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“Should I buy an electric car?” is a question many drivers in Australia, and across the world, are asking. There are many aspects of electric vehicle (EV) ownership to consider before buying an electric car or EV. Here’s your guide to getting started exploring types of electric cars, the best range electric car, EV charging plug types and more. We've put together some key questions and answers to help you make an informed decision about buying an EV.


“Do I need the best range electric car?”

The best electric car for your driving needs depends on a range of factors. Start by considering how you use your car, how much driving you do and how far you need to drive on a regular basis. If you’re mostly driving short distances through the city or suburbs, your needs will be different to someone who drives for long stretches at a time ,or in rural areas, with longer distances between stops.

'Driving range’ refers to how far you can drive petrol or diesel cars on a single tank or petrol – or a fully charged battery in the case of an EV. It is an important factor to consider – but it’s equally important to consider how you use your petrol or diesel car and how you use or want to use the EV you are buying. 

If you drive to and from work in the metro area, you probably pass several petrol stations along the way and know it’s easy enough to top up your tank if you need to. Along the same lines, if you’re buying an EV, you probably plan to park it at home at the end of each day and plug it into your outlet for electric cars. Even if you have an EV that doesn't have the best driving range, it could be easy enough for you to charge your EV as and when you need to without worrying about the driving range too much.

For those who drive longer distances, it may be necessary to plan your journey around the location of compatible EV charging points and charging infrastructure. Applications such as Plugshare and A Better Route Planner (ABRP) can be useful resources you may like to use to help plan longer journeys.


“Where can I charge my EV?”

If you’re switching to an EV from a petrol or diesel-fuelled vehicle, you’ll need to get in the habit of planning how, when and where to charge your EV. Most EV drivers adopt a combination of charging at home and at public EV charging locations. The charging methods which work best for you will depend on your typical driving behaviours, availability of charging locations and what might work best for you in terms of your lifestyle and budget.

Some EVs can take several hours to fully charge, depending on the battery type and existing charge level, and what kind of charger it uses. The good news is that you probably won’t need to fully charge your electric car every day. Depending on your driving needs, you might only need to fully charge your EV every few days and simply “top up” its charge when necessary. According to stats from the Electric Vehicle Council, many of the popular EVs available have an average driving range of approximately 480km and the average Australian driver travels 38km per day, if they had an EV they could drive for  10 days without recharging. 

For home, you could also consider investing in a fast charger – but this will depend on your EV model and your budget. 


“When should I charge my EV?”

Many EV owners choose to charge during the day or overnight while they are at home. This is where a time of use (TOU) electricity plan such as our Synergy EV Add On electricity plan* might be beneficial. If you’re eligible for this plan, you could take advantage of lower rates for electricity (between 9am and 3pm) and overnight (from 11pm to 6am), which could be a good option for you if you’re parked at home and charge your EV during these times.^ Charging during these times also has an added benefit of helping to keep the electricity grid stable by shifting your electricity use to off peak times.

You will need to consider your lifestyle and when you’re parked at home to work out if you could charge your EV during these times. Your car port or garage design will also have an impact on how and when you charge your EV.


“What kind of EV charging infrastructure is in place?”

Charging infrastructure is expanding across the WA EV Network and other parts of Australia. You can also tap into a community of local drivers of EVs to learn where charging infrastructure is located.

When you’re asking yourself “Should I buy an electric car?” you need to consider when and where might be the best place for you to charge your EV. You’ll probably use a combination of your home outlet for electric cars and public charging points. As you adapt to new habits as an EV driver, you’ll get to know your local charging points and the most convenient options based on your driving needs.


“How much does it cost to charge an EV?”

If you’re buying an electric car, you could consider changing some of your electricity usage habits to charge your EV in the most efficient way. Based on our research at Synergy, recharging an EV at home is currently the cheapest way to charge your EV.  As we have mentioned, you might be able to reduce your electricity costs by charging during off-peak times when charging at home if you’re eligible for a time of use plan such as our Synergy EV Add On electricity plan.*^  

If you have solar at home, you should consider charging your EV during the day whenever possible to make the most of the solar power you generate.

If you are planning a roadtrip and are considering how much it will cost to charge your EV out on the road, keep in mind that the cost to charge electric cars varies with different types of electric cars and charging points. For example, some public charging points might offer free charge for standard AC charging, but then charge a per kilowatt hour fee for a fee for a faster charging option. The cost also depends on the type of charging point used, as fast chargers may cost a bit more per kilowatt hour compared with standard charging points.


“How long does it take to charge an EV?”

It depends on what kind of EV you have, the capacity of your battery, existing charge level and what kind of charging point you’re using. 

According to charging data from the Electric Vehicle Council, a typical Level 1 charger can add between 10 and 20km of driving range for each hour of charging. At the other end of the charging scale, a Level 3 charger can fully recharge some EVs in less than 15 minutes.

Having to wait around until your car is charged might put you off the idea of buying an EV in the first place – but there are options available. For example, you could choose to invest in a fast charger to help cut down on some of the wait time – but this might not suit every household or some types of electric cars.

You might not need to charge your EV fully and can just top up your charge throughout the week. 


“How do I choose between different types of electric cars?”

The three types of EV you might hear about are battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). When you’re exploring different types of electric vehicles, start by considering how and when you drive, the size of car you need and how many passengers you will have on average every day. 

The bigger the EV, generally the longer the charging time required. If you mostly drive alone, it could be worth choosing a smaller EV rather than a larger one. If you’ve got a family to drive around, you might need a larger EV but should also factor in a longer charging time. A bigger battery often means there’s more weight for the vehicle to carry – so this is something to consider too.

In Australia, there are less EV options available in comparison to the petrol or diesel cars, and compared with international EV markets, but it’s likely a wider range will be available in the future. 

Tesla offer multiple EV models in the Australian market. Other car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Jaguar, Range Rover, Mercedes, MG, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche and Volvo manufacture EV models.

More car manufacturers are investing in EV technology and as the EV market grows, existing EV drivers are likely to upgrade their older models.


“What kind of EV charging plug types and EV charging connector types do I need?”

To charge your EV at home, you’ll need charging infrastructure for your EV. Make sure you have a suitable charging spot, which could be in your garage or undercover parking area. 

The EV charging plug types and EV charging connector types will vary for different types of EVs. Before you commit to buying an EV, find out what kind of charging plugs and connectors you might need. Some onboard chargers might come as standard with your EV or you might choose to invest in a fast charger which is compatible with your EV model. This information should be readily available from car dealerships and who you purchase your EV from. 

Explore the public charging points near you and those along your regular routes and stops. You might find some have fast chargers which could save you time, or others you visit as part of your weekly routines, such as using EV charging points at a supermarket or shopping centre.


“Does an EV cost more upfront?”

The short answer is “yes” – for now. One of the obstacles to a faster uptake of EVs in Australia is likely to be the higher upfront price. The cost of EVs can be quite a bit higher compared with similar-sized petrol or diesel cars. 

While incentives are available for buying an EV in certain states and territories – and base-level EVs generally come with more features than base-level petrol cars – the initial price can be a barrier. Plus the added the cost of installing a charging station in your home, should also be a factor in your decision and can be a barrier.

While the upfront cost is higher, it’s likely that buying an electric vehicle means you will enjoy lower maintenance and servicing costs than a petrol or diesel vehicle. It’s also likely, according to forecasts from BloombergNEF, that sedan and SUV EVs will become cheaper to produce than their petrol or diesel equivalents in Australia by 2026, and that smaller EVs will become cheaper to produce than petrol versions by 2027.

For a better understanding of what investing in an EV can cost, as well as potential savings you can make, check out the Evenergi EV Costs Calculator which received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The tool is designed to help consumers explore the cost of EV ownership, the comparative costs of owning an EV in Australia and charging costs for your EV, with and without a solar PV system and battery energy storage system.


"Are EVs better than petrol or diesel cars?”

The answer to this really depends what you value the most as a driver. If you’re happy to pay a higher upfront cost for longer-term savings, buying an EV could be a good choice for you. 

There are less options available in the current Australian EV market – but that’s set to change. With more manufacturers investing in EV technology (and pledging to move away from combustion engines), and more charging infrastructure being built in Australia, EVs could become more accessible in the future.

If you’re looking to the future and considering the environmental impact that your choice will have, electric vehicles will play an important role in the future. Australia’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics forecasts that EVs will make up around 60% of our market share in Australia by 2046. This could equate to the potential reduction of 18 million tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere, which is a figure hard to ignore for anybody concerned about the future.

If you think your next car might be an EV, explore the advantages of EVs and find out the reasons why you could consider switching to an EV.


* Eligibility criteria and terms and conditions apply.

^ TOU electricity plans such as Synergy EV Add On have different electricity charges for electricity depending on when electricity is used, which could allow you to take advantage of lower rates for electricity than the standard regulated tariff (A1) at certain times of the day. During the Peak time period (between 3pm and 9pm) the rate for electricity on the Synergy EV Add On is higher than the electricity change on the standard regulated tariff (A1).