Electric car price war resumes as one brand sets record

The price of electric cars has fallen again in Australia, with one Chinese automaker cutting thousands of dollars off the cost of the country's cheapest battery-powered vehicle.

GWM announced a cut to the driveway price of its Ora electric hatchback on Thursday, setting a new record in the market and stoking a price war with MG and BYD that also offer electric cars for less than $40,000. 

Industry experts said the move showed electric vehicles could become more affordable years before some predicted, and came as sales figures showed more Australians were adopting the low-emission vehicles. 

In a statement, GWM said it dropped the price of its entry-level electric hatchback "on the back of growing sales momentum" in Australia, and was committed to selling and launching more low-emission cars.

"(The price cut) reconfirms GWM's local commitment to its new energy vehicle strategy of enhancing its EV and hybrid powertrain offering in light of current and anticipated demand into the future," the company said. 

The GWM Ora's new on-road price of $35,990 represents a cut of at least $4600 on its 2023 launch price, and makes the model the cheapest electric vehicle on sale in Australia. 

The price cut comes two weeks after rival MG announced price cuts to its electric vehicle range, lowering the on-road costs of both its MG4 hatchback and ZS EV SUV to $39,990. 

MG Motor Australia chief executive Peter Ciao said the company switched to driveway prices to provide greater certainty and lowered costs to underline its support the government's proposed emission rules.

"We are serious about our commitment to support the new vehicle efficiency standard," he said. 

BYD also sells an electric vehicle for less than $40,000 in Australia, the Dolphin, but has yet to respond to the latest round of price cuts.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the car makers' actions showed the federal government's commitment to a fuel-efficiency standard was already making an impact on the market. 

"It's always been the promise of fuel-efficiency standards that it will increase choice and bring down the price of those choices as it provides certainty for the entire industry," he said.

"This is the latest step in what is essentially a price war."

Mr Jafari said the price cuts also defied earlier predictions that Australian motorists would not see new electric vehicles significantly fall in price until 2030. 

The latest price battle comes as data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries showed electric vehicles represented 9.5 per cent of all new cars sold in March, up from 6.8 per cent in 2023. 

The figures also showed MG is currently leading the battle of sub-$40,000 electric cars, selling 1335 MG4 models this year, compared to 688 BYD Dolphins and 282 GWM Ora cars.

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