Electric cars have come a long way in recent years, but ‘range anxiety’ still plagues modern motorists… That’s why having an electric vehicle (EV) with plenty of range is crucial for Australian car buyers. Here at DMARGE, we’ve taken the guesswork out of it.
Depending on the source, there are somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 public EV charging points in Australia to service 7.692 million square kilometres and somewhere between 23,000 and 30,000 electric cars, with more and more electric cars (and charging points) being sold and built every year.
In short, it’s becoming easier and easier to own an electric car in Australia by the day – but even in metropolitan areas, charging infrastructure is not always easily accessible and it can be a challenge finding somewhere to charge your car, especially if you can’t charge your car at home.
The solution? Buy an EV with plenty of range. Not all EVs are created equal, however, and range can vary wildly between different models – and even between different spec levels with the same model of car.
To make matters worse, what manufacturers claim their vehicles’ ranges are and how cars perform in the real world can also be wildly different, with some brands being very conservative with their figures and others being a bit optimistic.
It also depends on what testing standard is used to measure a car’s range. Automakers around the world rely on one of three testing standards: the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) test, which all vary in accuracy and measure different types of driving.
It’s all a bit confusing. Never fear: we’ve collated a list of the top 10 electric cars by claimed range in Australia so you can spend less time shopping (and less time charging) and more time driving.
In this longest range electric car article…
Tesla Model S
Battery size: 100kWh
Maximum range (claimed): 652km (Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive)
Price: from AU$147,990
The longest-range electric car in Australia is the Tesla Model S. All of Tesla’s models have impressive range figures but the American brand’s flagship sedan – which in Plaid form is also the fastest car on the planet with its 2.1 second 0-100km/h time – is the best of the bunch.
Currently, Tesla only offers two specs for the car: the aforementioned, tri-motor Plaid spec which sacrifices range for performance, and a standard dual-motor variant, which is cheaper and has a whopping 652km of range. That’s enough to drive from Sydney to Canberra and back, with range to spare.
The standard spec 2022 Tesla Model S is no slouch, either, with a 0-100 time of 3.2 seconds. It’s not cheap though (although no car on this list is particularly affordable) with pricing starting from AU$147,990.
Battery size: 112kWh
Maximum range (claimed): 630km (xDrive50 Sport)
Price: from AU$149,900
German performance marque BMW has one of the biggest and best electrified ranges out of any of the mainstream automakers, and their futuristic, electric-only iX crossover SUV boasts the second-longest range out of any EV in Australia.
While the iX is more expensive than, say, a Tesla Model X, it offers a far more conventional, luxurious driving experience – plus the benefit of an established dealer network. Plus the fit and finish is a lot better…
Like most of the cars on this list, the top-flight performance variant of the iX, the M60, has an inferior range figure compared to the mid-spec xDrive50 Sport.
Tesla Model 3
Battery size: 82kWh
Maximum range (claimed): 602km (Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive)
Price: from AU$65,550
It’s probably not a huge surprise that Australia’s best-selling electric car, the Tesla Model 3, also has one of the longest ranges on the market. Indeed, if we’re talking range per dollar, the Model 3 is the best value model on this list.
The compact sedan is also one of the best-driving electric cars on the market. The Model S might be faster in a straight line but the Model 3 Performance’s insane ‘Track Mode’ makes the smaller car the more dynamic driver – you can even drift the damn thing… But the Performance model lacks the range of other models in the range.
Pricing starts at $65,550 for the standard rear-wheel drive Model 3, which ‘only’ has 491km of range (that’s more than #9 or #10 on our list, by the way). The longest range model, the dual motor all-wheel drive variant, starts at $80,000 before additional costs.
Battery size: 84kWh
Maximum range (claimed): 590km (eDrive40)
Price: from AU$99,900
Coming in at #4 is the BMW i4, which despite the 4 Series designation (which normally denotes a 2-door coupe), is actually a four-door sedan, more akin to a 3 Series. It also shares the current-gen M3/M4’s grille design for added visual distinction.
If you’re keen to drive an electric car but don’t want the stigma of, you know, driving an electric car, the BMW i4 is a great choice thanks to its solid range of 590kms, conventional looks and great driving characteristics. Make no mistake: this is 100% a 3 or 4 Series. It’s still an ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’.
Actually, by way of comparison, the i4 makes 250kW/430Nm. Compare that to the 4 Series M440i, which makes 285kW/500Nm… But costs $30,000 more. In that sense, the i4 is a rather competitive package.
Tesla Model X
Battery size: 82kWh
Maximum range (claimed): 602km (Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive)
Price: from AU$161,990
The Model X, with its flashy ‘falcon wing’ doors and impressive performance figures, is easily one of the most visually distinctive SUVs on the road today. It also happens to have one of the best range figures, too.
Continuing the theme of confusing model range structures, the Model X is available in 2 specs in Australia: a standard dual-motor model and a tri-motor Plaid model, like the Model S, with the former offering that juicy 602kms of range.
The problem (as we see it) with the Model X is that it’s both more expensive and has an inferior range figure than the Model S, so unless you really want an SUV, it’s perhaps looking elsewhere in Tesla’s range.
Battery size: 78kWh
Maximum range (claimed): 540km (Long Range Single Motor)
Price: from AU$63,900
Swedish-Chinese brand Polestar’s first car in Australia, the Polestar 2, isn’t just one of the best-designed and most affordable EVs in the country, but it also has one of the best range figures – making it a real rival for the Tesla Model 3.
It’s also a more comfy driving experience thanks to its rather unique proportions: somewhere between an SUV and a sedan, nothing else on the road looks or drives like a Polestar 2.
Again, if you want maximum range you’ll have to skip out on the sportier dual motor variant of the car and instead opt for the front-wheel drive long-range single motor spec (although you can still option the Performance package on this spec, which adds lowered Öhlins suspension and big Brembo brakes).
Battery size: 77kWh
Maximum range (claimed): 528km (Air RWD)
Price: from AU$72,590
Simply put, the Kia EV6 is one of the most exciting electric cars in Australia today. Lithe, handsome and exceptionally fun to drive, it’s a real needle-shifter for the South Korean brand.
It helps that it’s both a ‘head and heart’ purchase thanks to its impressive range figures and 7-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Interestingly, despite sharing a platform with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV60, the EV6 has a superior range figure… Perhaps a result of its more aerodynamic form factor.
You’ll have to opt for the base-spec Air model to get that 528km range figure. As for us, we’re holding our breath for the EV6 GT due out later this year, which will be Kia’s most powerful production car ever with 430kW/740Nm and a 0-100km/h time of 3.5 seconds – although it will also have worse range than the Air. Go figure.
Tesla Model Y
Battery size: 79kWh
Maximum range (claimed): 514km (Dual Motor All Wheel Drive Performance)
Price: from AU$72,300
The Tesla Model Y, Tesla’s newest model in Australia, might have the worst range out of Tesla’s family of cars but it’s still more than enough to nab it a spot in the top 10 longest-range EVs in the country.
The compact SUV (which is smaller than a Model X, has four normal doors and is based on the Model 3) has significantly less range than other Teslas but compares favourably when it comes to hauling your gear, with Tesla boasting 2,100+ litres of cargo space.
Like the Model X, there are 2 specs available for the Model Y Down Under, with the dual motor all-wheel drive Performance spec offering the best range figure. A long-range rear-wheel drive spec was previously offered overseas but was cancelled. Elon doesn’t make this easy…
Battery size: 93.4kWh
Maximum range (claimed): 484km (4S with Performance Battery Plus)
Price: from AU$158,100
You might be surprised to see a Porsche on this list but it turns out the high-end German brand’s first electric car, which is arguably the best-looking and most luxurious electric car on the planet, is surprisingly good in the range department.
The Taycan range is rather confusing and electric range varies greatly depending on body style and trim level. The base, rear-wheel drive Taycan and the all-wheel drive Taycan 4S are the only two models in the range where Porsche offers the Performance Battery Plus option (both come with the Performance Battery by default), with the 4S offering the maximum range when optioned thusly.
That said, if you’re in the market for a Porsche Taycan, you’re probably not that fussed by range figures. Still, if it makes it easier to justify to your significant other, we’re all for it.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Battery size: 64kWh
Maximum range (claimed): 484km (Extended Range)
Price: from AU$57,429
Rounding off the top 10 longest-range electric cars in Australia, we’ve got the Hyundai Kona Electric, which also happens to be one of the smallest and most affordable EVs in Australia to boot. Indeed, it’s the cheapest car on this list.
Unlike the other cars on this list, the Kona Electric was not designed as an EV from the ground up: a range of petrol engines are also available for the Kona in Australia, and overseas you can get it with diesel or hybrid powertrains. But the electric is easily the pick of the litter thanks to its efficiency.
The Kona Electric has two trim levels – Elite and Highlander – but there’s an Extended Range option for both trims, which is how you achieve the max range of 484km. That’s more than enough for real-world daily driving and makes the Kona Electric a highly competitive choice.
Electric Car FAQs
What is the longest range electric car?
The Tesla Model S has the most range out of any electric car on the market with 652km of range (for the Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive model).
How much range should an electric car have?
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics's most recent data, the average Australian motorist drives roughly 12,100km a year or 232km a week – meaning a range of 400km should be more than enough for most drivers.
What is the best-selling electric car?
The Tesla Model 3 is the best-selling electric car in the world (including in Australia). In June 2021, it became the first electric car to pass the 1 million global sales milestone.
What is the cheapest electric car?
The MG ZS EV is the cheapest electric car for sale in Australia, with prices starting at AU$46,990 drive-away. However, it only has 320km of range.