While uber cool Jetson-like floating vehicles may be light years away, the rise of electric cars brings the promise of tomorrow to today. Indeed, the world is finally taking note of the many benefits that electric cars can bring. From lower carbon emissions and cleaner air, through to cost efficient driving, the impacts are both grand and small.
As we pan across the globe the trend for electronic cars, otherwise know as EVs, is swiftly on the rise. Countries like the Netherlands, France, and China have taken a liking to pure battery electric vehicles, while the United Kingdom and Japan skew more towards plug-in hybrids. In fact, the International Energy Agency have suggested that 125 million EVs could be on the world’s roads by 2030.
So where does that leave us here in Canberra? Well, after a slow start we are finally seeing the floodgates open. The electric vehicle fleet has expanded significantly over recent years, driven by advances in technology and supportive policies. From the mid-market all the way through to prestige, electric models are being released in droves.
But with so much hype, where does one even start? Hesitations around early-mover technology, charging station infrastructure, range anxiety, and charge times, can make the path to purchase overwhelming.
Thankfully, our nation’s capital is home to a select crew of specialist electric car retailers. Offering multiple brands, or models under one, these retailers are passionate about getting you started on your electric journey. And, given the size of the investment, it pays to have sound advice on your side. So, where to find these gems? Read on below.
What makes a great electric car retailer?
Great electric car retailers are champions of the future of motoring. They are EV tech experts who are eager to help you reap the benefits of owning your own electrically powered car. Here is what we think you should keep in mind while shopping around:
- EV experts. Electric cars are fundamentally different to their traditional combustion engine counterparts. Whether you are considering a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or a full battery version there is quite a lot to learn. And, as with anything on the quest for something new, misinformation is rife. That is why is consulting only the best will do. So, before you hit the streets do some homework to seek out the EV experts in Canberra. Look for specialised retailers with a focus in pure electrics or manufacturer specific dealerships with experts at hand. They should be able to provide you with the ins and outs of running, maintaining, and troubleshooting your EV. This includes all the fundamentals like EV range, expected charge times based on use, plug type, charge options and so on.
- Comprehensive range. As with conventional fuel cars, electric vehicles come in many shapes and sizes. Each offers the driver something new, with features and benefits a plenty. Finding a dealer with a comprehensive range is particularly useful when you first embark on your EV purchase journey. It provides greater exposure to what is available on the market; and allows you to test driving a few makes and models under the one roof. The EV driving experience is known for being unique, so get your hands on as many wheels as possible.
- Model match. There is no denying that buying a car is a big-ticket purchase decision. And, as a car purchase can see us through an average of ten years; it pays to get it right. So, when shopping around for your next EV carefully consider your needs and match a model accordingly. Factors to consider include budget, frequency of use and driver style, and of course range and charge times. Moreover, consider whether installing a home station is feasible for you, and investigate available public charging stations in your area.
- Servicing & spare parts. As full battery electric vehicles have fewer moving parts, they generally require less maintenance. That said, given their uniqueness, electric cars do require specialised care when it comes to servicing. Furthermore, their engine composition is quite different, requiring fit for purpose parts. As such, be sure to investigate ancillary services offered by your retailer, namely servicing and parts. Local servicing is always more convenient in the long run so do keep this in mind.
- Wonderful warranties. When it comes to making a new car purchase, warranty periods are incredibly important. Lengthy warranties affirm a manufacturer’s backing of their product, while giving you the consumer peace of mind. Be sure to query the conditions, inclusions, and exclusions noted in warranty terms before signing the dotted line. If you are buying a used electric car, be sure there is a safe and secure warranty available with a warranty company of integrity.
The best places to buy electric cars in Canberra
Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
A global leader in new energy vehicles, BYD Experience Centre in Gungahlin offers comprehensive new energy solutions with zero-emission. BYD is devoted to leveraging technological innovations for a better life. Vehicles are stylish, efficient and intelligent with loads of space and ultra-safe design.
Make a splash with the feature-packed BYD Dolphin in a range of dynamic or premium colours. The remarkable BYD Dolphin offers land-departure warning and intelligent cruise control with ABS and traction control. Other features are built-in audio, phone, ACC and multi-function display steering wheel controls. The limited-edition Dolphin Sport is available for order.
Powered to impress, the BYD Atto 3 also offers land-departure warning, intelligent cruise control with ABS and traction control. Additional features include built-in audio, phone, ACC and multi-function display steering wheel controls. The BYD Atto 3 also includes AC and DC charging ports and 200v emergency charging cable.
Extensive, multiple-year warranties are included for batteries and vehicles. Finance options are available for both standard and extended ranges. Book a test drive online.
Ana Maria Londono wrote on Google, “Couldn't be happier with the service and support … Best customer service ever, and our enquiries were always addressed in a timely manner. We got our car today and can't wait to explore and enjoy it.”
Lexus of Canberra’s exciting lineup of electrified vehicles includes all-electric vehicles, hybrid and plug-in hybrid. There’s a model to suit every lifestyle and SUVs, sedans and the coupe are designed for today’s drivers.
Knowledgeable experts advise on the latest electrified vehicles, including the all-new Lexus RX and the first-ever, all-electric Lexus RZ.
The Lexus RX, the vehicle that imagined the luxury SUV, has entered its fifth generation with a new design, new powertrains, greater performance and refined luxury. Modern and commanding, the RX has a carefully crafted new spindle body and a human-centred, intuitive interior. Lexus of Canberra also offers the F Sport Style.
The Lexus RZ sets a new standard in luxury performance. Crafted atop a dedicated battery-electric platform and sporting an enhanced spindle body, the RZ is optimised for superior handling, including with its intuitive Tazuna cockpit.
Lexus of Canberra also showcases the UX, a compact hybrid SUV, the NX a medium compact or plug-in hybrid SUV, and the RX, a large hybrid SUV. The sedan lineup includes the ES medium hybrid and LS flagship luxury sedan. Last, but not least is the LC, a hybrid flagship luxury coupe.
Lexus of Canberra’s large showroom is conveniently located in Phillip.
On Google, Jeremy Ricciardi wrote, “From the initial phone call to arrange a test drive to collecting the keys, the staff were extremely professional, dedicated and willing to answer any questions or concerns … I’m extremely happy with my new 2023 Lexus…”
Multiple award-winning Volvo Cars Canberra offers an exciting range of pure electric, plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids for drivers who want the way of the future. With contemporary designs, unique colour ranges, comfortable interiors and smart tech details, these vehicles have it all.
The pure electric, comfortable C40 Recharge offers up to about 507-kilometre electric range, 300 kilowatts of power and a fast charge rate of 27 minutes. This vehicle is pure heart in a daring body and is available with a single or twin-motor powertrain, to enhance power, agility and driving.
Volvo’s XC40 Recharge Pure Electric model is smart, versatile and expressive. It offers up to 500-kilometre electric range, 300 kilowatts of power and a fast charge rate of 27 minutes. Enjoy the comfort of one-pedal drive and smooth acceleration, with zero tailpipe emissions.
The fully electric EX30, coming soon, is Volvo’s smallest-ever SUV with customer deliveries from early 2024.
Volvo’s lineup of recharge models includes two hybrid vehicles – the XC90 and the XC60.
At Volvo Cars Canberra – a locally owned business based in the capital for more than 30 years — experts are on hand to help customers explore the world of electrification. The team provides expert after-sales service
For full specifications on all models, visit Volvo’s showroom in Phillip.
On Google, Paul Davies wrote, “We walked into the showroom only intending to do a bit of window shopping but walked out having bought a Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge demonstrator. We can highly recommend the sales team as courteous, highly professional, and not at all pushy.”
Mercedes Benz Canberra are part of one of the largest automotive groups in Australia. Since launching their state-of-the art dealership in 2015, they have assisted thousands of Canberrans with new and pre-owned vehicles.
When it comes to EVs Mercedes Benz Canberra boasts the all-electric and award winning EQC. With quick charge times and a thrilling drive, they also offer servicing and parts as needed. Moreover, As one of only twenty-four authorised EQ retailers Australia wide, Mercedes Benz Canberra makes for an excellent choice.
Michael Motha shared a review on his experience on Google, “The service I received from Mercedes Benz Canberra is unlike I have ever experienced before. The team gave a level of support that is unmatched! It made buying a new car a very convenient and enjoyable experience! …. Thank you and I will always recommend Mercedes Benz Canberra 10/10 times always.”
Locally based Ion DNA was brought to fruition by former rally driver Rob Ogilvie, who opened its doors in 2018 to capture the first adopter market in electrically powered performance products. Conveniently located in Fyshwick, Ion DNA boasts Australia’s first dedicated all-electrical vehicle showroom, full to the brim of the latest innovations on offer.
When it comes to electric vehicles this team are true experts, they live and breathe electrically powered products day in, day out. Their range of EVs currently includes the award-winning Nissan Leaf and highly acclaimed Honda-e.
Michael McDonald shared this experience on Facebook, "Took my family out to test drive an electric vehicle today and Rob was great, very helpful and informative. Knows his stuff and is generous with his knowledge and time."
National Capital Hyundai have been servicing the local region for over thirty years. Along with this heritage, comes the benefits offered by the global super brand - and their stellar reputation for delivering award winning electric cars.
The fully electric Hyundai Kona has received world-wide recognition for both its performance and style. If you are looking for a high value electric SUV with servicing and parts all under the one roof, consider National Capital Hyundai.
Jen Wetselaar shared this review on Google, “Isaac Bischof at National Capital Hyundai helped me buy my new Hyundai Kona yesterday. I could not have been happier with the service, politeness and support I received from this gentleman. Prompt and cheerful.”
As the regions only accredited BMW dealer, Rolfe Classic BMW have been selling and servicing vehicles for over forty years. Offering a full range of BMW products and services in one handy location, this passionate team are committed to delivering the ultimate service experience.
As for electric cars, Rolfe Classic BMW proudly presents its BMWi range including the all-electric i3, with additional models soon to come. If you are considering options for an EV, Rolfe Classic BMW are well worth a visit.
Photography Clickzz shared this sentiment on Google, “Brilliant staff and showroom. The staff are very hospitable and extremely helpful. Guy helped us purchase our new BMW a while ago and we were very impressed. A great experience here at Rolfe Classic!”
For over fifty years, family owned Lennock Nissan have been selling and servicing cars in Canberra and surrounds. As a multi award-winning dealership, they offer sales, parts, and servicing for their extensive range.
Lennock Nissan is also home to the globally renowned all-electric Nissan Leaf. This new generation electric vehicle boasts a smarter, safer drive, by coupling innovations in EV technology with everyday driving. To explore your EV options be sure to add Lennock Nissan to your list.
Philip Wheatley shared this feedback on Google, “Great sales team, excellent service and vehicles. Timely and special delivery of purchases.”
If you’re in the market for more alternative transport options, check out our articles on the best electric skateboard shops in Canberra and the best electric scooter shops and servicing for some handy information.
Your experience with electric car retailers in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the electric car retailers listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of electric cars are currently available?
There are three main types of electric cars currently available in Australia. Firstly, there are hybrid’s (HEV’s) which use a combination of batteries and traditional combustion engine. Hybrids are charged by the engine and what is known as regenerative braking. As such they are not plugged in for charging. Next up are plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) which use rechargeable batteries plus a combustion engine. Finally, there are full electric vehicles (EVs) or battery EVs (BEVs), which are run entirely on electricity stored within the car battery.
How much does an electric car cost in Australia?
Since the range of electric cars has expanded, entry market costs have reduced making EV’s more affordable Australia wide. Generally speaking; hybrid models (HEVs), start from around $27,000 plus on-road costs, while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) start from around $43,000 plus on-road costs. Fully battery models (EV’s or BEVs) tend to start from approximately $48,000 plus on-road costs and go upwards from there depending on make and model. For comprehensive cost guides contact your local electric car retailer.
How far can electric cars travel on a single charge?
Most electric cars from 2018 onwards can travel approximately 300kms on a single charge. Later models, particularly those released from 2020 onwards can boast a range of 500kms or more on a single charge. As always, be sure to research this well and contact your local retailer for model specific range rates.
How much will it cost to charge an electric car?
The cost of charging a car will of course depend on where you live, how you drive, and the car’s battery capacity. As EV cars are rated by how many kilowatt hours (kWh) are used per 100km, calculating this can be done by checking the electricity rate. That said, the Electric Vehicle Council (https://electricvehiclecouncil.com.au/) provides a general guide; indicating that the cost of running an electric car is $0.33c per e-litre, versus $1.50 per litre for fuel. Fortunately, there are many handy calculators accessible online to help you estimate this running cost.
Where can I charge an electric car in Canberra?
There are plenty of options to make charging your electric car a breeze. You can charge your EV in the convenience of your own home, either to top up or fully recharge. This can be done using a portable level 1 EV charger or a level 2 EV home charging station. While home charging stations do cost more to install, they offer much quicker charging times. Outside of the home there over 30 public charging stations located Canberra wide. These are a mix of level 2 stations delivering daily use top ups and overnight recharges; and level 3 stations which can fully recharge some cars in as little as 15 minutes. To find the location closest to you visit https://electricvehiclecouncil.com.au/about-ev/charger-map/.