which electric cars are filling the tesla gap?

XC40 Pure Recharge. Image: Bridie Schmidt

The delivery date for a new Tesla Model 3 ordered now stretches out to 2023. And, the Model Y is still not available for order in Australia.

The delays for the Model 3, which are now hitting customers who had been expecting deliveries by the end of June, and are now being told they will have to wait another few months – threatens to known Tesla off its perch as the best selling EV in Australia.

Until April this year, this ranking had never been in doubt. In fact, the Model 3 alone accounted for 60 per cent of all EV sales in Australia  in 2021, but the delays in deliveries is creating a gap that other car makers are rushing to fill as customers vote with their feet.

It appears that the continued absence of the Model Y could also be a factor. For those after an EV with a hatch at the back, there are several other options now on the market. Whether there is enough inventory to meet demand is an entirely another topic.

Additionally, there are several compact electric SUVs on the market that represent options for those wanting more ground clearance. Granted, we’re not talking 200mm plus clearance but with the Volvo XC40 Pure Recharge hitting 171mm clearance, available EVs are starting to head into proper SUV territory.

As The Driven has reported, the Volvo XC40 Pure Recharge proved top of the list in EV sales in April (though it’s important to remember sales ladder leaders are also dependent on stock availability.)

What electric SUVs and fastbacks are available?

So, what other EVs are drivers choosing, and what features could be driving them towards their choice?

Common factors include being either a crossover, compact SUV or fastback (also known as a liftback). Other common features include a tow hitch capability (although not in all cases), and CCS2 ports – not CHAdeMo as with the Nissan Leaf and Lexus ux300e.

Also interesting is the fact that very few of those replacing the Model 3 have super-fast sub-6 second acceleration from 0-100km/hr.

Anecdotally, we are hearing that drivers are largely choosing longer-range vehicles where budgets allow. Note, all pricing is before on-road costs such as registration, government fees and dealer delivery.

Volvo XC40 Pure Recharge

which electric cars are filling the tesla gap?

Volvo XC40 Recharge. Source: Volvo

The Volvo XC40 Pure Recharge, when The Driven tested it, proved a zippy and versatile compact SUV. Priced from $76,990, it is based on Volvo’s CMA platform that it shares with the Polestar and has 171mm ground clearance.

Like the Polestar 2, it has integrated Android Automotive which gives drivers the ability to add vehicle-specific apps and use Google Maps and Assistant when driving without needing to connect a smartphone.

Available in just one variant, it has dual 150kW motors and a 78kWh battery that offers around 370km driving range.

Polestar 2

which electric cars are filling the tesla gap?

Polestar 2. Source: Polestar

The muscley cousin to Volvo’s XC40 Recharge, the Polestar 2 sits closer to the ground at 151mm. It is also available in three variants in either a single-motor rera-wheel-drive with 69kWh battery from $63,900, a long-range variant with single-motor from $68,400 and a dual-motor, AWD long-range from $73,400.

Polestar tells us that many drivers have opted for premium pre-configured options rather than wait for a less expensive short-range variant. Either way the Polestar has gotten good reviews in both RWD and AWD formats.

The dual-motor Polestar 2 is one of the few on our list today that offers acceleration from 0-100km/hr under 6 seconds (it does it in 4.7 seconds). Our main gripe with it compared to the XC40 Recharge was the small cabin and wide console which left a narrow space for driver legroom.

Hyundai Kona Electric

which electric cars are filling the tesla gap?

The Highlander Kona Electric. Source: Hyundai

The Kona Electric is proving something of a mainstay on the EV market. After nabbing second place in EV sales in 2020, it lost to the MG ZS EV and the Porsche Taycan in 2021.

Priced from $54,500 in a standard range option with 39.2kWh battery or $60,500 in a long-range 64kWh option, it is now back with a refreshed look.

It has 160mm ground clearance, and is well known for meeting its range claims (in conservative driving conditions). However, there are complaints about the higher floor in the back due to the placement of the battery.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

which electric cars are filling the tesla gap?

Hyundai Ioniq Electric. Source: Hyundai

The Ioniq Electric sits in the zippy fastback category rather than the compact SUV category. Though it has only 142mm ground clearance, it makes up for this with its dynamic handling and flexible hatch back format.

Having received a battery upgrade in 2019, the Ioniq Electric now offers 311km (WLTP) range which equates to around 270km real world range.

As a shorter range vehicle, it makes an attractive option for those wanting a sub-$50,000 vehicle (before on-road costs). (This car has now been discontinued but some may be available in your local dealer).

Mini Cooper SE

which electric cars are filling the tesla gap?

New Mini electric hatch with multi-tone roof. Source: BMW

The Mini Cooper SE’s main shtick is oodles of character. Starting at $55,650 before on-roads but offering just 233km WLTP range (a little more than 200km in real-world conditions), it does not rate high on our “bang for buck” ladder.

Nor, in classic Mini style, does it have much room in the back row or boot. It has just 128mm ground clearance.

But it makes up for this with its classic Mini skateboard driving experience, retro-style dash and console. With good looks and charm like this, its little surprise that Mini delivered 69 of these to new customers in April.

Mercedes-Benz EQA

which electric cars are filling the tesla gap?

The Mercedes-Benz EQA 250. Source: Mercedes-Benz

Having entered the Australian market in early 2021, the Mercedes-Benz EQA starts at $79,300 before on-roads and is the direct competitor to the Volvo XC40 Pure Recharge.

Though it loses out to the XC40 in terms of range (350km WLTP compared to 418km), acceleration (7.9 seconds compared to 7.4 seconds), and cargo space (340L compared to 419L) it is at bit zippier with 390Nm torque compared to 330Nm.

With 154mm ground clearance and front-wheel drive it is not exactly an off-roader. Word is that the EQA350, originally slated to arrive in late 2021, and which will sport two motors for all-wheel-drive capabilities, is not far off.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

which electric cars are filling the tesla gap?

Source: Hyundai

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has proved itself an award-winning addition to the global EV market. With an extremely spacious and flexible interior including 531 litres cargo capacity, it has features like electric and heated back seats, a huge panoramic sunroof and minimalist dashboard.

Despite being billed as a crossover, it still has a low profile sitting just 160mm above the ground. This, and its $71,000 starting price, hasn’t swayed those wanting to switch to an EV though. The only problem with the Ioniq 5 is, as one punter said to us, “you can’t buy one for love or money!”

With just 100 or so of these allocated in each order tranche at a time, demand for the Ioniq 5 is far above supply in Australia. The Iooniq 5 is available in both an RWD or AWD configuration.

Kia EV6

which electric cars are filling the tesla gap?

EV6 GT-line. Source: Kia

The Kia EV6 is the Ioniq 5’s sportier, high-performance cousin. In its GT format, it can do 0-100km/hr in 3.5 seconds.

Starting at $67,990 in its rear-wheel-drive configuration, it shares the same 160mm ground clearance as the Ioniq 5.

It also shares with the Ioniq 5 an ultra-fast 350kW charging capability thanks to its 800-volt architecture. It is second only to the Ioniq 5 in terms of cargo capacity, with 490 litres.

Like the Ioniq 5, it is also in high demand but low supply, with just 500 units secured for Australia in 2022.

Manufacturer Model Name Variant Name Price Range WLTP (km, Comb) Real World Range (km) Acceleration Top Speed Torque Power Drive Type Efficiency Battery Capacity Battery Useable Charge Port Location(AC) Charge Rate (AC) Charge Rate (DC) Body Style Cargo Capacity Wheel Base Curb Weight Dimensions Ground Clearance Turning Circle Roof Load Roof Rails Tow Hitch Avaliability
Hyundai Kona Electric Extended Range $60,500 395 353 7.9 s 167 km/h 395 Nm 150 kW Front 130 Wh/km 67.5 kWh 64 kWh Front-Middle 11kW AC 150kW SUV 361 L 2600 mm 1760 kg 4180x1570x1800 mm 160mm 10.6 m 80 kg Yes No Data
Hyundai Kona Electric Standard Range $54,500 250 223 9.9 s 155 km/h 395 Nm 100 kW Front 129 Wh/km 42 kWh 39.2 kWh Front-Middle 11kW AC 100kW SUV 361 L 2600 mm 1610 kg 4180x1570x1800 mm 160mm 10.6 m 80 kg Yes No Data
Hyundai Ioniq Electric Standard $49,970 311 278 7.4 s 165 km/h 295 Nm 100 kW Front 123 Wh/km 40.4 kWh 38.3 kWh Left Side – Rear 7.2kW AC 100kW Liftback Sedan 357 L 2700 mm 1602 kg 4470x1450x1820 mm 142mm 10.6 m 0 kg ~ No Data
Hyundai IONIQ 5 Long Range AWD $75,900 375 335 5.2 s 185 km/h 605 Nm 225 kW AWD 169 Wh/km 77.4 kWh 72.6 kWh Right Side-Rear 11kW AC 350kW SUV 531 L 3000 mm 2095 kg 4635x1605x1890 mm 160mm 12 m 80 kg No Yes
Hyundai IONIQ 5 Standard Range 2WD $71,900 310 277 8.5 s 185 km/h 350 Nm 125 kW Rear 145 Wh/km 62 kWh 58 kWh Right Side-Rear 11kW AC 350kW SUV 531 L 3000 mm 1905 kg 4635x1605x1890 mm 160mm 12 m 80 kg No Yes
Kia Niro Electric 64 kWh $62,590 370 330 7.8 s 167 km/h 395 Nm 150 kW Front 138 Wh/km 67.5 kWh 64 kWh Front-Middle 7.2kW AC 100kW SUV 451 L 2700 mm 1812 kg 4375x1570x1805 mm 155mm 10.6 m 100 kg Yes Yes
Kia EV6 GT $74,900 395 353 3.5 s 260 km/h 740 Nm 430 kW AWD 194 Wh/km 82.5 kWh 77.4 kWh Rear Side-Right 11kW AC 350kW SUV 490 L 2900 mm 2175 kg 4695x1550x1890 mm 160mm 11.6 m 0 kg No Yes
Kia EV6 RWD $67,990 420 375 7.5 s 185 km/h 350 Nm 168 kW Rear 147 Wh/km 82.5 kWh 77.4 kWh Rear Side-Right 11kW AC 350kW SUV 490 L 2900 mm 1995 kg 4680x1550x1880 mm 160mm 11.6 m 0 kg No Yes
Mercedes EQA 250 $79,300 355 317 8.9 s 160 km/h 375 Nm 140 kW Front 156 Wh/km 79.8 kWh 66.5 kWh Right Side-Rear 11kW AC 100kW SUV 340 L 2729 mm 2040 kg 4463x1620x1834 mm 154mm 11.4 m 0 kg Yes Yes
Mini Cooper SE Standard $55,650 233 208 7.3 s 150 km/h 270 Nm 135 kW Front 142 Wh/km 32.6 kWh 28.9 kWh Right Side-Rear 11kW AC 50kW Hatchback 211 L 2495 mm 1440 kg 3850x1432x1727 mm 128mm 10.7 m 0 kg No No Data
Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor $69,000 395 353 4.7 s 205 km/h 660 Nm 300 kW AWD 156 Wh/km 78 kWh 75 kWh Left Side-Rear 11kW AC 150kW Liftback Sedan 471 L 2735 mm 2200 kg 4606x1479x1859 mm 151mm 11.5 m 0 kg No Yes
Polestar 2 Standard Range Single Motor $63,900 350 313 7.4 s 160 km/h 330 Nm 165 kW Front 142 Wh/km 69 kWh 67 kWh Left Side-Rear 11kW AC 150kW Liftback Sedan 472 L 2735 mm 2050 kg 4606x1482x1859 mm 151mm 11.5 m 0 kg No Yes
Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric $76,990 418 373 7.4 s 180 km/h 330 Nm 170 kW Front 158 Wh/km 70 kWh 67 kWh Left Side-Rear 11kW AC 150kW SUV 419 L 2702 mm 2188 kg 4425x1647x1873 mm 171mm 11.4 m 75 kg Yes Yes

Note: Not all variants are shown.

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