Read current information on common electric vehicle myths.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are electric vehicles expensive?
Electric vehicles are currently more expensive to purchase than petrol or diesel cars, however prices are becoming more competitive with improving consumer choice, technological advances, production scalability, and in some states, rebates and government incentives.
This is good news when we consider that the running costs of an electric vehicle are significantly lower, saving the average Australian driver up to $2,000 a year, a figure further improved when recharging vehicles from home solar systems. Electric vehicles also contain around one third the moving parts of a petrol or diesel car, meaning significantly reduced scheduled servicing costs.
These factors may in fact contribute to a lower total cost of ownership over the vehicle’s lifetime. As such it is important to consider all associated costs throughout the duration of ownership when considering your next car.
The Electric Vehicle Council’s cost calculator tool, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, provides an understanding of comparative costs of owning an EV in Australia.
Are EVs actually better for the environment if they are supplied (recharged) with grid-sourced electricity instead of solar?
Yes. Research shows that even when recharged by the coal-dominated Australian energy grid, EVs produce lower net emissions to run than equivalent internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. As the energy grid continues to become ‘cleaner’ over time with increasing penetration of renewables, EVs will also become cleaner. It is an unavoidable truth that the only way for Australian states to reach their net zero emission targets is with zero emission vehicles.
Additionally, EV batteries can be used well after their EV end-of-life. Once a battery reaches 70 per cent capacity it is no longer fit for use in a vehicle, however can be recycled or repurposed as stationary storage to help further reduce impact to the environment. Toyota, for example, offer a credit toward the price of a new battery for any used EV batteries that are returned for recycling. BMW also has plans to re-purpose old EV batteries for mass power storage or recycling.
Typically, lifecycle emissions of EV’s in Australia, which consider emissions associated with production and manufacturing as well as on-road operation, are around 30-50% less than a comparative ICE vehicles.
Are electric vehicle batteries reliable?
This is a commonly perceived problem with electric vehicles. Most car manufacturers now guarantee 8 years/160,000km by way of battery warranty. Estimates suggest typical battery life is generally between 10 and 20 years which compares favourably with the lifespan of a traditional car. Just like vehicle parts in a normal car, these batteries can also be replaced at end of life. It’s also worth noting that as technological advancements continue to be made, the reliability (and range) of batteries will only increase.
From a safety perspective, evidence suggests that the lithium-ion batteries used in EVs are in fact as safe or even safer than conventional fuel and combustion engines. There are numerous studies that show that fires in EVs are no more likely to occur than fires in traditional cars. In Australia, Fire and Rescue organisations do not treat EVs any differently.
What sort of range can my EV deliver?
The typical range of a battery EV is around 300-450km, more than enough to satisfy the average Australian motorist’s daily drive of 35-70km. This range is comparable to the average range of a petrol car (approximately 400-600km) and is projected to further improve with technological advances.
Are all ‘hybrid’ vehicles considered to be electric vehicles?
No, it’s important to understand the difference between a plug-in hybrid and a traditional hybrid vehicle. These typically employ both fuel combustion and battery electric motors that work together. Traditional hybrid cars cannot be charged directly from an external electricity source such as a charging station or power point. Their electric motor is instead generally charged by kinetic energy produced through internal combustion, meaning the electric range and output of these cars is limited.
By comparison, plug-in hybrid vehicles function as pure electric vehicles, which only revert to internal combustion propulsion when the charge is empty. Effectively, fossil fuel combustion functions as a backup option only, and acts independently of the electric power output. These cars can facilitate many of the same environmental benefits associated with EV driving.