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Australia’s cheapest electric car – but there’s a catch

Updated: Sep 25, 2022

A popular electric taxi found in cities such as London has now been made available to the Australian public for a bargain price – with a catch.

A fleet of BYD E6 electric vehicles – once destined to be Sydney taxis – are now being offered to the general public for $35,000 plus on-road costs.

Built between 2019 and 2021, these E6s were imported into Australia from Chinese brand BYD, with the intention of being offered to taxi operators and hire-car businesses.

A number of vehicles remained unsold and unregistered, photographed at a holding yard at Sydney Airport. Two years on, a batch of identical E6s have gone on sale through Sydney company Eveen as the cheapest ‘new’ electric passenger car in the country.

While the BYD E6s are priced from $35,000 before on-road costs, financial incentives mean the models could end up costing buyers far less.

As many of the vehicles have yet to be registered, Eveen claims they are still eligible for the $3000 state government rebate in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia, while Western Australia provides a rebate of $3500.

It is unclear if these vehicles were imported to Australia by Nexport – the sister company to EVDirect, the main Australian importer for BYD passenger vehicles – or Eveen itself. It’s also unclear why the cars weren’t put into service as taxis, and how Eveen acquired them.

On Instagram, Eveen said its vehicles are not the cars previously photographed near Sydney Airport, telling a commenter “they are located within a storage facility in Sydney. They are all still wrapped in the brand new wrapping both internally and externally.”

These E6 models are different to the 15 examples sold to the general public late last year by EVDirect which were later models available in blue or white.

BMW and hydrogen fuel-cell powertrains

BMW could engineer its next-generation EV platform to accommodate hydrogen fuel-cell powertrains as well.

As reported by Automotive News, BMW chairman Oliver Zipse mentioned this during the automaker’s recent half-year earnings call, saying fuel-cell vehicles will be needed to achieve BMW’s electrification goals. BMW is aiming for half of its global sales by volume to be electric by 2030.

Zipse called hydrogen “the missing piece of the puzzle that can complement electromobility in places where battery-electric drivetrains are unable to gain traction.” But he didn’t provide details on how far along BMW is in development of a fuel-cell Neue Klasse model.

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