There’s no denying it, petrol cars as we know them are going to be taking a backseat as we transition to an electric vehicle future. As we reach this tipping point, it’s time to bust some of the common myths that come with EV ownership.
Written by Chau Le
With the increasing speed of tech change and innovation, sometimes it can be hard to keep up with latest facts and information. For example, when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), several past facts have now become falsehoods as technology’s moved on. And, some were never even facts to begin with.
Origin’s latest Future Energy Report, told us that 11% of respondents would be likely, or very likely, to buy an EV if they were to buy a car tomorrow.
So, before you make a purchase decision, let’s take a look at the five biggest myths around electric vehicles and get myth-busting.
1. There isn’t enough charging infrastructure
42% of respondents named this as a barrier to owning an EV
Based on the participants in our own EV smart charging trial, we expect 80% of charging to be done at the home or workplace, which is convenient (and means no more having to wait to fill up your car at the petrol station).
As more people start adopting EVs, there will be a need for more public charging infrastructure in high density inner city areas where many residents don’t have access to offstreet parking.
However, if you’re away from home and travelling long distances, the public charging network in Australia is actually very well built out, and improving by the day. From Adelaide up to North Queensland, there’s good charging infrastructure and you can see, via a smartphone app or your car’s digital screen, which are available and where they’re located.
2. The driving range of EVs is unacceptable in Australia
39% of respondents named this as a barrier to owning an EV
EVs available in Australia can travel 300 to 650 kilometres per charge – not many people drive that far in a day.
For long trips, perhaps an annual holiday, there’s a public charging network where cars can fill from 0% in 20 to 60 minutes. More likely, you’d be filling up from around 30% and require less charging time. With some careful planning on route travelling long distances is definitely possible.
3. The cost of maintenance is too expensive
37% of respondents named this as a barrier to owning an EV
It’s undeniable that the purchase price of EVs today is more than the equivalent petrol-powered vehicle to buy. As the sector matures, these costs will fall.
Many also believe ongoing ownership costs are high. However, once you’ve purchased an EV, running costs are 70% lower than a petrol car.
Ongoing costs include maintenance and fuel. A tank per week in a 60-litre petrol car will cost over $350 per month. The equivalent amount of driving in an EV will cost around $70 per month if you’re paying top dollar at external chargers. More likely, when charging at home, you’ll experience fuel costs of less than $30 per month.
Then there are servicing charges, which are significant in a petrol car. But as there are so few moving parts in an EV, services are quicker and less expensive. Air filters, tyre and brake wear, etc, still need to be checked, but most of the messy and expensive work – oils, spark plugs, bearings, gaskets and so much more – is no longer required.
4. Charging is too expensive
28% of respondents named this as a barrier to owning an EV
Many public chargers are free, and those that require payment cost significantly less than petrol. A Nissan Leaf, for example, costs about $16 to fill from 0 per cent.
As most car journeys are short – according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the average Australian passenger car travels around 33 kilometres per day – charging time and cost to top up each day at home is negligible.
If you’re set up with solar and charge during the day at home or work, charging is potentially free.
5. The weight of the battery negatively affects performance
Anybody who’s driven an EV will tell you that the instant-on power makes the driving experience about as much fun as it can be. For the EV in our Melbourne office, we have to keep a spreadsheet of employees who want to take it out for a drive. It’s booked out for the next four months!
There’s no single vehicle to suit all purposes. However, when the time comes to begin researching a new purchase, it’s important to be armed with the best info. Five years ago, EVs might have suited a very small fraction of the population, but today that percentage has dramatically increased – so much so that for many buyers an EV is now the perfect option.