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Should you buy an electric car?

Posted 13.04.2021
Should you buy an electric car?

Electric car sales are yet to top the charts in Australia. However, this will likely change as the technology catches on and the world becomes more green conscious. 

According to an Australian Electric Vehicle Market Study, the number of EVs cruising the roads should match the abundance of internal combustion engine vehicles once cheaper models are rolled out.

With this information, you may wonder whether to be a pioneer owner of an EV or wait until they are selling like hotcakes. Here’s what you need to consider before deciding.

What are your EV options?

An electric vehicle can be powered by electricity rather than liquid fuel. Currently, there are two main types of EVs on the market.

All-electric vehicles

As the name implies, this type of car is powered only by electricity. All-electric vehicles or AEVS include battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles. Both types have to be plugged into an off-board electric power source to recharge. 

BEVs use battery packs, while FCEVs use fuel cells to power their electric motors. AEVs also generate electricity using the braking system, a process known as regenerative braking.

Hybrid electric vehicles

HEVs use both liquid fuel and electricity to power themselves. That means, unlike AEVs, they also have a traditional internal combustion engine that runs on petrol. The electric energy is produced via regenerative braking, which uses the car’s braking system. During this process, some of the energy that usually converts to heat when the vehicle slows down converts to electricity instead.

Another type of HEV called the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or PHEV can be plugged into an external electrical charging system. You may also come across the term “extended-range electric vehicle.” It applies to HEVs that use the petrol engine to boost the car’s range by recharging the battery as it depletes.                                                                  

Pros of buying an electric car

There’s a great case to be made for buying, owning, and driving an EV:

A cleaner, smaller carbon footprint

EVs may not be the ultimate solution to getting rid of emissions, but they are a step in the right direction. Even though electricity generation produces some emissions, EVs can still reduce emissions by as much as 70%. As a result, many environmentally friendly individuals and institutions are encouraging the sale of EVs.

Some banks and financial institutions even offer green loans with interest rate discounts as an incentive.

Further proof that EVs are being accepted as legitimately profitable companies can be found in the latest Climate Index released by Carbon Collective. The EV company with the highest brand recognition, Tesla, enjoys the top spot among all industries of the almost 200 recommendations for those interested in climate change solution investing.

Brilliant performance and comfort

There’s a lot to rave about when it comes to EVs.

  • EVs have instant torque, so you have instant power and an immediate response as soon as you step on the accelerator.
  • EVs are much quieter.
  • Due to batteries that are located on the car’s floor, EVs have a low centre of gravity and excellent balance. That means they’re quite nifty around corners.
  • Overall, EVs have undeniable star quality in terms of comfort, safety features, technology, and a relaxed driving experience.

Cheaper to run and maintain 

Although they’re expensive, EVs deliver more bang for your buck in the long run. Considering that petrol prices have been on a steady climb in recent years, EV drivers will certainly appreciate the lower costs of plugging into the electric grid.

EVs also require less maintenance. For instance, you don’t have to worry about oil changes. And not only do you take fewer trips to the mechanic, but you also spend less time refueling.

Buying an electric car will be in vogue soon

The number of EV models available on the Australian market is slowly spiking. That means you’ll soon be able to find EVs for any purpose, be it a family road trip or a fun sports drive. As the range of EVs widens to suit different driving needs, EVs will become a popular means of transport. Why not jump on the trend early and stay a step ahead of the crowd?

Cons of buying an electric car

The major downsides to buying an electric car appear to be the price and lack of charging infrastructure.

EVs cost a pretty penny

Currently, there’s a large disparity between the cost of EVs and their petrol-powered counterparts. While EVs may be cheaper to run, initial costs remain a barrier. Also, things like insurance, home EV charger installation, and battery pack replacement can make the prospect of buying an EV even more daunting for your wallet.

Limited travelling range

How far will an EV take you on a single charge? Range can be a common source of worry to would-be EV buyers. However, it’s not much of a downside if you’ll be using the car for short-distance commutes – most EVs are more than up for the job.

But if you are planning a long road trip, with infrequent gaps in-between, it’s probably best to bring a petrol-powered car or at the very least buy a hybrid EV.

The issue of charging

You can recharge an EV by either plugging in at home or using a public DC fast charger. The first option usually requires leaving your car to charge overnight. But a public DC fast charger can have your car up and running in less than an hour. 

While this is handy, this type of public charger is not found in every location, and you might have to wait your turn or pay a fee to access the nearest one. Home EV chargers are also expensive to install, so be sure to explore all your options to see if you’ll be able to recharge your car conveniently.

The bottom line on whether to buy an electric car or wait 

The matter of whether to buy an electric vehicle is a question of when not if. EVs are the cars of the future, and as the world accelerates into that future, Aussies should be ready to climb on board. That’s the big picture. 

Looking at the smaller picture, there may be valid reasons for holding off an EV purchase. For instance, you may not wish to strain your wallet or go out of your way to find charging stations. But if you find some good deals, and can afford to splurge on one, or have access to plenty of charging stations, buying an EV will help you move along with the times.

To help you make a smarter choice, you can use the Australian Government’s Electric Vehicle Guide, which compares electric vehicles currently on the market.