Several companies have recently announced plans to release electric cars in Australia. The latest is BMW which has announced that its electric i3 small city car and i8 electric-petrol hybrid sportscar will go into production in 2013 and be on sale Australia in 2014.

BMW’s “i” range of cars will use cameras, radar and sensors to follow the traffic up to 40 kilometres per hour – accelerating, braking and steering themselves. All the driver has to do is keep one hand on the steering wheel.

BMW is working with MyCityWay on a mobile app that provides information on public transport, parking and entertainment. In conjunction with a smartphone, the app will be able to warn you of traffic congestion on your route and direct you to the closest free parking space to your destination.

All this won’t be cheap. No pricing has been announced for the small i3 but the i8 model is expected to cost about $300,000. However, some “reasonably priced cars” have also been announced.

EDay Life is curently testing the prototype of a low cost, Australian designed and Chinese built, electric car. The first 100 production cars are expected to be leased to customers in Melbourne early in 2012, as part of the Victorian Government’s electric vehicle trial. Provided that the trial is successful, EDay Life will begin importing the cars three to six month later for general sale.

The electric hatch will be able to travel up to 160 kilometres between charges with a top speed of just 80 kilometres per hour.  It will be the slowest and lightest new car on the market but also the cheapest at an expected price of just $9,990 (plus on-road costs).

EDay Life Hatch
EDay Life Hatch

Another Chinese-manufactured electric car, the Alpha Lujo, is undergoing safety testing for Australia, as well as Europe and America. Initially, the company plans to sell two models in Australia – a small city car, similar to the 2-door Smart car, for $18,000 and a four-door model for $25,000.

The smaller MyEV 118 will have a top speed is 80 kilometres an hour. It is expected that it will travel 100 kilometres on a single charge and take eight hours to fully charge from a household 240-volt electric outlet. The four-door MyEV 128 model will be able to travel up to 140 kilometres on a single charge.

Alpha Lujo MyEV
Alpha Lujo MyEV

Ateco Automotive, which is now distributing low-cost Chinese Chery petrol cars in Australia, has said that it intends to sell electric models when it has the necessary infrastructure in place. Chery has been selling its S18 electric car for more than two years in China. The S18 is a four-door hatch with a top speed of 120 kilometres and hour and a range of 150 kilometres.

Chery S18
Chery S18