Electric vehicles or EVs have long been in the periphery of the automotive market but a combination of maturing technology and the arrival of the likes of Tesla, has meant that EVs are now at the forefront of both consumers and car makers minds – especially with a plethora of electric car advantages.
Several major automotive brands have announced their plans to go all electric while a number of countries in Europe as well as various American states are working towards abolishing the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles from as early as 2030. Meanwhile, annual surveys conducted by the Electric Vehicle Council show more than 50 percent of Australians want to buy electric vehicles.
But despite being more environmentally friendly and providing substantial savings to your hip pocket by dodging the bowser, there are common misconceptions floating around that are often doled out by detractors.
With World EV Day happening this September, it’s the perfect time to separate fact from fiction and #DriveChange by switching to an EV with carbar.
Myth one: Driving range is limited
Current EVs have an average battery range of 480km which for context is equivalent to a full tank of fuel (60 litres) on a regular midsize sedan, making it more than enough range to meet the average Australians driving needs.
Newer models are hitting almost 550km on a single charge and will eventually surpass the most efficient diesel engines as battery technology advances.
Myth two: Lack of charging stations
The majority of drivers charge their EV at home but that doesn’t mean you can’t count on public charging stations when on the road. States across the country are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to put more charging infrastructure on roads while private companies have been building networks along highways.
The Electric Vehicle Council maintains a map that will give you a good idea of the amount of coverage available across the country including within regional areas and coverage will only keep getting better as uptake increases.
Various navigation software such as Google Maps also allow you to plan your route with charging stations in mind so you’ll never be left high and dry the next time you embark on a long road trip.
Myth three: EV batteries only last a few years
While the batteries inside electric vehicles degrade over time, they do so at a much slower rate than your smartphone or laptop battery. This is because EV batteries are much smarter about how much capacity they use and charge in a more efficient fashion, only replenishing the depleted cells and distributing the load across many thousands of cells that make up the entire battery.
This is why the majority of manufacturers offer a battery warranty of eight years with a minimum of 70 percent retention of battery capacity over the warranty period. In short, an EV that’s a few years old will have almost the range it had when new and most EVs will still be going strong decades from now.
Myth four: Limited choice of EV vehicles
Due to the absence of national incentives and mandated Co2 reduction targets, the range of electric vehicles available in Australia is considerably smaller than other parts of the world but that doesn’t mean we’re short of options. According to the Electric Vehicle Council, there are 33 electric vehicle models available in Australia compared to more than 130 electric vehicles to choose from in the UK.
However, it’s important to remember that there are different types of electric vehicles such as plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel cell vehicles that expand the EV range further.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) can run for short distances on electricity alone but have a petrol engine used either for better performance or charging the batteries, much like an onboard generator. Fuel cell vehicles have a hydrogen fuel tank and perform a chemical reaction in the fuel cell to create electricity, which then powers the electric motor.
The number of electric vehicles are growing every year so it’s only a matter of time before they start making their way to Australia.
Myth five: Expensive to buy
The cost of batteries means that electric cars are more expensive than equivalent petrol-powered cars but that doesn’t mean EVs aren’t getting cheaper. The cheapest electric vehicle in Europe, for example, starts at just €12,000 (AU $18,500) while in Australia the cost of entry starts at $40,990 with the MG ZS.
The race is on to get EVs as cheap as possible and battery prices are falling with each passing year. Petrol vehicle prices will soon start to go up as well to reflect the costs involved in meeting stricter emissions regulations meaning that EVs could one day be cheaper than the petrol equivalent model.
There are various government incentives to consider as well such as those recently announced by the New South Wales and Victorian governments that drive down the purchase price even further.
While the upfront purchase price might currently be higher than their petrol-fueled counterparts, you have to factor in the lower running costs into the equation. Battery powered EVs run only on electricity instead of petrol or diesel which means a saving of more than $2,000 on petrol per year for the average Australian who drives 15,000km. If an EV user has a solar panel installed at home, charging is free.
Also electric motors don’t usually require regular maintenance like a conventional combustion engine vehicle so there’s no need to replace filters and spark plugs, change oil or repair the transmission, head gasket or engine. There’s also the reduced need for brake pads and discs because of regenerative braking.
Of course, you can always take the sting out of the upfront cost of an EV by subscribing to one instead through services like carbar.