Full EV vs Hybrid – which is better in Australia right now?

I’ve recently been lucky enough to make the transition from a 2020 Hybrid Toyota Corolla to Tesla Model Y. I love my new car but which one actually stacks up as the better vehicle?

To be fair, a better comparison might be between the Hybrid Toyota Rav 4 and the Tesla Model Y as they both fall in the midsize SUV range. We did have a deposit down on a Rav 4 but after waiting 6 months, they told us the price was going up and couldn’t guarantee when the car would arrive. This sounds pretty consistent across the Toyota range at the moment so worth considering.

That being said, let’s get into the comparison of a Toyota Corolla Hybrid and a Tesla Model Y RWD…

Size

The first one is a bit of a no brainer. If you are after a larger vehicle like we were, then the Tesla Model Y is the clear winner here. When I first got the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, we were a young married couple with no kids, so we could easily get by. But, now that we have a one year old, we really need a bigger vehicle. Our pram did not fit in the back of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid without removing the wheels. We could fit a baby seat in the back but it was really difficult to put the baby in and our without bumping his head.

The Tesla Model Y on the other hand, had plenty of room for the pram, plus extra storage in the underneath compartment, as well as the Frunk. it was much easier to put our son in and take him out of his car seat, and there’s plenty of room in the back as he grows.

Fuel/Charge Economy

With all the advantages of EVs, and rising fuel prices you might think that the Tesla would be the clear winner here. But there are some situations where the Corolla will come out cheaper, including ours.

Now if you have the ability to charge your Tesla Model Y at home, with a cheap electricity company or with your own solar, then you’ll likely be way ahead of the Hybrid. That said, in our situation we don’t have the ability to charge at home. This means we are using public chargers, making charging more expensive. 

So how do the numbers stack up?

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid 2020 model has a fuel tank of 43L which when full could take me 1070km. Generally it would cost $60-80 to fill up.

This is compared with a 60kwh battery on the Tesla Model Y RWD which could cost anywhere from $18-38 at a public charger to completely top up. To fully understand how this stacks up, let’s look at range.

Vehicle Range

The range of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid on a full tank was a whopping 1070km. Meanwhile, the range on a Tesla Model Y is advertised at 455km, but actually typically ends up being about 435km, and even less depending on the temperature, and road conditions. So if you factor having to charge more than twice on the Tesla Model Y RWD, then the Toyota Corolla Hybrid comes out slightly better in terms of fuel cost.

I must stress, this is in our situation, but if you are charging your EV at home, you’ll be way better off. You also have to consider that the Model Y is a much bigger vehicle so you would expect it to cost more to run than a smaller car. It’s also worth mentioning that there are some places where you can charge your EV for free…while I can honestly say I’ve never received a free tank of fuel.

Time to refuel/recharge 

Generally I could refuel the Toyota Corolla within about 5 minutes including going inside to pay. At a public charger, it can take 30-60minutes to charge. While this might sound like a drawback, charging stations are usually located at shopping malls or near other facilities. I usually do our shopping or go for a walk while charging, so it has seldom an issue, except for on longer trips – which will continue to change as the electric charging network advances.

Comfort 

There are definitely a lot more comforts in the Model Y RWD than in the Toyota Corolla Hybrid. While the Corolla has enough to get by, it is a small vehicle. Meanwhile, it  is hard to go past that glass roof in the Tesla Model Y. The Model Y also has an electric adjustable drivers seat with lumbar support. The back seats have recline functionality and plenty of space. All seats and the steaming wheel have heating available as well.

Technology

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid’s dash functionality was fairly limited but it had Android Auto and Apply Car Play (but you did have to plug your phone in to use these.) The screen was also pretty small, but was a touch screen. The integration with my phone was pretty useful though. The ignition was push button start, so no need to put a key in the ignition.

Tesla takes it to a whole other level with their tech, with everything in the vehicle centred around the touch screen.  I pay for the enhanced connectivity which includes free Spotify, so pretty much an endless selection of music and podcasts at my fingertips. 

The only downside is not having Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. I feel that the vehicle loses out some key conveniences of me being able to interact with my phone features like being able to control the Audible or Google Podcasts app through the touch screen. I’m not sure this feature will ever come either as it would detract from the enhanced connectivity.

That said, there are plenty of other cool features to keep you busy while waiting at a Tesla Charger, including theatre mode for watching YouTube, an Arcade for playing games, Romance Mode, added security with Sentry mode and other fun gimmicks like the Light Show, and fart options.

On top of this, you can also interact with your Tesla from the App, adjusting climate, reviewing charging and monitoring sentry mode.

And forget the push button start. Your phone doubles as your key so you can just jump in your car, put it in gear and you are away.

I’m only scraping the surface on the tech in a Tesla, so it really is a much more enhanced experience than the Corolla provides.

Cruise control 

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid did have adaptive cruise control which was pretty handy and generally worked most of the time. 

The Tesla has an equivalent called Traffic Aware Cruise Control, which is pretty good, but probably not as smooth as the Corolla. The Tesla Model Y can detect speed signs and adjust your speed accordingly which is an attractive feature.

Teslas also have the option to upgrade to enhance autopilot which can automatically move you between lanes after you put on your turning signal (it will detect a free space in the land next to you and move you into it when suitable). Enhanced autopilot also includes self parking and navigate on autopilot features.

Tesla is constantly updating its features and rolling them out as software updates. This means the Tesla Model Y you buy today will have new features in a years time. This makes a Tesla a very attractive vehicle moving into the future.

So despite the lower range and reduced fuel economy than the Corolla Hybrid, I don’t think I’d ever go back.

If you are in the market for a Tesla, feel free to use my referral link to save some money off your order.

What’s been your experience with Tesla or a Toyota? Let us know in the comments below.