What’s the real cost of an EV?

When it comes to purchasing a new car, it’s important to not only consider the purchase price but the running costs too. When you take into account fuel, servicing and other running costs – EVs are a pretty compelling option.

When considering an electric vehicle (EV), many find it difficult to get past the sticker shock from the higher up-front cost compared to an equivalent petrol car.

The Future Energy Report told us that just 11% of Australians would be extremely or very likely to buy an EV if they were to buy a car tomorrow, a figure that was far higher among 18-34-year-olds (19%) than it was among over-55s (4%). More than half (55%) said they’d be most motivated to purchase an EV to save money on fuel. But 72% said the main barrier to purchase was price.

Of course, EVs and petrol cars aren’t equal. EVs provide a superior driving experience with immediate power, silent travel and typically more modern (even futuristic) features. Outside the driving experience, however, there’s one other major difference between internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and EVs. The wildly different post-purchase running costs make petrol cars look a lot pricier.

Running costs up to 70% lower

Once you’ve spent the money on the purchase of the car, the running costs for EVs, according to various pieces of research, can be 70% lower than petrol cars.

That includes maintenance as well as fuel costs, which of course means electricity for charging the EV’s battery.

An Australian Government report said “once a motorist has purchased a vehicle, the on-going operation and maintenance costs of an EV are significantly less than that of an ICE vehicle. The Tesla Owners Club of Australia noted that an EV has ‘around 20 moving parts’ as opposed to closer to 2000 in an ICE vehicle.”

A study quoted in the same report noted that, over a decade, the total cost of ownership of an EV would be $11,000 less by 2025 as battery prices fall, offering a projected saving of $1,700 every year by 2030.

Tune into episode two of our So Watt? podcast as we delve into all things EVs

What are the fuel costs?

Of course, cost of electricity depends on where, how, and when you charge – as well as what you’re paying for electricity. For those with solar panels, if the car’s kept at home and charged during the day, excess solar generation during daylight hours can be used to power your car. Eliminating the need to purchase the energy from the grid.

Without solar, we’ve calculated that electricity to run an EV would cost roughly $45 per month (on average). Charging at a public station would cost about the same. Compare this to the budget required for petrol for an average car, a cost of roughly $180 per month, and the savings quickly add up.

Smart savings with Evs

We’re currently looking into how we can make EVs even ‘smarter’ by running a smart charging trial. In the trial, participants allow us to control how and when their vehicles are being charged. We turn it down during periods when prices in the wholesale market are higher, which reduces costs and eases pressure on the distribution network.

That’s not even feeding the energy from the battery back into the grid but simply turning down the charging when needed.

As bi-directional charging technology progresses, we’ll begin to discover the holy grail of EVs. In the future, EVs will literally be batteries on wheels, so they could be charged during the day when there’s an abundance of solar and then, in the evening, used to power your house. You could even be paid to feed electricity back into the grid.

That’s energy smart.


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