Why should you choose an EV?
According to the Electrical Vehicle Council there are a number of reasons to consider switching to an Electric Vehicle (EV). These include: being more fun to drive, having a lower total cost of ownership, being convenient, requiring less maintenance, and they are good for the environment and provide fuel security.
Dispelling the myths
Not enough driving range
You can go further then you think!
Today’s EVs have enough battery range to meet the average Australian’s driving needs for over a week. Current EVs have an average battery range of 480km but the technology is advancing so rapidly that new models can drive for almost 550km on a single charge.
The average Australian drives 38km per day so an EV owner can go for at least 10 days without a recharge. Unlike petrol cars, you can recharge at home or anywhere with access to electricity.
Charging takes too long
Fast chargers are getting faster!
Charging times are falling quickly as technology advances. Residential chargers are able to fully charge EVs in around six to eight hours, depending on the vehicle’s capacity. Fast chargers can also be used at home if they are installed. This means you can easily charge your car in a few hours or overnight.
Public fast chargers are able to get you back on the road much faster. Leave your car at a charger while you go shopping or to work and in three hours, it’ll be fully charged. Ultra-rapid chargers can add 300km of range in ten minutes.
There’s nowhere to charge EVs
Charging infrastructure is growing!
While 80 per cent of EV drivers globally charge their EV at home, there is still a need for public charging infrastructure. An ever-expanding network of public charging infrastructure is being installed across Australia. Private companies have been building networks along highways, and both federal and state governments are now investing too. Local councils are supporting local communities to make the change by installing chargers in local public areas, and it is increasingly common to see EV chargers in shopping centres.
In 2018, Sylvia Wilson was able to drive 20,000km around Australia’s entire perimeter in her Tesla. Hundreds of chargers have been added since then. If you check out the charger map on our website, you can get an idea of coverage. And that coverage is only going to keep getting better as uptake increases and more charging stations are rolled out. Ultimately, you could charge an EV in a regular home power socket.
Expensive to buy
Price points will soon match!
The upfront costs of EVs are currently more expensive than conventional vehicles, however powering your EV is much cheaper – about 70 per cent cheaper per kilometre in fact. That means the average EV driver saves $1,600 on fuel costs each year. There are also lots of new mid-range EVs available in Australia this year. These include the MG ZS EV ($43,990), Hyundai Ioniq ($48,970), and Nissan Leaf ($49,990).
EVs are only going to become more affordable with time. According to Bloomberg, falling battery prices mean that the total ownership costs of EVs is already the same as conventional vehicles and that upfront costs will be cheaper by 2025. As competition, investment, and innovation increase, the costs of EVs will continue to fall while conventional vehicle prices stay the same.
Expensive to run
Fuel is getting more expensive!
EVs have lower running costs than internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). Fewer moving parts mean that EVs require less maintenance. With an EV you don’t need to replace filters and spark plugs, change oil, or repair the transmission, head gasket or engine. In 2018, maintenance and servicing savings of an EV were estimated at $300-400AUD/year.
Contrary to a popular myth EV batteries last as long as the lifetime of your car. Battery costs are continually falling. With current forecasts: today a 40 kilowatt (kW) battery (for example like that in a Nissan Leaf) would cost around $USD 8,000 to replace, but in 2030, the same battery is expected to cost $USD 2,800. Most vehicle manufacturers offer a 10-year or 160,000km warranty on batteries.
Another massive saving from EV ownership is fuel. Battery EVs don’t need any petrol or diesel and are charged with electricity. The average Australian drives 15,000km and spends around $2,160 on petrol per year ($0.14/km). An EV traveling 15,000km would cost around $600 per year ($0.04/km) in electricity costs.
If an EV user has a solar panel, charging is free!
EVs are inferior performers
Tesla’s new model can go from 0km to 100km in 1.1 seconds!
Unlike conventional vehicles, EVs deliver full torque instantly, meaning they can accelerate much faster than equivalent combustion engine vehicles.
EVs also often have their batteries placed along the bottom of the vehicle, lowering the centre of gravity and providing better handling and cornering.
EVs are a passing fad
They are actually the future of the automotive industry!
Around the world, the EV industry is booming. In 2015, one million EVs were sold worldwide. In August 2018, four million EVs had been sold, with one million of these purchased in the previous six months alone.
In Norway, 50 per cent of all new cars sold in 2018 were EVs. In the same year, EVs accounted for five per cent of all new cars sold in China and seven per cent of all new cars sold in California. In the US, EV sales surged by 81 per cent between 2017 and 2018. Uptake in Europe is expected to increase sharply in the coming years due to the EU’s combined EV target which is equivalent to around eight to nine million EVs on the road by 2020.
Australia is lagging because of a lack of EV policy leadership from governments, but 2017 sales were still 67 per cent higher than 2016. As more and more lower cost EV models come on the market and hundreds of new chargers are built across the country, EV sales will likely continue to grow.
Just as bad for the environment
They have a lower impact in many ways!
Battery EVs have zero exhaust emissions, so that alone makes them better for the environment than an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV). Research shows that even if an EV is charged by coal-fired electricity, it still generates lower net emissions that ICEVs. As grids become cleaner, EVs become cleaner too. It is an unavoidable truth that the only way for Australian states to reach their net zero emission targets is with electric vehicles.
Additionally, EV batteries can be used well after their EV end-of-life. Once a battery reaches 70 per cent capacity, it is no longer fit for use in a vehicle. However, vehicle manufacturers and private companies are leading the charge in battery recycling and repurposing, ensuring that zero emissions vehicles really have a low impact on the environment.
Batteries are dangerous and costly
Driving a vehicle with a battery is no more dangerous than driving a traditional Internal Combustion Engine vehicle (ICEV).
In fact, evidence suggests that lithium-ion batteries used in EVs are in fact as safe or even safer than conventional fuel. There are numerous studies that show that fires in EVs are no more likely or even less likely to occur than fires in ICEVs.
In Australia, Fire and Rescue organisations do not treat EVs as any more dangerous than ICEVs.
EVs will cause blackouts
New EVs can actually help meet peak demand
New EV models are now enabling battery discharging, which means that during times of peak demand EVs can put electricity back into the household or grid. This would actually reduce the chance of blackouts by flattening peak demand. The Electric Vehicle Council is already working with grid operators and energy companies to avoid the potential pitfalls of increasing electricity demand and instead harness the benefits of this new technology.
Types of EV chargers
Level 1 / Mode 2
Existing power point (10-15 Amp, single phase), used in combination with a specialised cable which is typically supplied with the vehicle.Typically used in standalone domestic homes.
This method will add between 10 and 20km of range per hour plugged in.
It will top up daily use, but will not fully recharge a typical pure electric vehicle overnight.
Level 2 / Mode 3
A dedicated AC EV charger at up to 22kW (32 Amp, 3-phase).
Typically installed in homes, apartment complexes, workplaces, shopping centres, hotels, etc – anywhere the vehicle will be parked for a while.
This method will add 40 to 100km of range per hour of charging depending on the vehicle.
It will top up average daily vehicle use in an hour, or deliver a full recharge overnight.
Level 3 / Mode 4
A dedicated DC EV charger at power levels from 25kW to 350kW (40 – 500 Amp, three phase)
Typically used in commercial premises and road-side locations to provide for faster recharging than Level 1 and 2 can achieve.
At the lower end, this method will add up to 150km of range per hour plugged in
At the upper end, this method can fully recharge some electric vehicles in 10 to 15 minutes.
Bryce Gaton, is an EV writer and consultant who has been working in the EV sector for over 12 years. Amongst the many EV hats he wears, Bryce writes for the Australian EV website, The Driven, and works for the University of Melbourne as the EV safety trainer and supervisor for their Formula SAE race team. He was keynote speaker at the Yarra Valley Community Power Hub’s EV event that was held in February. These are his slides and are for personal reference only. For further information on these slides please contact us.