Pros and Cons of Owning an Electric Car

Pros and Cons of Owning an Electric Car

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Up 1,270% in two years: The Tesla share price from February, 2019 ($63.50 USD) to February 2021 ($854 USD) reflects the massive popularity of electric cars.

But can EVs really do no evil? We go over some pros and cons of owning an electric car.

Interesting Insights:

  • EVs brag cheap running costs, but they still have a high price
  • Some Australian states are offering incentives for electric car owners
  • Electric cars are so quiet that they employ a noise emitter at low speeds
  • EV charging times still can’t complete with a stop at the petrol station
  • Electric cars require less servicing than ICE cars
  • EV range is making huge improvements if you have access to power outlets

PRO: You get to laugh at petrol prices.

The standout benefit of owning an EV is the huge savings on petrol. The average fuel bill per week for a petrol car in Australia is around $68. That comes to over $3,500 per year or, $3,500 extra in an EV owner’s pockets.

But it gets better. For some states at least - Victorians are eligible for a $100 discount on registration fees for hybrids and EVs. Canberrans have an even sweeter deal.

Residents in the ACT will soon be able to access 0%-interest loans up to $15,000 to assist with the upfront costs of investing in zero-emission vehicles and free vehicle registration for new zero-emission vehicles for two years.

CON: Despite the low running costs, they aren’t cheap.

EVs, especially Teslas, are big dollars. Expect to part ways with around $70,000 for a new base model Tesla Model 3. A 2020 Toyota Camry, which is similar in size, starts at less than half that.

Suddenly, those fuel savings don’t seem so good.

Of course, there are cheaper options like hybrids. Toyota’s hybrid line up, such as the Camry, Prius and Corolla offer late-model used vehicles for around $20-25,000.

Luckily, there are plenty of new and exciting cars due for release soon so stay tuned.

Tesla Model 3

(Tesla Model 3)

PRO: They are a quieter option.

Did you know that electric cars are so quiet that they can pose a risk for pedestrians who might not hear them? To remedy this, EVs are required to have a noise emitter which alerts people nearby of their presence. This is known as an ‘acoustic vehicle alert system’ which sounds similar to a traditional engine.

According to EU regulations: An electric car's acoustic vehicle alert system (AVAS) must sound when reversing or travelling below 12mph (19km/h).

Electric Cars

(Electric cars: Quiet, too quiet)

Why is this a pro? When travelling at higher speeds, EVs offer a much quieter ride than their internal combustion engine counterparts. Great for daily commutes.

CON: Charging times

Those 3-minute stops at the petrol station aren’t something EVs can brag about. Although charge times are coming down, electric cars still need considerable time to recharge. With new technology and self-driving ability becoming more of a reality, EVs might soon be able to plan charging ahead of time.

On a household power outlet, you can be waiting for well over a day for some EVs to fully charge.

Popular EV charge times:

Vehicle

Battery Capacity

Single-phase

Three-phase

BMW i3s

42.2kWh

12h 15m

4h 15m

Renault Zoe

41kWh

21 hours

4h 30m

Nissan Leaf

40kWh

19h 30m

N/A

Jaguar I-Pace

90kWh

43h 30m

N/A

Tesla Model S

100kWh

48h 30m

10h 15m

Single-phase power = 230 - 240 volts. The standard household power outlet that we all know (fridges, microwaves, TVs all run off single-phase).

Three-phase power = 400 volts. For industrial and commercial use. Three-phase is much more powerful than single-phase and considered more consistent (welding equipment, industrial air conditioning, factory machinery use three-phase). Some EV owners install a three-phase outlet in their homes for faster charging.

PRO: Less moving parts, less maintenance

Electric cars have far fewer moving parts than conventional engines. Here’s a quick tally:

  • Average electric motor: 20 moving parts
  • Average internal combustion engine (ICE): 2,000 moving parts

It’s easy to see why EVs require less maintenance. No oil, no radiators, no cylinders.

Most electric vehicles need a service once a year and service can cost between $500 - $1000 depending on the age and condition of the vehicle.

CON: Range

If you're a fan of long-distance driving and road trips, EVs might not offer the freedom petrol cars can.

Some areas of Australia are remote, very, very remote. The most remote community in Australia is The Kiwirrkurra Community in WA - 700 km west of Alice Springs and isn’t EV territory.

Remote Roads in Australia

(Not EV friendly: Remote roads in Australia)

Charging stations or accommodation with sufficient power outlets can be few and far between. Most electric cars have around 450km / full charge.

Vehicle (2020 model):

Approx Range:

Nissan Leaf

270km

BMW i3

285 - 310 km

Hyundai Ioniq electric

311 km

Audi e-tron

436 km

Jaguar I-Pace

470 km

Tesla Model X

487 - 507km

Tesla Model 3

460 - 560km


Did you know? Australia averages 3.3 people / square kilometre - the 230th most densely populated country.

New Zealand: 18.31 people / km2

USA: 36.19 people / km2

China: 153.3 people / km2

Monaco, the world’s most densely populated country, 26,337 people / km2.

Electric Cars

We’ve covered the pros and cons of electric cars for the owner, but the biggest pro is the fact that despite their battery construction, EVs have the ability to reduce carbon emissions.

EVs offer fantastic options for some motorists. Depending on your lifestyle and typical driving location, a new EV might be a great improvement to your transport needs.

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