There was a time when electric cars were just highlights of motor shows. Now, we’re starting to be accustomed to their presence on Australian roads.
The question for many Aussies today is whether it’s finally time to invest in an electric car or should they wait it out until it becomes inevitable.
What is an electric car?
An electric car or electric vehicle (EV) runs on an electric motor, which is usually powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion traction battery pack. The capacity of the traction battery will determine the maximum distance that an electric car can travel. In Australia, EVs have a 200km to 500km range. The larger battery pack an electric car has, the longer distance it can travel.
Electric cars can either be pure electric, powered solely by electricity; or a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), which combines the use of an internal combustion engine with the electric motor.
How does it work?
An auxiliary battery starts the propulsion process of an electric car by supplying electricity to initially drive the electric motor, which in turn, propels the electric transmission to transfer mechanical power to the wheels and make the car run.
Once the car is in motion the traction battery pack will feed electricity to the motor. The power of the electric motor is measured in kilowatts (kW) and determines the maximum speed and performance of the electric car.
As for HEVs, the combustion engine is used to start the car while the electric motor is for increasing and maintaining acceleration.
How do you recharge the battery?
Once it runs out of charge, the traction battery can be recharged by plugging it into external electricity supply, either a wall outlet or public charging station, using an on-board charger.
However, a hybrid car can also recharge its battery on its own through regenerative braking, which converts kinetic energy to electricity when the car stops or slows down. Some hybrids also have plug-in charging capability.
The type of charger determines how fast the traction battery will be fully charged. Currently, there are 783 public charging stations around Australia, supporting the 2,300 plug-in electric cars running on the roads.
Why buy an electric car?
Electric cars are expensive, which is the primary concern of most car shoppers. One of the cheapest model available in the market right now is the Hyundai Ioniq ($44,990) with another great recommendation coming soon from Renault. But despite the high upfront cost, an electric car has many long-term benefits that include the following:
Huge fuel savings
One big reason to buy an electric car is the massive fuel savings. In Australia, petrol and diesel are expensive commodities that are constantly increasing in prices. Using electricity as fuel is a much cheaper choice and will lower your operation cost significantly in the long run, whether you are driving an all-electric vehicle or a hybrid one.
Going electric also means lower maintenance cost. Since electric cars use electricity as fuel, they require fewer servicing compared to petrol vehicles. The regenerative braking system also reduces the wearing on the brakes. In the case of pure electric cars, they also have fewer mechanical parts, which eliminates the requirement for oil changes.
Perhaps, the best reason to buy an electric car is to help preserve the environment. Around 18% of carbon emissions in Australia are brought by all combustion engine vehicles. You can help lessen this negative impact of transportation by driving an electric car, which produces zero emissions.
Aside from doing your part in our massive fight against global warming, owning an electric car will allow you to help preserve Australia’s finite resources. Most EV charging networks on the road, like Chargefox, use renewable energy to produce electricity. At home, you can use solar panels to recharge your car with electricity.
All of these will contribute greatly to protecting our environment.
Electric cars are the next big thing in the car industry and are packed with the coolest and most advanced automotive technologies, one of which is the autonomous driving tech available in all-new Tesla vehicles.
Performance-wise, electric cars can give smoother and quieter operations compared to internal combustion engines. They also have better responsiveness and can produce maximum torque over a wider range of RPM, which means extra-fast acceleration. This makes electric cars ideal for long-distance travel.
Lastly, most states in Australia give different incentives to new electric car owners. In ACT, purchases of new EVs are given stamp duty concessions, which can reduce the cost by more than $2,000.
With a much wider selection of models, and with the cost of battery and building materials becoming cheaper, the price range of electric cars will also go down and make them a little more affordable.
The electric charging networks around the country are steadily increasing as well. Soon, it will be just as convenient to travel in an electric car as in a petrol vehicle.
Financing for Electric Cars
Given this information, is it a good time to buy an electric car now? It depends on your financial profile and personal situation. If you’re driving long distances daily, then it’s best to invest in a good EV now to start getting all its benefits particularly, the large fuel savings.
If you buy an electric car today, you’ll also get access to a wide array of car loan products. Aussie Car Loans can help you find the best financing for a new electric vehicle. Call us today on 1300 889 669 or send an online enquiry and one of our finance experts will be happy to assist you.