Australia's uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) is increasing at a healthy rate, with combined sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles roughly doubling over each of the last two years.
Australians thinking of buying an EV are flooded with information and opinion as the cars have become more popular.
With more EV models set to enter showrooms this year, and more Australian buyers begin seriously considering them alongside internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, we present the top six reasons why you should make an EV your next car.
1. Lower running costs
Price is a contentious issue when it comes to EVs, as the cars have still not reached price parity with their internal combustion engine (ICE) cousins and cost of entry for consumers remains higher.
However, given EVs have drastically lower running costs – due to their simpler maintenance schedule and cheaper refueling – owners can expect this initial excess to be equalled and even surpassed over the lifetime of the vehicle.
On average, EV owners save from $810 to $1400 each year, providing savings of up to $7000 in just a five-year ownership period.
In the long term, EV owners can expect to save on running costs compared to ICE owners.
Planning on doing a lot of driving? These savings could be even greater, with the average electric car costing just $4 to power per 100kms travelled, versus ICE vehicles which average $14/100km in fuel costs.
At 20,000km driven each yearly, this is a saving of approximately $2000, meaning EV owners could be saving $10,000 on fuel alone in just five years.
2. Help meet Australia's emissions target
Australia has committed to net zero by 2050, and EVs will play a crucial role in achieving this target.
Transport accounts for 18 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions – 85 per cent of which comes from road-bound vehicles, with cars contributing almost half of that.
The average new ICE vehicle produces approximately 185g CO2/km, whereas an average new EV is accountable for only 98g CO2/km if charged from the current electrical grid.
While a switch to EVs today already means a 47 per cent reduction in CO2 emitted, this figure is only set to rise as Australia and its electrical grid becomes less reliant on dirty sources or energy such as coal.
This CO2 emission figure is also reduced to zero if EV owners make use of solar energy to recharge.
3. Increased fuel security and infrastructure stability
In February 2021, ExxonMobil announced it would shut its Altona refinery in Victoria, bringing Australia’s total operating refineries down to just two. The following month, the Suez Canal was obstructed for six days after a ship travelling through it became stuck.
These events reignited conversation and concerns over Australia’s reliance on importation of crude oil and our vulnerability to these imported goods showed in huge price hikes and lack of supply.
The move to EVs does away with these concerns, as the electricity used by the cars is produced within Australia – be it from conventional methods or emerging, greener technologies such as wind and solar.
Australian made and owned: Could we produce the energy to power our EV future right here at home?
4. More economic opportunities
The batteries used in EVs are made primary of lithium, and a little-known fact is Australia is the world’s largest exporter of lithium. In fact, the amount of lithium Australia mines and exports is more than double that of our nearest competitor, Chile.
Being the primary material used in the production of EV batteries, the demand for lithium will increase as the popularity of the electric car does – and this will result in more economic opportunities for Australia.
5. Driving experience
With a near-silent powertrain, no smells and supreme smoothness, the EV driving experience simply cannot be matched by ICE vehicles when it comes to comfort and refinement.
Enthusiasts may long for a sporty induction or exhaust note, but the instant torque EVs deliver from any speed is enough to win many over.
Most of the fastest production cars in the world are now full-electric. Comfort and torque on tap, what more could you want?
6. A healthier community
When speaking of the environmental benefits of EVs, we tend to focus on greenhouse gas emissions and ethical mining, however they also have much more microscopic benefits – both literally and figuratively.
The OECD estimates that approximately half of all air pollution in member countries is due to motor vehicles. ICE vehicles produce tailpipe emissions which include unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter – all known carcinogens. ICE vehicles in the Sydney-Newcastle-Wollongong area create $3billion in health costs every year, with 52 per cent attributable to exhaust emissions.
While EVs may not be entirely ‘green’ in their production or if charged from the grid, pedestrians and communities can benefit from vehicles passing by them at a street-level not emitting the harmful chemicals listed above.
Cleaner air: No tailpipe emissions from EVs mean reduced air pollution compared to ICE vehicles.
So... should I buy an EV?
Driving an EV is great fun and they account for less CO2 emission. More chargers are being rolled out across the country and new vehicles are being added to the market. In fact, EV owners are in a much better position than pioneering ICE motorists from one hundred years ago, looking for the next waypoint to where they could purchase petrol.
While relatively higher purchase prices and convenient home charging points might be stumbling blocks for some prospective buyers, the case for buying an EV is improving. Use our buying guide to understand which electric vehicle might suit you.