But while we do encounter more EVs than ever on Australian roads, many Aussies remain sceptical about whether an electric engine will be able to keep up with their everyday needs. Here, we debunk three of the most common EV myths - and prove that electric engines may pack more of a punch than you think.
Myth #1: EVs won’t get you very far
Range anxiety is still one of the main purchasing barriers for many combustion engine drivers. Average petrol and diesel engines can reach distances of approximately 500 and 1000 kilometres per fuel respectively, depending on their capacity. These days, the average EV can go approximately 400 kilometres on one charge. Some higher-end models can even go as far as 600 kilometres or more.
How far you really get in the end largely depends on your driving habits, such as whether you tend to drive longer or shorter distances, go at a steady pace, move through hilly terrain, or experience a lot of stop-and-go in the city. Much like driving with a combustion engine.
A 2022 survey by the Electric Vehicle Council found that 89% of Australian Tesla owners drive over 10,000 kilometres per year. Some (38%) even crack the 20,000 kilometre mark. When comparing these numbers to the latest ABS survey of Motor Vehicle Use it becomes evident that EV drivers, at the very least, travel as much every year as combustion engine drivers, with the average passenger vehicle travelling 11,100 kilometres in 2020.
Myth #2: Charging is a challenge
With range anxiety also comes the fear of not having a charger nearby when your car’s battery runs low. The good news is that behavioural data reveals that you might not be as dependent on the plug as you think. Many EV owners opt to charge their car at home about twice a week, either when not in use during the day or at night. When it comes to public charging, most EV drivers (90%) only dock-on once a week – if at all.
And that’s not due to limited availability of charging locations. Public charging access in Australia is constantly being expanded. Between June 2022 and June 2023, the number of public charging locations increased by 57%. As of September 2023, there are approximately 5,000 public charging stations available across Australia.2 Even companies like BP and Ampol are getting behind the EV transition and installing fast chargers across their petrol station networks. What’s more, many who made the switch reported saving in excess of $2,000 a year in fuel.
If you’re still worried about not reaching a charger in time, there are handy tools, such as plugshare.com, that can help you locate available charging locations and plan your trip accordingly.
Myth #3: EV batteries lose juice
Even though EVs are cheaper to run in the long run, they can initially be the higher-priced option compared to a combustion engine vehicle. And since most drivers want to get the most out of their new four-wheeler, there is concern that an EV battery won’t go the same distance.
While that may have been a valid concern for some early EV vehicles, EV batteries today are built to last. A 2022 study found that EV battery packs can last as long as two to three decades. And with most Australians purchasing a new vehicle once per decade, there’s plenty of room to play with. Meanwhile, old batteries can be repurposed in battery storage systems, or even for public use in things such as streetlights.
As with any type of vehicle, engine degradation also depends on how well you maintain your car. In the case of an EV, your charging habits could impact the battery’s lifespan. Therefore, familiarising yourself with best-practice maintenance for your vehicle may help prevent early deterioration.
Alternative technologies already play a big role in achieving a more sustainable future and a more affordable lifestyle. As more Australian's purchase EVs and appropriate government policy is enacted to speed up the transition, the arguments for owning an EV over a traditional internal combustion engine will only get stronger.
CommBank provides discounted financing solutions for eligible electric and hybrid vehicles with the Green personal loan discount.