UK awards highlight lack of choice in Australia's EV market

Nominees reflect boom in electric vehicle interest.
Nissan Leaf MY19 1000 on the road.

Leading UK consumer motoring publication and website WhatCar? has announced the nominees for its inaugural Electric Car Awards, a move that has exposed the glaring lack of choice available for Australian consumers wanting to make the switch to an electric vehicle. 

A statement from WhatCar? said the awards were launched following a boom in interest in electrified models from consumers on, and the recent exponential growth in the number of electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) being launched into the UK, which like Australia is a right-hand drive market.  

The awards set out to name the best pure electric models across eight vehicle categories and the best plug-in hybrid models across seven categories, with the total number of 68 individual models across both categories dwarfing what is available to consumers here. 

The full list of categories and vehicles is outlined below, with our notation alongside as to whether the vehicle is available in Australia. 

Even allowing for the fact that some brands such as Seat and Vauxhall are not sold here, it’s clear that Australian consumers are being left behind in the global rush to embrace EVs and PHEVs. 

In stark contrast to the nearly 70 vehicles listed as being available to UK consumers, Australia has just 36 of these models available, or roughly 50% of the EV and PHEV vehicle choices offered to UK consumers. 

Last week the chief executive head of Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council (EVC), Behyad Jafari, called on the Federal Government to do more to help drive the transition to EVs and PHEVs in this country.

Speaking in relation to the news that the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries had unilaterally announced a voluntary industry CO2 standard, Mr Jafari said the door was open for government to implement mandatory emission standards that encourage the best clean vehicles to be made available to Australian consumers.

"The government should follow the (FCAI’s) lead and introduce mandatory standards comparable to the US, the EU, and most other markets,” Mr Jafai said.

“Until this happens we'll just have to accept that a huge proportion of the world's most appealing EVs will be unavailable to Australian consumers.

"Standards need to be designed in a way that encourages automakers to bring their EV models to Australia. 

“Australians are early adopters, but they’re missing out on many of the benefits of EVs because our governments have failed to act.”

Less than 3000 EVs found a home in Australia 2019, which while a healthy increase on 2018 sales, was still only a tiny figure when compared with the overall market of 1.06 million new vehicle sales. 

So far in 2020 EV sales have recorded modest 6% year-on-year growth, versus a 24% market decline, with year-to-date EV and PHEV sales of 1142 units.


WhatCar? Best Electric Car Contenders (available here, yes/no) 

Value car

  • Seat Mii Electric – No
  • Skoda Citigo-e iV– No
  • Smart Fortwo EQ – No
  • Volkswagen e-Up – No

Small car

  • Honda E – No
  • Mini Electric ¬¬– Due August 2020 
  • Peugeot e-208 – No 
  • Renault Zoe – Yes    
  • Vauxhall Corsa-e – No

Family car

  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric – Yes 
  • Nissan Leaf – Yes 
  • Toyota Mirai –No 
  • Volkswagen e-Golf – No

Family SUV

  • DS 3 Crossback E-Tense – No
  • Hyundai Kona Electric – Yes 
  • Kia e-Niro – No
  • Kia Soul EV – No
  • MG ZS EV – Yes
  • Peugeot e-2008 – No

Luxury SUV

  • Audi E-tron – Yes 
  • Audi E-tron Sportback – Yes 
  • Jaguar I-Pace – Yes 
  • Mercedes EQC – Yes 

Executive car

  • Polestar 2 – Due late 2020 
  • Tesla Model 3 – Yes 
  • Tesla Model S – Yes 

Performance car

  • Porsche Taycan – Yes 
  • Tesla Model 3 Performance – Yes 
  • Tesla Model S Performance – Yes 


  • Tesla Model X – Yes 
  • Nissan E-NV200 Combi 7st – No



WhatCar? Best Hybrid Car Contenders (available here, yes/no)

Family car

  • Hyundai Ioniq PHEV – Yes 
  • Kia XCeed PHEV – No 
  • Mercedes A-Class A250e – Yes 
  • Toyota Prius Plug-in – No

Small SUV

  • BMW X1 xDrive25e – No
  • Kia Niro PHEV – No
  • Mini Countryman All4 PHEV – Yes
  • Peugeot 3008 Hybrid – No
  • Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid – No
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 – Yes 

Large SUV

  • Audi Q5 55 TFSIe – No
  • BMW X3 xDrive30e – No
  • Ford Kuga PHEV – No
  • Hyundai Nexo – No
  • Mercedes GLC 300e – No
  • Mercedes GLC Coupe 300e – No
  • Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Yes 
  • Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 – Yes 

Luxury SUV

  • Audi Q7 55/60 TFSIe – No
  • BMW X5 xDrive45e – Yes 
  • Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid/Turbo S E-Hybrid – Yes
  • Porsche Cayenne Coupe E-Hybrid/Turbo S E-Hybrid – Yes 
  • Range Rover P400e – Yes 
  • Range Rover Sport P400e – Yes 
  • Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 – Yes 

Estate car

  • Volvo V60 Recharge T8 – Yes 
  • Volvo V90 Recharge T8 – No
  • Kia Ceed SW PHEV – No
  • Skoda Superb Estate iV – No
  • Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE – No

Executive car

  • BMW 3 Series 330e – Yes 
  • BMW 5 Series 530e – Yes 
  • Mercedes C-Class C300de – No
  • Mercedes E-Class E300e – Yes 
  • Mercedes E-Class E300de – No 
  • Skoda Superb iV – No 
  • Volkswagen Passat GTE – No
  • Volvo S60 Recharge T8 – Yes 
  • Volvo S90 Recharge T8 – Yes 

Performance car

  • BMW i8 – Yes 
  • Polestar 1 – No
  • Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid/ Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid – Yes 

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.