EV myths debunked: Common misconceptions about electric cars
The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) is thought to be the biggest shift to happen in the car industry since the horse and cart was phased out or since automatic transmission was introduced for internal combustion engine cars (ICE vehicles).
There’s a lot of buzz around EVs – and many common misconceptions about electric cars. If you’ve been considering an EV for your next car, it’s important to separate the facts from the fiction.
Here are some common myths about EVs and the truth behind the common myths.
EV myth #1: Electric vehicles cost a lot more than ICE vehicles
At the moment, there are fewer electric cars on the market compared to standard ICE vehicles, so buying an EV can be comparatively more expensive. There are a number of different EV models available, with more options being released in Australia every year.
As competition, investment, and innovation continue to expand, the cost of EVs is likely to fall. Falling battery costs means that the total ownership costs of EVs are already the same as conventional vehicles. It’s estimated that upfront costs will be cheaper by about 2025.
EVs are likely to become more affordable with time, so you could find an EV to suit your budget and driving needs. If affordability is the leading factor for you, you could consider waiting a bit longer before you buy an EV. This way, you could have more models to choose from or even have more options to purchase a second-hand EV, whereas the market for used EVs is currently quite limited.
With an EV, you could also save on running costs in the long term, compared to most ICE vehicles. This is because:
- EVs generally require less maintenance since an electric motor doesn’t have the high number of moving parts of an internal combustion engine.
- With an EV you don’t need to replace filters and spark plugs, change oil or repair the transmission, head gasket or engine.
- Battery EVs don’t need any petrol or diesel fuel and are charged with electricity, which can represent a large cost saving. According to the Electric Vehicle Council, the average Australian drives 15,000km and spends around $2,160 on petrol per year ($0.14/km) which with an EV would cost around $600 per year ($0.04/km) in electricity costs.* We’ve done the maths on EV charging costs in WA so you can compare the numbers for yourself.
- For EV owners with a solar PV system at home, you can maximise the benefits you receive and potential fuel costs savings by charging your EV when your solar PV system is generating electricity.
While the myths about electric vehicles costing more than ICE vehicles may be true about the initial upfront purchase cost, other factors like maintenance and fuel costs could mean EVs are a cost-efficient option in the longer term.
EV myth #2: EVs can’t drive far
EV battery myths around the driving range of EVs are very common – and it makes sense that drivers would want these kind of EV myths debunked before they purchase an EV.
The truth is that an EV can drive much further than you may think. Depending on whether you drive a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or a battery EV (BEV), your EV driving range between charges can vary from 40km for some PHEVs, up to more than 600km for a BEV.
Even on the lower end of this scale, a 40km driving range between charges is generally enough for most people’s daily driving requirements, as according to the Electric Vehicle Council, the average Australian drives about 38km per day. Some EV owners could go up to 10 days without recharging based on this distance given EV driving ranges. Unlike ICE vehicles where you need to visit a petrol station to refuel, you can conveniently recharge EV batteries at home or anywhere with access to electricity.
With an EV, you can still take your EV on road trips around our state. WA has hundreds of EV charging stations, including the WA EV Network which is being rolled out this year by the State Government, to deliver even more EV charging infrastructure to support EV drivers in the State.
EV myth #3: EVs are not that much better for the environment
EV environment myths can be another concern for potential EV drivers – so it’s important to do your own research and learn about the environmental impact of EVs.
The truth is that EVs aren’t completely emission-free, especially if traditional sources of electricity are used to charge the batteries.
Electric vehicles are, however, a much cleaner form of transport than ICE vehicles that run on more emission-intensive fuels, such as petrol and diesel. Battery EVs, or BEVS, have zero exhaust emissions, so that alone makes them better for the environment than ICE vehicles.
Electricity generated from fossil fuels such as coal, gas or diesel results in the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other harmful emissions. So while a battery EV is not emitting any CO2 as it drives, if the electricity used to charge EV batteries involves fossil fuels, there are carbon emissions being generated.
To put things into perspective in relation to EV environment myths:
- In 2017, the Commonwealth Department of Energy and Environment estimated that for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated in WA, about 700 grams of CO2 was produced.
- An EV typically uses between 12 and 25kWh of electricity per 100km, which translates to between 8.4kg and 17.5kg of CO2.
- Most petrol-powered cars use between 6 and 12 litres of fuel per 100km and each litre produces approximately 2.3kg of CO2. So, over the same 100km, a petrol-powered car produces between 13.8kg and 27.6kg of CO2.
Diesel vehicles generally sit between EVs and petrol vehicles in terms of their CO2 emissions over a given distance, but diesel vehicles also generate other, more toxic exhaust emissions such as oxides of nitrogen and fine particulate matter.
As more renewable energy sources are being introduced in Western Australia, EVs are likely to become even more environmentally friendly.
For now, if you have an EV and a solar PV system at home, you could maximise the benefit of solar power produced by your solar PV system at home by charging your EV during the day when the solar PV system is generating electricity.
EV myth #4: EV charging is hard work
EV charging is actually relatively easy and 80% of EV drivers around the world charge their EV at home using a normal electrical outlet or EV wall charging unit.
With an EV at home, you could be eligible for a time of use electricity plan such as our Synergy EV Add On plan.^ This plan features different rates for electricity depending on the time of day electricity is consumed, so you can plan your EV charging around your time of use plan.
Public fast charging stations can charge up quickly too. You can find these at carparks, shopping centres, restaurants and other locations across Perth and WA – and you might use a range of mobile apps and tools to find your closest public charging stations. You could leave your car parked at a charger while you go shopping or to work and it could be fully charged within a few hours. Ultra-rapid charging stations can even add up to 300km of driving range in ten minutes for some EVs.
To learn more about charging stations, charging at home and fast charging, check out our ultimate guide to EV charging.
EV myth #5: An electric motor doesn’t have the power of ICE vehicles
Early EV batteries were much smaller and batteries discharged much faster compared with EVs today.
Most EVs today accelerate as fast or even faster than a petrol or diesel car because you don’t have to wait for engine revs to rise after stepping on the accelerator pedal.
Unlike ICE vehicles, some EVs can deliver full torque instantly. EV batteries are often positioned along the bottom of the vehicle, which lowers the centre of gravity and can provide better handling around corners.
Overall, EVs offer a great driving experience and have more than enough acceleration power to keep even the most avid car enthusiasts happy.
EVs are not a passing trend – will you join the EV revolution?
Despite all the common misconceptions about EVs, the EV industry is booming around the world.
Norway is currently the world’s leading EV adopter – and three-quarters of all light vehicles sold in 2020 were electric. EV adoption is also growing in the UK (10.7% of light vehicle sales), China (6.2% of light vehicle sales) and the United States (2.3% of light vehicle sales). Globally, electric vehicles represented 4.2% of light vehicle sales, up from 2.5% in 2019.
Australia has a lot of catching up to do compared with other countries – but our EV market is growing. In 2022, EVs represented 3.39% of all vehicle sales in Australia. This might seem like a tiny percentage but actually marks a 65% increase on 2021, according to the Electric Vehicle Council’s last State of EVs Report released in October 2022.
As more EV models come on the market and new charging infrastructure gets built across Australia, it’s looking likely that even more drivers will choose an EV in the future.
EVs are not going anywhere fast – except for on our roads. The choices and features available in EVs are predicted to get better and better as technology advances, so if you want to jump on the trend, now is the time to get informed and explore all the advantages of electric vehicles.
* All costs are estimations for comparative purposes only. Actual fuel / energy costs and fuel / energy use are dependent on a number of factors including vehicle type, how vehicles are used, the cost of fuel and electricity and will vary across all vehicles.
^Eligibility criteria and terms and conditions apply to the Synergy EV Add On plan.