There are many misconceptions about what it means to own and drive an electric vehicle (EV). Let’s debunk the top six EV myths.
Not true! While EVs cost more to purchase (although more and more budget makes are arriving on the market), the electricity needed to run an EV is much cheaper than the petrol needed to drive a regular car the same distance. Servicing costs are also cheaper on average, meaning you’ll spend less on operating costs.
Whether that means an EV is cheaper in total cost of ownership for you than a regular car depends on how much you drive. You’ll need to do some maths to work it out, factoring in the purchase cost and expected electricity and servicing costs. In general, if you drive more than average, an EV is more likely to be cheaper.
But in a few years it’s likely that most EVs will have a lower total cost of ownership for most people.
False! A common belief is that charging an EV using electricity from the grid, which is generated by fossil fuels, cancels out their emissions reductions.
But due to the efficiency of EV motors, they create less carbon emissions than a petrol or diesel car despite the emissions of the electricity grid. And as the grid gets cleaner and Australia adopts more and more renewable sources of energy, charging EVs will become cleaner too.
But if you do have solar panels and you can charge your EV while they are generating electricity, powering your EV will be cheaper and create even fewer emissions (or free and with zero emissions if you can fully charge it from your solar). Some EV chargers can be programmed to make the most of your solar when charging your car.
Incorrect! Overall, EVs create less waste. Because they don’t need regular oil, oil filter or spark plug changes, there’s much less waste. The batteries will eventually need to be replaced, but EV batteries have long lives and can be repurposed several times before being recycled. When they are finally recycled, around 95 – 98% of the materials can be extracted and reused.
EVs also have no exhaust pipe pollution and create less brake dust, meaning healthier air, which is valuable in congested, polluted cities. They are also much quieter, reducing traffic noise.
False! You can tow with an EV – but you’ll have to make sure you get the right one. Only a few of the EVs currently available in Australia can tow, and different ones are rated for different towing weights.
If the ability to tow is important to you, make sure you find out from the dealer the towing capacity of any EV you are considering purchasing, or ask them if one is available with the towing capacity you need.
Not true! We all know them, those big charging points at shopping centres, car parks or service stations. While being able to charge your car while you shop is a plus, you can now easily charge your EV from home.
If you have a house with off-street parking (driveway, garage, carport) you’ll be able to charge your EV from a power point or install an EV charger. However, charging an EV regularly from a regular power point can result in heat damage to the socket and plug, which could become a safety risk over time.
You can use a regular power point with a portable charger from time to time, but for convenience, faster charging speeds and safety it’s best to install a dedicated EV charging circuit at home, with a wall mounted charger, for regular charging.
If you don’t have off-street parking, or you live in an apartment block that doesn’t have charging facilities in the car park, you’ll need to charge away from home. This is where those charging stations come in handy.
Not true! There does not need to be anywhere near as many petrol station-like public EV charging points to fulfil future EV charging needs. We therefore need a few, but nowhere near as many as the current petrol station model provides.
80 to 90% of EV charging is done at your destination, not when you’re on the move. Charging networks are rolling out fast and travel between the eastern and southern capitals, all around Tasmania and as far north as Port Douglas is already easy in an EV.
For a detailed, step-by-step guide on buying and using an electric vehicle, how to find the right model for you, and the questions to ask at each stage, check out the ‘Plug In to buying an EV fact sheet.