So over the holidays, Kotaku Australia’s editor David Smith got me a Tesla Model X… toy. We alluded to it in my game of the year list, but I didn’t even really know that you could get die-cast models of electric vehicles. Turns out, Matchbox has a collection of EVs on sale in Aussie toy shops and supermarkets.
The collection I’ve amassed so far includes:
- Tesla Model X
- Volkswagen ID.4
- Audi e-tron
- Citroën Ami
- For Mustang Mach-E
As far as I’m aware, Matchbox doesn’t have any other EV models on sale in Australia (although I’m very willing to be proven wrong about that). There is an EV Matchbox set, including the Model 3, the upcoming Tesla Roadster, the 2018 Nissan Leaf and the BMW i8, but it is yet to come to Australia, so for right now we have to make do with these individual cars.
I’m an EV guy; I love EVs and I love reviewing EVs. So, why not review these?
Matchbox’s 2021 and 2022 electric vehicle range (going off the ‘2021’ and ‘2022’ badges underneath these cars) includes the most space-conscious design of any EV I’ve reviewed yet. Albeit, they’re so small that you can’t get into them, but you could have hundreds of these things in the space of a single Tesla Model 3. They’re not real cars though, so, keep that in mind.
They’re also incredibly efficient. Not having a battery also means the quickest recharge time of any EV ever created (zero seconds!), and their dependence on lithium is way below any other EV on the road. They’re also the cheapest EVs to run, without the need to be charged or maintained (unless you’re a dedicated collector who paints over scratches). You can’t open the charger up, so I can’t tell you if they use CHAdeMO or Type 2 charging. Again, these are not real cars.
As for speed, these things are fairly average as far as finger-driven cars can go. You push them around and they scurry as fast as an ant, or perhaps an enthusiastic spider. Unfortunately, this is well below the 0-100km records set by the EVs you see on the road, but I suspect Matchbox will innovate in this area (again, these are not real cars).
So, efficiency-wise, these things are pretty good. I’d like them to be a bit bigger, so that they can be displayed better on my shelf, but for right now, they make neat little desk warmers.
Additionally, as pointed out by David, they don’t ship with self-driving functionality, surrounding cameras or any of the features you’d expect from a modern EV.
So here’s something I actually consider really funny: out of the five Matchbox EVs that I managed to find at Coles and Woolworths, only two of the cars they’re based on are actually available in Australia – the Tesla Model X and the Audi e-tron.
The other three aren’t available here. The Citroën Ami is a microcar designed for tiny European roads, so it’s unlikely to, the Ford Mustang Mach-E hasn’t been confirmed for Australia yet (but it could make its way down under), and the Volkswagen ID.4 has been confirmed for Australia… but in late 2023.
So; congratulations Matchbox, your range of EVs has to be the most readily available in the world, to the point where you can walk down to the shops, pick one up and go home. If only it were that easy with real EVs.
So Tesla has been copped a bit of flak online for build quality. Personally, I have seen some Teslas with poorly aligned panelling, but for the most part, the EVs I’ve seen on the road appear to have been built really well.
These Matchbox cars have a cheap build quality that put them below Hot Wheels, the more premium model car maker from Mattel, but still allows them to sell some pretty decent models. The panels are properly aligned and all the features work, but I would recommend against dropping these things or scraping them against surfaces (or other cars).
The interiors aren’t overly detailed and the glasswork seems too dark to be road-legal, however, the paint and decal application on the models seems to be well done. There are a few bumps on the left of the Volkswagen ID.4, but that’s likely been applied during the build.
I touched on it earlier, but I would like to collect model EVs in a displayable size. This size is good for clumsy kid hands, but I’d love detailed models to have on a shelf, representing the cars Gizmodo Australia has reviewed.
Should you buy a Matchbox EV?
At $3.20, if you really like a certain car, you’ve got nothing to lose in buying a Matchbox EV, though you might be more interested in the more premium-looking Hot Wheels range.
But if you want to collect EV-specific diecast models and want to standardise to one scale size, then I can confirm that the Matchbox range doesn’t disappoint.
Matchbox cars cost about $3.20 in Australia, depending on where you shop.
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