The world is changing and, whether we like it or not, electric vehicles (EVs) are coming. There are still however, several questions we regularly are asked on what it all means for Australia’s car owners and what the future brings.
We take a look at some of the most common questions we’ve received about EVs from our Members.
What types of electric cars are there?
There are three main types of EVs: Battery EVs (BEVs) run entirely on electric motors and batteries. They’re recharged from a power grid. In general, the larger the battery, the further the vehicle can go. Plug-in hybrids (PHVs) use a combination of rechargeable batteries, electric motors and an internal combustion engine. Hybrids (HEVs) use smaller batteries and an internal combustion engine. The batteries are charged by the engine or regenerative braking and petrol is used as a primary power source.
How much does an EV cost?
In Australia, EVs range in price from $44,490 to well over $100,000. Currently, they’re more expensive to buy than petrol/diesel cars. Bloomberg, a financial, data and media company, predicts electric cars could be cheaper than petrol cars by 2025 if volumes grow and the cost of lithium batteries falls. Other analysts believe the price of EVs will match liquid fuel cars as early as 2022.
How much do they cost to run?
Global studies show that once the initial price of an EV is removed, they’re cheaper to run than a regular internal combustion engine car. In Australia, depending on the price of fuel, a car will cost about $16.50 per 100 kilometres. Depending on the cost of power, an EV will cost around $4.50 over the same distance. There are also substantial cost benefits to motorists because EVs require less maintenance. Internal combustion engines can have as many as 100 moving parts, while EVs have just a fraction of that number. Nor do they require regular fluid changes or have as many consumable parts such as clutches, oil filters and so on. The cost of recharging a battery is 3 cents per kilometre compared with 10 cents per kilometre for fuel. The costs are reduced even more if the battery is charged from domestic solar. In all, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report estimates that drivers would save $1700 a year in ownership costs by 2030. In other words, EVs cost more to purchase, but this is offset by lower running costs.
How far can electric vehicles travel on a single charge?
Until recently, one of the biggest limitations of electric cars was range. Now, in Australia, you can buy cars that can drive anything from 230km to more than 500km on a single charge. Because most Australians live in cities and have an average daily commute of 30-40km return, an EV has more than enough range to get to work and back and only be charged two or three times a week.
How long does it take to charge an EV?
This varies depending on the type of car and the type of charger. Plugging in at home using a 240-volt socket is the slowest, but an EV will reach full charge overnight. A public DC fast charger, however, will get it to 80 per cent charge in about 40 to 50 minutes.
Do we really need EVs?
Australia no longer manufactures its own cars and therefore we rely on imports. As countries around the world move to electric vehicles, we must be prepared to do so as well. In the coming decades (or earlier), car manufacturers will stop building cars with internal combustion engines. There’ll come a time when petrol and diesel cars are no longer imported into Australia, meaning we’ll only be able to buy electric cars.