Top 5 Must-Knows for Buying an Electric Car
The market for electric cars in Australia is definitely on the upswing and that’s being recognised by consumers, businesses and government alike. If you’re considering buying one, you’re not alone.
According to Reuters, to help cater to this increased interest the government pledged $178 million in late 2021 to roll out more hydrogen refuelling and charging stations for electric cars in Australia.
However, most Aussies are on the back foot when it comes to purchasing electric cars and enjoying the rebates that come with that. Or on the fence, at least. We’re acutely aware the shift from fossil fuels to renewables is needed. But where do we stand?
For those who want to shift gears but aren’t keen on being the ones to test new ground, here are the top five things to know about buying electric cars in Australia.
1. Types of electric cars
There are different variations of electric cars available in Australia. By this we mean there are cars that operate using electricity only and cars that run on different combinations of petrol and electric energy.
For example, hybrids make the switch from petrol to electricity simpler by using a combination of both. If you’re unsure about electric cars this dual method can be inviting. Hybrids don’t plug-in to charge up. Instead they store electric power generated during the driving process and can use it when you drive at lower speeds. Higher speeds still rely on burning fuel. Find out more about how these hybrid cars work.
In contrast, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) do plug in to charge up, just like the electric cars we describe below. They use a combination of petrol and electricity to extend their range. Whether your PHEV favours petrol over electricity or vice versa depends on the model.
Or, you can get an extended-range electric vehicle (EREV). This relies on a combo of stored electricity and petrol but the difference is it only uses the petrol to generate electricity once the battery’s electricity is depleted.
And finally, possibly the most talked about electric cars in Australia are battery electric vehicles (BEVs), colloquially called electric cars and EVs for short. These guys use electric energy only and save 100% on C02 driving emissions. Read about these four types of electric vehicles in more detail and the available models.
2. Powering an electric car
Australia has close to 3,000 recharging stations. Not bad when compared to around 6,500 petrol stations. EVs are clearly becoming the new black. Unfortunately however, in Australia, that new black is actually often still coal. Or, another way to put it – fossil fuel.
Electric vehicles use electricity and or electricity and petrol. For the most part, Australia’s electricity is still generated by coal. In other words, you could be zooting around in one of several types of green cars but still burning fossil fuels. Albeit indirectly. Find out more in our article on electric cars vs petrol.
Drivers of electric cars in Australia will also note that, as with petrol, your driving style impacts your energy usage. Find out how long it takes to charge electric cars and what mileage to expect for every charge in our article on finding the best electric car.
Watch this video to get a better picture of what it’s like charging electric cars in Australia:
3. Cost of buying an electric car
According to the Electric Cars Guide you can expect an upfront cost of anywhere between $27,000 (Chevrolet Spark) to $100,000 (Tesla Model S). Generally speaking you may pay as much as double the price for an EV. This is in part due to electric car production costs, which are 50% higher than cars that run on fuel!
As the demand for electric cars in Australia increases, this demand will have a positive impact in reducing these costs. For now, though, if you’re willing to go green you can hope to recoup at least some of your initial outlay back on running costs.
However, you may be able to save even more when it comes to fuel spend. Try out this cost calculator to compare costs of running your car on electricity versus petrol.
4. Cost of running an electric vehicle
Powering electric cars in Australia is about 70% cheaper than fueling combustion engines. Depending on the model you drive, you may save more. For example, you could save 4,000% on running costs with an electric Kona versus a petrol version.
The Electric Vehicle Council notes that if you drive an average of 15,000km each year, you’ll spend around $2,160 on petrol or $600 on electricity. Another way of looking at it is $0.14 per km for petrol and $0.04 per km for electricity.
Also, the average lifespan of an Aussie car is 10.6 years but electric cars in Australia will take around 13 years to win back outlay costs on running costs. So provided you get your winter to summer car maintenance checks completed year on year and you keep your car that long, you may save.
5. Insurance for hybrid cars
Getting comprehensive car insurance for your petrol car is always a great idea because you get financially covered for all kinds of accidents that happen on and off the road. These include but aren’t limited to events like collisions, fire, flood, hail, theft and vandalism.
So what about insurance for electric cars in Australia? It stands to reason that being covered is just as important if you’re an electric car owner, right? That’s a no-brainer.
At the time of writing, we’re offering car insurance for some makes and models of hybrid electric cars. Click below to get a quote and find out more.