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Electric Vehicles | What You Need to Know About Switching to an Electric Car

Mar 29, 2022 4:46:26 PM

With a global drive to phase out gas cars, more and more people are considering electric vehicles. In 2021, Australia only recorded 1.95% of electric car sales. In comparison, Germany’s electric cars contributed to 13.5% of their total sales in 2020—a figure that shot up dramatically to almost 20% in 2021. So why are we so far behind the rest of the world?

What Is an Electric Car?

switching to an electric car

Much of the hesitation comes from a lack of understanding of what an electric car, or EV, really is. Many of us think of the early models that struggled to make it ten minutes down the road before running out of power. But they have come a long way in recent years.

Traditionally, cars use fossil fuels—petrol or diesel—to run. Gas-powered vehicles use an internal combustion engine.

An electric car is an electric vehicle solely powered by electric motors. They are quieter than their gas-powered counterparts, emit no exhaust, and lower emissions overall. Electric cars are the answer in the quest to make the planet green. You can even get electric-powered caravans!

How Does It Work?

Put simply, electric cars plug into a charging point and take electricity from the grid. They store the electricity in rechargeable batteries that power the motor. Just as you recharge your phone or laptop, EVs need recharging. The motor makes the wheels turn and accelerate more quickly.

You don’t have to plug in at a gas station charging point. You can easily plug your car in at home, essentially negating any running costs.

While electric rechargeable batteries are heavier than anything you’ll find in a standard car, EVs feel lighter to drive.

Is It Cheaper to Maintain an EV?

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While upfront costs of an EV might be higher than you would pay for a regular car, you’ll make your money back in the long term. Just as with gas-powered vehicles, the cost to maintain varies depending on the make and model. However, unlike gas-powered cars, EV running costs are less likely to break the bank.

Firstly, electricity costs far less than petrol or diesel. This is a particular concern at the moment with rising gas prices globally. It would cost you somewhere between $10 - $50 to fully charge your EV (as with regular cars, the larger the vehicle, the more expensive each recharge). In comparison, diesel and petrol cost about $1.80. Filling a 50-litre tank would cost $90—and this is a small tank.

Moreover, you can charge your EV at home. If you’re only making short journeys around town, there’s no reason you’ll ever need to pay full price for electricity at a charging point.

Secondly, EV batteries and internal components require far less maintenance than a standard car’s combustion engine. If you want to cut down on a few costly trips to the garage, buying an EV is worth it.

Pros and Cons

electric-car-finance-info

On the whole, EVs come out on top. While gas-powered cars might be convenient in the short term, an EV will last you many more years and save you thousands of dollars. Plus, as EVs grow in popularity, models will improve. Technology is continuously improving. Even ten years ago, we couldn’t have imagined the current top of the range EVs, such as the Tesla Model 3.


Where Can I Charge My EV? And How Much Does it Cost?

One of the biggest concerns many Australians have is about where you can charge your EV. The stereotype is that an electric car will run out of power too quickly to be of any use. While it’s true that the average EV needs charging more often than normal cars need refilling with gas, it’s not as bad as many people think.

The key is to plug it in at home and work. If you mainly use your car for commuting or driving around town, overnight charges should be plenty. Remember that charging an EV could take half an hour or more, so always try to do it before travelling. Moreover, many supermarkets have EV charging points—topping up your EV while in the shop is an excellent time-saver.

However, if you’re on a long journey and need to fill up, there are many charging points in gas stations, parking lots, and shops. The average charging station will cost $0.20 - $0.25 per kWh. Plus, various apps and websites locate all your nearby charging points, with up to date comments from other drivers about whether or not they are working.

Types of EV

There are currently four main types of electric vehicles:

  •  Battery electric vehicles (BEVs): fully electric cars, using batteries, also known as ‘plugins’.
  • Plugin hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs): plugins that also use fuel
  • Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs): use a fuel cell rather than a battery, typically run on hydrogen
  • Non-plug-in hybrid EVs (HEVs): a gas-powered car that uses the breaking to recharge the batteries

As with regular cars, there are many models and manufacturers to choose from.

Pricing

You could spend anywhere from $40,000 to over $200,000 for an electric car in Australia. The reason EVs are more expensive is because manufacturers had to spend a fortune researching the technology. In the early days, they were costly to make. As with anything new, prices are higher. Therefore, the industry wants a return on its investment sooner rather than later.

As more and more customers switch to electric cars, the demand will drive the price down. However, they’re still comparatively much more expensive than gas-powered vehicles at the moment.

The cheapest EV available in Australia is the MG Motor MG ZS EV, with prices starting from $46,990. The gas-powered alternative is $22,490. At double the price, the EV cost might put you off.

However, with a car finance broker on your side, you can find an affordable plan to purchase your EV without making mistakes on your car loan.

Additionally, as capable electric cars have been around for around 20 years now, plenty of used vehicles are available for a fraction of the cost.

Finance for Electric Cars

Purchasing an EV doesn’t have to break the bank and with many lenders now offering discounted rates for both new and used green car loans an electric vehicle could be a great option. As an example many lenders on our panel are offering electric car loans starting from between 5% - 6%. Wondering what the best rate is? The best electric car loan rates on new cars start from 3.19% for a variable rate loan and 4.69% for a fixed rate green car loan. Obviously, these rates are subject to meeting the lenders' qualification criteria, however with the push to green energy and sustainable solutions buying a green car on finance could save you on rate. Moreover, as EVs cost very little to run, the initial purchase price is worth it.

Bottom Line

EVs are the cars of the future. Even if Australia has not yet made a move to ban gas-powered vehicles yet, it’s only a matter of time. Newer models are on par, if not better, with many standard cars on the market today.

Electric vehicle finance

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