What happens when you compare petrol cars to their electric alternatives?
Looking at the four biggest factors that make up the driving and car ownership experience, here’s what our local energy advisers found.
The vehicle cost.
Let’s start with the car itself. Historically, electric vehicles (EVs) have been more expensive than their petrol alternatives. Just like the first DVD players (way back in 1996), prices were high due to a smaller market and significant research and development costs for manufacturers.
Thanks to an important piece of the electric car puzzle, the lithium-ion battery, this has shifted dramatically in the past five years. If it sounds familiar, it’s because this is the same kind of battery as in your phone, laptop and soon, your car (just much bigger). The cost of lithium-ion batteries has reduced 89% in just the past decade*. This, paired with the growing popularity of EVs, the increased competition among manufacturers and further technology innovations, means that electric cars may reach price parity with petrol cars by 2025^. So, petrol cars may have this one for now, but not for long.
The ‘fuel’ cost.
‘Fuel’ costs (power) for your electric car will vary depending on how you choose to charge. For most electric car drivers, most of your charging is done at home (with a few top ups at public charging stations if you need it). If you have a solar system installed at home, or better yet, a solar and a home battery system, you could be fuelling up for free.
If comparing two drivers in Australia, both driving 15,000km per year (one in a petrol car, one in an electric car):
- The petrol car’s fuel costs = 14c per kilometre^ or $2160 per year.
- The electric car’s power costs = 4c per kilometre^ or $600 per year.
The road trip.
‘Range’ refers to the distance your car can travel before needing to fuel up again. Most Aussies drive an average of 38km per day^—a distance that both petrol and electric vehicles could travel for about 10 days before recharging or refuelling. The only difference is, for most EV drivers, you’re charging your car every night at home—so range is only important for longer trips.
The average EV’s range is around 480km (or up to 550km in some newer models)^. For trips to capital region favourites, like the snow, the bay or Sydney, that means that you could almost travel there and back with a single charge.
- Canberra to Sydney = 285km
- Canberra to the Snowy Mountains = 211km
- Canberra to Batemans Bay = 148km
So, what is it actually like driving an electric vehicle? Golf buggy? No. Technology on wheels? Maybe. Smooth? Definitely.
Without a traditional engine, they’re quiet and exhaust-free, there’s no need for gear changes and you’ll never have oil marks on your garage floor. With lower fuel and maintenance costs (no engine to upkeep), plus the environmental benefits of zero carbon emissions while driving, it’s easy to see why these electric powerhouses are changing our energy and transport landscape at a rapid pace.
How many EV chargers are in your local area? There might be more than you think.
Install an EV charger right there, right where you need at.
Do you own your own solar and battery system at home? You may be eligible for the ActewAGL Virtual Power Plant program.