Home Wheel Talk Making the switch: Your guide to owning an electric vehicle

Making the switch: Your guide to owning an electric vehicle

By carbar on the June 15, 2023

11 minutes

Rising petrol prices and growing awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions drive the increasing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia. The Australian Automobile...

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Rising petrol prices and growing awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions drive the increasing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia.

The Australian Automobile Association's EV index revealed that 7,866 medium-sized battery electric cars were bought in Australia from January to March 2023, or 58.3% of sales in the medium-sized category, overtaking petrol-driven vehicles for the first time on record.1

For people looking for more environmentally friendly options when it comes to transportation, EVs are the top choice.

What is an EV?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by electricity rather than liquid fuels. They have one or more electric motors that use electrical energy stored in batteries or other energy storage devices. Unlike traditional petrol or diesel vehicles that use an internal combustion engine, EVs use an electric motor and a battery pack for power.

Types of electric vehicles

EVs come in different types, including all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. All-electric vehicles (also known as battery-electric vehicles or BEVs) rely solely on electricity from a battery pack, while plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have an electric motor and a petrol engine that can work together or independently. There are also other types, such as fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) that use fuel instead of batteries to power their electric motors and non-plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) that use regenerative braking to recharge the batteries.

The technology behind EVs is continuously evolving, with improvements in battery technology leading to longer driving ranges and faster charging times. As a result, more and more automakers are introducing electric vehicles to their lineups, and the availability of public charging infrastructure is increasing, making EVs a viable option for more people.

Electric vehicle range

When purchasing an electric vehicle (EV), considering its range becomes important as it indicates the distance the vehicle can travel on a single charge. The range varies across different makes and models, with some EVs capable of traveling over 300 kilometres on a single charge, while others may have a range of approximately 100 kilometres. It's worth noting that the average driving distance for Australians is less than 30 kilometres per week. Fuel tank size and efficiency are significant factors to consider when buying internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Several factors can affect the range of an EV, including driving habits, weather conditions, and terrain2. For example, driving at high speeds, using air conditioning, and driving uphill can all reduce an EV's range. Similarly, cold weather can affect battery performance, reducing the range of an EV in extreme temperatures.Fortunately, EV technology advances have led to range improvements, with newer models offering longer ranges and faster charging times. The availability of charging infrastructure has also improved, making it easier for EV owners to find charging stations and keep their vehicles charged. 

Owning an electric vehicle

You want to make the switch to an electric vehicle, but what does owning an EV entail? Here are some things to keep in mind:

Firstly, charging an EV is different from refuelling a petrol vehicle. Instead of going to a gas station to fill a tank, EVs require recharging their batteries. Depending on the type of EV and the charging method used, charging times can range from a few minutes to several hours.

Secondly, additional upfront costs may be associated with owning an EV compared to a petrol vehicle. EVs tend to have a higher purchase price due to battery and electric motor technology costs. However, government incentives and rebates are often available to offset the higher cost.

Thirdly, maintaining an EV is different from maintaining a petrol vehicle. EVs have fewer moving parts than traditional petrol vehicles, so less maintenance is required over time. However, the battery will need to be replaced eventually, which can be expensive.

Finally, there are considerations about where and how you charge your EV. If you live in an apartment, you may need to use public charging stations or have a charging station installed in a common area. Meanwhile, some apartments already have electric vehicle charging stations connected to your unit’s metre. If you have a home with a garage, you may need to install a charging station to ensure convenient and efficient charging. This can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,5003 depending on the type of charging station, hardware and electrical installation fees.

Overall, owning an EV can be a different experience than owning a petrol vehicle, but it offers lower operating costs, a quieter and smoother driving experience, and reduced environmental impact.

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Government rebates and incentives for EV ownership

Electric vehicle ownership is becoming increasingly popular in Australia due to its numerous benefits, especially when it comes to reaching the country’s 2050 net-zero emissions target4. As such, the Australian government provides various tax incentives and rebates to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Here is an overview of the available incentives:

  1. Luxury Car Tax (LCT) Exemption: EVs priced up to $84,916 (fuel efficient) are exempted from the luxury car tax5. Meanwhile, other non-fuel efficient vehicles can only cost up to $71,849. The LCT is imposed on vehicles that surpass that threshold.
  2. Instant Asset Write-Off: Small businesses can claim an instant asset write-off for EVs with a purchase price of up to $150,000.
  3. Reduced Registration Fees: EV owners are eligible for reduced registration fees in some states, such as Queensland, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory.
  4. Fuel Excise Tax Exemption: Owners of pure electric vehicles (or other zero emission technology vehicles) that do not use any liquid fuel do not pay any federal fuel excise6.
  5. Electric Vehicles Charger Grants Scheme: In the Northern Territory, you can apply for funding to buy and install a charger at your residential property or business. You can get grants up to $1,000 for a residential property and $2,500 for a business. Other states and territories7 also have grants and rebates available.
  6. Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) Loans: The CEFC provides low-interest loans8 to businesses wanting to purchase or install EV charging infrastructure.

Future Fuels Fund: The Australian government has established a $74.5 million Future Fuels Fund9 to support the adoption of low-emission vehicles and infrastructure.

These incentives are subject to change, so staying current with the latest information, such as Australia's National Electric Vehicle Strategy, is important. 

Released in April 2023, this strategy is a nationally consistent framework designed to get Australia's road transport sector on a pathway to net zero emissions. It aims to increase the uptake of electric vehicles, reduce emissions, and improve affordability while creating jobs. The strategy provides a framework for future investment supporting the switch to EVs in Australia and sets outcomes to measure success.

Overall, the available incentives make owning an EV more affordable and accessible for Australians and encourage the transition to cleaner, more sustainable transportation.

Costs of owning an electric vehicle

Several costs associated with owning an electric vehicle (EV) should be considered when deciding whether to purchase or lease one. Here are some of the main costs to keep in mind:

Upfront costs

Like petrol vehicles, EVs vary in price points depending on the make, model and available features. Factors that affect EV prices include range, brand, production volume, charging infrastructure and the cost of battery technology, which can be the most expensive component of the car. However, government incentives and rebates are often available to help offset this higher cost.

Charging infrastructure

You may need to install a home charging station, which can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the type of charger and the installation requirements. Additionally, if you don't have access to charging at home, you may need to rely on public charging stations, which can also come with a cost.


EVs have fewer moving parts than traditional petrol vehicles but still require maintenance. For example, the brakes and tires will still need to be replaced periodically, and the battery will eventually need to be replaced, which can be expensive.


Depending on the make and model of your EV, you may find that insurance costs are higher than for a comparable petrol vehicle. This is because EVs are still relatively new and less common on the road, making them more expensive to insure.


As with any vehicle, an EV will depreciate over time. However, the depreciation rate for an EV may be different than for a petrol vehicle and can be affected by factors such as the availability of charging infrastructure and the development of newer, more advanced battery technology.

Costs breakdown: EV vs petrol cars

An EV can have several cost advantages over a traditional petrol car. One of the most significant differences is the fuel cost. While petrol prices vary greatly, electric vehicles have a more stable and generally lower cost of fuel, as electricity prices are more consistent and often lower than petrol prices.

In addition to fuel costs, EV maintenance costs can be lower than traditional petrol cars due to fewer moving parts. This can translate to lower costs over time and less time spent on maintenance.

Another factor to consider is the availability of government incentives and rebates for EV owners. Many governments offer incentives for purchasing an EV, such as tax credits or rebates, which can offset the higher upfront cost of purchasing an EV. Additionally, some governments offer reduced registration fees and toll road discounts for EV owners.

However, it's important to note that some additional costs may be associated with owning an EV. For example, the cost of installing a home charging station or using public charging stations can vary depending on location and pricing structures. Additionally, the cost of replacing an EV battery can be pricey, although this cost is expected to decrease over time as battery technology improves.

Charging your electric vehicle

Different types of electric chargers

There are several types of EV chargers available, each with different charging speeds and capabilities. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Level 1 Chargers: These are the slowest chargers, with a charging rate of around 5-8 kilometres of range per hour. Level 1 chargers are typically used for home charging and are plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet.
  • Level 2 Chargers: These chargers are faster than Level 1 chargers, with a charging rate of around 16-96 kilometres of range per hour, depending on the charger and the vehicle. Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt outlet and are commonly used for home charging and in public charging stations.
  • DC Fast Chargers: DC fast chargers are the fastest type of chargers available, capable of providing 96-129 kilometres of range in just 20-30 minutes. These chargers use a direct current (DC) power source and are typically found at public charging stations.

Portable Chargers: Portable chargers are small, lightweight chargers that can be used to charge an EV in an emergency. These chargers are typically slow and have a limited range, but they can be a useful backup option for EV owners.

How to find EV charging stations

There are several ways to find electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Australia:

  • PlugShare: PlugShare is a popular mobile app and website that provides information about EV charging stations worldwide, including in Australia. The app allows users to filter charging stations by location, charging speed, and availability and provides real-time information about the status of each station.
  • Chargefox: Chargefox is Australia's largest public EV charging network, with over 600 charging stations nationwide. Users can find Chargefox stations using the Chargefox app or website and pay for charging using a mobile app or RFID card.
  • Electric Vehicle Council: The Electric Vehicle Council is a not-for-profit organisation promoting EV use in Australia. Their website includes a map of charging stations across the country, which users can filter by location and charging speed.
  • Individual charging network providers: Some charging network providers, such as Tesla, have mobile apps and websites that allow users to find their charging stations. Tesla's Supercharger network, for example, has more than 40 locations across Australia.
  • Navigation systems in EVs: Many EVs have built-in navigation systems that can help drivers find charging stations along their routes.

By using these resources, EV drivers in Australia can easily find charging stations near them and plan their trips accordingly.

Why EVs are the future of transportation

Electric vehicles (EVs) offer a range of benefits compared to traditional petrol cars. Firstly, EVs are much cheaper to fuel as electricity is generally cheaper than petrol or diesel. Driving an EV is about half the cost of driving a petrol car. Additionally, EVs produce no tailpipe emissions, which reduces air pollution and improves air quality, particularly in urban areas where air pollution is often a significant health concern. Furthermore, EVs have fewer moving parts than petrol cars, which means they require less maintenance and are less likely to experience mechanical problems, resulting in lower maintenance costs. EVs also provide a quieter driving experience because they do not have a traditional engine that produces noise.

Moreover, many countries and states offer tax incentives and rebates to encourage the purchase of EVs. These incentives help offset the higher initial cost of EVs, making them more affordable for consumers. Additionally, EVs offer a smoother, more responsive driving experience than traditional petrol cars, thanks to their instant torque and acceleration. They also provide a more connected driving experience, with advanced features such as regenerative braking and smartphone integration.

In summary, owning an EV offers several benefits, including cost savings, improved environmental impact, and a more enjoyable driving experience.

Considering the switch to an EV? Here's what you need to know

Electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly becoming an attractive alternative to traditional petrol cars, with many people recognising their numerous benefits. EVs are increasingly becoming a viable and practical option for many drivers, from reduced fuel and lower maintenance costs to improved environmental impact and a more enjoyable driving experience.

As the EV market grows and develops, we will likely see even more benefits and advancements in this area. Governments, car manufacturers, and other organisations are investing heavily in EV technology, meaning consumers can expect to see more models with longer ranges, faster charging times, and other advanced features in the coming years.

Overall, owning an EV can be a smart and sustainable choice for those looking for a reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way to get around. With the right information and resources, anyone can decide whether an EV is the right choice for them.

Try before you buy with carbar's subscription service

If you're still on the fence about permanently switching to an EV, we have the solution.

Carbar offers a range of flexible and affordable subscription options. With no long-term commitments and a range of different makes and models, carbar makes it easy and convenient to try out an EV and experience the many benefits of electric driving.

To subscribe to an EV from carbar, just sign up and browse our EV selection. Once you have found the right vehicle, you can subscribe online and have it delivered to your doorstep. Plus, with our all-inclusive pricing, you won't have to worry about unexpected costs like registration, insurance, or maintenance.So, why wait? Take the first step towards electric driving today and subscribe to an EV from carbar.

1 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/apr/20/electric-vehicle-sales-australia-overtake-petrol-cars-medium-category
2  https://www.evconnect.com/blog/what-impacts-electric-car-range
3 https://evse.com.au/blog/evchargercost/
4 https://www.iea.org/policies/14379-net-zero-2050-australias-long-term-emissions-reduction-plan
5 https://www.ato.gov.au/rates/luxury-car-tax-rate-and-thresholds/
6 https://www.aaa.asn.au/fuel-excise-explained
7 https://evse.com.au/ev-charging-incentives
8 https://www.cefc.com.au/media/media-release/cefc-finance-drives-down-green-car-loan-cost-to-accelerate-australia-s-ev-uptake/
9 https://3egroup.com.au/news-insights/arena-funding-future-fuels-program

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