to buying a petrol/diesel car, choosing the electric vehicle (EV) that’s best
for you depends on things like your driving habits and personal preference. The following
are some factors to consider1.
Will it suit my driving habits? If
you regularly drive more than 200km a day and need to haul a heavy trailer up
steep mountains, an EV is probably not for you just yet. However, most Australians drive around 40km a
day and the average EV range is 100-150km, so it’s a good option.
households also have a second ‘runabout’ car, so you could replace it with an
EV. Check out our Types of electric vehicles webpage to see which kind of EV could suit your needs.
Convert or buy? If
cost is your main motivation, buying an EV from a car dealership may offer the
best value. However, converting a petrol/diesel car
to electric can offer a rewarding challenge and the option to create something truly
New or used? The second
hand EV market in Australia will grow in time, offering more affordable options. Used EVs have a few unique things to watch out for, especially the health of
the battery. Also check that the vehicle’s
licensing and compliance paperwork is up to date.
Battery range loss Throughout
normal use, batteries will lose useful capacity and power over time. On average, after 5 years of regular use, an
EVs battery range will drop to about 80% of the original maximum range. If you
drive around 40km a day this is a non-issue, but if you plan to drive over 100km
you will need to plan your recharging stops carefully.
Battery health and warranty claims If
you are buying an ex-demo or used EV, you need to check the general health of
the battery and also test its range. Data readers can be plugged in to check battery health and transmit the results to your smart phone or laptop.
Most EVs will have a separate warranty for
the battery. Make sure you understand and are comfortable with the battery
After charge rangeRange is the distance you can travel after a recharge. All
EVs come with a ‘Range Remaining’ display which is a distance estimate based on your
most recent driving patterns. So if the last 10km of your drive were uphill,
it’s going to give a lower range.
The only way to know for sure is to set
yourself a mental limit; for example, two bars remaining on the gauge, or, no
further than 85km. Satellite navigation
can help you search for a public charging outlet.
Software/firmware/hardware upgrades One
of the great things about modern EVs is the ease with which control software
and firmware can be upgraded. Check to
see that the latest upgrades have been made before buying.
Older EVs are less advanced, but upgrades are
still possible. Some older models may have the option of fitting new parts like on-board chargers, motor controller
power settings and whole battery upgrades.
Charging requirements Most new EV
sales will come with the option of a dedicated EV charging unit from the
dealership to be mounted on your garage wall by a licensed electrical
contractor. While these are convenient,
there may be cheaper home charging options.
‘occasional use’ charging lead may be used if you have a suitable electrical power
point. Consult a licensed electrical contractor to be certain. Also
consider if the on-board charger is sufficient for your needs. If you often need to head out soon
after getting home, consider the option of a more powerful on-board
charger to power up more quickly.
Public charging outlets Check
the charge port on your EV and if its compatible with the public charging
outlets near you. Some EVs will come with
a direct current (DC) fast charging option. Converted cars are unlikely to have
a connector which allows use of any public charging outlets, unless it’s a 15
Charge from renewable energyEVs have many benefits, especially for the environment. You
can charge an EV with electricity generated from renewable energy sources such
as the sun, wind, geothermal, or hydro schemes.
If you purchase green power from your electricity retailer, they are
required to provide you with renewable energy.
If you have a solar PV system, you can charge your EV using the power of
the sun rather than power from the electricity network.