The MG ZS battery electric SUV has been named as the cheapest EV to buy and most affordable to run in the Annual Car Running Costs Survey by the RACV, while the Tesla Model 3 is the cheapest EV to charge.
The RACV survey ranked 10 EVs on purchase price, cost of charging, and the cost of keeping the car on the road in the state of Victoria, which has its own rates for registration and other costs, and a road user tax that applies to EVs and plug in hybrids.
Those ranked were the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Hyundai Kona Elite EV, Kia EV6 Air, Kia Niro EV, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model 3, and several plug in hybrids including the Mazda MX-30 FWD E35 Astina, MG HS 1.5 Turbo Excite PHEV, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
Each of the vehicles was ranked on purchase price, cost of charging, and the cost of keeping the car on the road.
First off was the cheapest EV to own, which RACV awarded to the MG ZS EV. RACV says the electric SUV costs $42,000 to buy and $1,149 per month, on average, to run – making it “the cheapest EV to buy and most affordable to run”.
According to the RACV Survey, the MG ZS EV costs only a little more than the average monthly cost of a small SUV and around $200 less than the average running cost of a medium sedan.
According to the RACV survey, the average electric car is only marginally more expensive to run than medium cars, and given that the RACV calculations do not allow for home charging with rooftop solar, that difference could already be eliminated.
As for the EVs themselves, the MG ZS is also the cheapest EV to maintain, according to RACV, with servicing and tyre costs of just under $30 per month combined – less than a light hatchback.
The next most affordable EV also went to MG, with the HS 1.5 Turbo Excite PHEV costing $48,690 to buy and an average of $1,356.87 per month to own. Third was the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ES PHEV variant, with a purchase price of $51,762.70 and a monthly running cost of $1,399.84.
In terms of the cheapest EV in Australia to charge, RACV handed that to the Tesla Model 3, which it said costs just $71.53 per month on average.
It estimated the charging costs on the domestic electricity single daytime/off-peak tariff of 23.30 cents/kWh, and not on high speed DC charging costs. It also notes that those with rooftop solar and household batteries will pay a lot less.
To calculate relative charging costs, RACV used the domestic electricity single daytime/off-peak tariff of 23.30 cents/kWh and the official power consumption data provided by the manufacturer.
RACV noted, however, that costs “would be further reduced for people using rooftop and home battery to charge their vehicles.”
However, the Tesla Model 3 is also the second most expensive EV in Australia to own and run overall, according to the RACV, costing owners an average of $1,785.44 per month.
It also has the highest on-road costs, costing owners $423.28 per month on average, including charging, servicing, maintenance, insurance, registration, and auto-club membership.
Finally, when it comes to servicing, maintaining, and other on-road costs, RACV handed the award for cheapest EV to keep on the road to the Hyundai Kona Elite.
Specifically, not including purchase price and associated loan repayments, RACV calculated that the Kona costs an average of $300.93 per month for fuel/charging, servicing, maintenance, insurance, registration, and auto-club membership.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.