Electric car buying options in Nov 2018

As it stands in late-2018, my quest to own an electric car is getting confusing, so I’m gonna outline all the options available to me in a self indulgent blog post that if it wasn’t so damn wordy, would be more suited for Twitter than here.

A few weeks ago, my plan was to import the ZE1 Nissan LEAF into Australia in April 2019, as that’s when it’ll be eligible for the appropriate permit. It was an excellent plan as it would mean I could get the EV I want (something with over 200km range), at a price I want ($35,000). But I’ve since heard that Nissan will start selling the ZE1 LEAF locally before April, making the ZE1 LEAF ineligible for import, totally ruining my plan.

Here’s my options:

Due in April and will probably cost around $55,000 on the road, as that’s roughly what it costs in Japan for the fully-optioned variant that Nissan will be selling in Australia.

The previous generation ZE0 LEAF can be imported and is a great purchase, but the 150km range on the 30kWh battery version is just not enough for me (I need at least 200km). That unfortunately rules it out.

Due in November. An excellent car that’s not too expensive at $45,000 (based on this pricing leak). The issue for me is range. It’ll do 190km-200km, which is borderline what I’m comfortable with. 220-230km and I’d be way happier.

Not coming until mid-2019 and even then, will be in very, very limited numbers as demand for it is off the charts in Europe and Hyundai are making sweet fuck all of them over in South Korea.

BMW i3
60Ah and 90Ah variants on sale now in AU, but the range (~180km 90Ah) just isn’t enough and the price (~$70k for the 90Ah) is pretty high too. There is a 120Ah i3 coming “late 2018” that should have a real world range of ~260km that’ll be great, but it’ll be at least $75,000.

I’ve gone over why I reckon the Renault Zoe is overpriced over at Drive Zero (basically have to drive over 40,000km/year to break even vs. a top spec Yaris/Jazz). Whilst the range is good, at $50,000, it’s way too much to spend on what is basically a small city hatch back.

The X is just too expensive, not gonna happen. I’ve seen used 2016-ish Tesla Model S go on sale for around $85k, and I reckon you could haggle down to $80k pretty easily. I’ve also seen a few Model S at local car auctions. Could probably snag a base/non-performance model for ~$75k-ish. Still way more than I can afford, but at least if I did over-extend myself, I’d own a fucken Tesla.

Probably coming to Australia mid-2019, if you believe Elon’s latest tweets. It won’t be the base model unit I’m after and can (barely) afford. The cheapest option will likely be the model that’s US$45k right now, making it a $75k car (seems to be the magic number for an EV hey?). Even the mysitcal US$35k car will be a solid A$60k on road.

Jaguar’s I-PACE is cool and more or less out now, but it starts at $120,000, fuck that. Ditto the Audi e-tron and Mercedes EQC. Very nice cars I’d love to own, but won’t be on sale in AU late-2019 and will cost well over $100,000.

I can buy an Ioniq in a few weeks for around $45,000, enjoy it now and live with the ~190km range, which will honestly be fine 90% of the time. Hopefully within a year or two fast-charge infrastructure will improve so I can do a few road trips to regional towns and not get stranded on the way back.

Hang out for the BMW i3 120Ah late this year/early next year and cough up whatever BMW asks for a new one (prob $75k on road) and take the massive depreciation hit. I would love an i3, I reckon it’s an awesome car based on what I’ve seen of it.

Wait until April for the LEAF’s local launch, stomach the fact I’m paying $55k for a car I could have for $35k, and deal with the LEAF’s battery “issues” and relatively slow fast charging (maxed out at 50kWh).

Wait until mid-2019 for the Tesla Model 3 (which I’m still skeptical will actually come out in mid-2019) and hope there’s a model sub-$60k for me to afford.

Wait until mid-2019 for the Kona EV that’s basically the perfect car, but will cost the same as a Model 3, which is way cooler and arguably better stocked than the Kona, which is essentially a compliance/greenwashing car.

Keep stalking Carsales and various auction sites for Model S (nothing older than 2016 though) under $80,000 and really over extend myself.

I don’t know what I’m gonna do. Probably just wait for the Model 3. Maybe. I can’t really afford it. The Ioniq is more my price range and will be fine most of the time. If there were just a few CCS rapid chargers along Melbourne’s metro freeways (basically somewhere on the M1 and the M3), I’d be content.