Something big happened in Australia last week. Within days of each other, two electric vehicles were launched with price tags below $39,000. MG unveiled its MG4 on Monday for $38,990, and held the title of Australia’s most affordable EV for just four days before BYD launched its much anticipated Dolphin Dynamic for $38,890, pipping the MG4 by $100. Depending which state you’re in, EV subsidies will bring this price down further. Queenslanders are eligible for a $6,000 EV rebate bringing the price tag of the MG4 and Dolphin below $33,000. If you’re in Victoria you can get a $3000 rebate, but only for another few days as the Victorian government is ending the scheme on June 30.
See our list of most affordable EVs: Australia’s most affordable electric vehicles in 2023
With the Dolphin Dynamic getting 340 km of WLTP range and the MG4 around 350 km, finally Australia has some decent affordable EV options. And with BYD the second biggest EV maker in the world by volume, there shouldn’t be any supply issues.
Once you account for the petrol and maintenance costs associated with ICE vehicles, it’s now a complete no-brainer. If you do the sums on a sub-$40k EV with 340km range, you’d simply never consider buying a new ICE vehicle ever again.
The future of ICE vehicle sales is now just a question of how many poor souls get tricked into buying overpriced 19th century junk through flashy manipulative advertising.
This is a big deal. Lack of affordable EV options is one of the main reasons Australia is so far behind the rest of the world on EV uptake.
It’s also cited as one of the reasons Australia needs a strong vehicle efficiency standard, so legacy automotive companies allocate some of their limited EV production to Australia rather than other countries that actually have standards.
Perversely, the lack of a strong vehicle efficiency standard, which many legacy automotive companies have lobbied against, may actually come back to bite the laggards in the industry.
Both of the sub-$40k models launched last week are from Chinese companies. Without any European or Japanese EVs to compete against, the Chinese EV makers can get a foothold in the Australian market before the standard is finally introduced.
The short term thinking from legacy auto and their lobby group may turn out to be a market share disaster in the longer term.
And unlike companies such as Hyundai who do have EV offerings in Australia but have failed to keep up with demand, BYD has the production to back up its launch.
Until now, over 90% of BYD’s sales have been confined to the domestic China market however the EV maker is now looking to ramp up its exports starting in Southeast Asia. BYD hopes to take market share away from Japanese automakers who currently dominate car sales in the region.
In April BYD launched its much anticipated compact Seagull in Thailand for just 407,000 baht ($A18,000). It’s only a matter of time before the Seagull hits the Australian market and at around half the price of the MG4 and Dolphin, the coming wave of affordable EVs is going to be a bloodbath for ICE vehicle makers.