EV, you can’t sell them a car. On average, about half of the people who buy a specific brand will buy another car from the same brand. However, it doesn’t matter if you have a great reputation for fossil-powered vehicles if your first EV can’t compete with the competition. The Mazda MX 30 is a good example of this. How many opportunities will a loyal customer give their favourite brand before that customer tries the “newbies”?

To qualify for the state government rebates in Australia, an EV must sell for under AUS$58,000 in Queensland and under AUS$68,000 in most other states. Stamp duty waivers and lower registration costs, among other incentives, are offered. So, a sales price around AUS$40,000 would be very attractive. Please note: a Toyota Corolla sells for $AUS36,000 currently. Have we achieved price parity then?

At the value for money end of the market, we have the BYD Dolphin already spotted on Sydney streets. Distributor EVDirect has confirmed its hatchback will be on sale in the first half of 2023 for less than AUS$40,000. Reports from China indicate that BYD will have no problems supplying product. The MG 4 is also due by mid 2023 and is expected to be cheaper than the MG ZS EV — currently Australia’s cheapest EV and competing with the BYD Atto 3 for second in the great EV race to Australian hearts and roads.

Can you spot the BYD Atto 3 and the MG ZS EV in this photo? Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Later in the year we could see the Fiat 500e, the Toyota bZ4x, its clone the Subaru Solterra, and the VW ID.4. It is uncertain how many will be available and whether they will qualify for state level incentives.

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 may arrive early in 2023 at about the same price as a Tesla Model 3. But there are likely to be fewer than 2,000 available. Once again, we will have the great Hyundai lottery!

The Cupra Born looks like a great deal of fun. Pre-orders have opened, but no data is available yet. Cupra is a competitively priced part of the VW stable. The BMW iX1 costs about the same as the Ioniq 5, so will not qualify for rebates. However, it might be good for a laugh, as it still has the iconic kidney bean grill — without any aircooling justification.

In the van and ute segment, we have Ford and LDV, and hopefully a lot more, as this segment is ripe for electrification. The LDV ute will be touring the eastern states of Australia as part of a promotion supported by Solar Citizens. I expect to attend most the events in Queensland, so will keep the readership informed.

No point mentioning the EV models coming from Mercedes, Jaguar, and Maserati, as most of us can’t afford them.

Demand for electric vehicles still outstripped supply in Australia, but as each model comes out, motorists are rushing to snap them up. Soon there should be an EV to suit the needs of every driver as we move from a supply drip feed to a flood.

2022 has seen a marked increase in the penetration of new EVs, moving from around 2.4% at the beginning of the year to 8–10% in the closing months, giving an average for the year of around 5%. The changemakers were the Tesla Model Y, the BYD Atto 3, and the refreshed MG ZS EV. There are reports of many ships due to dock and unload in the New Year, expect regular updates.

Electric car podium in Australia — BYD Atto 3, Tesla Model 3, MG ZS EV (L to R). Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

As we did on 2022, Majella and I will be attending numerous events along the Queensland coast and hopefully a few in regional centres. As these dates become available, I will share them with you and hopefully you can join us, especially if you are local. I expect events in Brisbane, Rockhampton, Gympie, Townsville, and Gladstone. Let me know if you are planning to host an event, as I would be happy to write about it.

It is expected that at least a dozen new models of EVs will enter the market in 2023. These will be SUVs, sedans, vans, and hatchbacks. Some will be marketed in a traditional manner through dealerships and in mainstream advertising (like the MG4). Others will be talked about so much that they don’t need advertising, like the Model Y and the BYD Dolphin. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is choice, price competitiveness, and visibility. And this is being achieved.

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David Waterworth

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

David Waterworth has 750 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth