How expensive are electric cars in Australia compared to the world?

Did you think electric cars were expensive in Australia? A comparison of Tesla prices around the world suggests we might not be getting such a bad deal.


It’s no secret that electric cars are still expensive in Australia, with the country’s cheapest electric car costing nearly 60 percent more than its petrol equivalent.

But are electric cars in Australia relatively affordable compared to the rest of the world?

As data has shown, the adage that “cars are so expensive here” doesn’t necessarily hold true – and taxes on ‘cheaper’ electric vehicles aside, taxes in Australia are relatively tame.



To find out, we compared the price of two variants of a Tesla Model 3 – the base rear-wheel drive model and the flagship Performance – in 10 countries, with two digits for each: before and after taxes, road costs and premiums. However, GST/VAT is included in all figures where applicable.

The Model 3 was chosen because almost all standard features are shared around the world – with the exception of the Model 3 RWD battery, which differs in chemistry (with a different electric motor) between cars built in the Chinese and American factories.

For an in-depth breakdown of the data, scroll down – or for just the headline numbers, see the charts below.



Note: Australian drive-away prices calculated in New South Wales, while US on-the-road prices are from California. Tesla’s “estimated fuel economy” figures are not included in these prices.

Of the 10 markets surveyed – Australia, US, UK, Germany, Norway, China, Singapore, Japan, Mexico and UAE – the lowest list price was advertised in China (where the Model 3 is built), followed by Japan, EV – crazy Norway and Australia.

That order will continue to cost once on-road, all taxes (excluding GST/VAT/consumption tax, which we’ve already included) and incentives are added, thanks to New South Wales’s $3,000 principal and $2,385 stamp duty rebates that effectively cover all costs on the away.



Buyers in Singapore have been hit hard by the country’s tax system, which, despite low emissions rebates and rebates for electric cars that more than halve the tax payable, raise the fare by 40 percent to the equivalent of $115,000. †

While buying a Model 3 RWD in the US costs about $AU2000 more than in Australia, that hasn’t always been the case as a comparable car could be bought in the US for less than $40,000 a year ago – or something like that. over $AU55,500 before incentives.

Buyers in the UK, Germany and other European countries (not Norway) continue to be affected by higher prices of more than $75,000, due to a mix of high taxes, the inevitable import costs and, in the UK, government incentives only for EVs under £32,000 ($AU55,000).



Much of the above applies when switching to the flagship Model 3 Performance – but Australia’s controversial luxury car tax sees our cars slip from fourth most affordable (on the road) to seventh, now behind Germany, the US and the UAE.

The roughly $5,000 in government rebates available to Model 3 RWD buyers in NSW aren’t available for the Performance — though it’s the same in China, where the flagship misses out on an 11,088 yuan ($AU2300) incentive offered with the RWD. .

By comparison, the German €2,500 ($AU3700) incentive remains available, placing it in fourth place – while the 650,000 yen ($AU6780) Japanese incentive compared to China’s zero sees it become the cheapest market on our list.



By comparing this price data with the average net income in each country (via the World Bank), a rear-wheel-drive Model 3 is the most affordable in Norway, accounting for 74 percent of median income, followed by the US (86 percent), Australia (109 percent) and Japan (122 percent).

However, the World Bank data doesn’t fit Tesla’s car prices perfectly; a Model 3 RWD costs 766 percent of average income in Mexico (or 1020 percent for Performance), or 504 percent in China.

Using The Economist’s benchmark Big Mac Index tool for price parity as an additional reference, the countries on top of our ‘Cheap Tesla Index’ – China and Japan – are undervalued by up to 42 percent compared to the US dollar, while Australia stands at 22.4 percent.

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017 when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed to Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019 and becoming a regular contributing journalist on the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from browsing car magazines as a young age to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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