What it’s like to own an electric vehicle

Posted in Miscellaneous

Johan charging electric vehicle

By Johan Karlsson, DC Power Co’s energy data & pricing specialist

 

It’s hard to believe that there are currently less than 8000 electric vehicles on the roads in Australia, which is remarkable when considering we love new cars and there are almost 1.2 million new cars sold here every year. The Australian car sales industry sold more Toyota Hilux cars in two months of 2018 than it sold electric vehicles over the last 10 years.

My partner and I pre-ordered a Tesla Model 3 more than three years ago, in anticipation of being able to afford the car once it arrived in Australia. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to stump up the money ($70,000) by the time it became available here – in particular as we were just about to commit to a 25-year mortgage – but we figured there was a remote possibility.

As a self-confessed energy industry nerd – having worked in strategy roles for the utility industry, in renewable energy development as well as energy retail – owning a fully electric vehicle was the ‘holy grail’ of embracing clean energy and significantly lower emissions from transport¹.

After eagerly awaiting the delivery of the Tesla Model 3 for over almost three years, I started scanning the market for alternative options. There was simply no indication as to when the car would arrive, and I got restless.

 

New electric car landscape

 

Once the Hyundai Kona Electric was confirmed for delivery in Australia and specifications were released, we had finally found a better choice. On paper, the Hyundai has got better range (450km+) and in our case it’s simple a much better type/shape, in that it’s a small SUV that will actually get up our steep driveway. It may ooze less status than Tesla, but it’s a quality car that looks great and with all the features you’d ever need.

We first took delivery of our Kona Electric about five weeks ago and have since done around 1500km and charged it up four times, only one of which was at home for ~$12, the other charges being: at work ($0), DC fast charging of 100kW in Euroa using ChargeFox new infrastructure ($0) and using Moreland City Council’s DC fast charger in Coburg ($0) whilst doing grocery shopping.

Even if I had charged the car at home only, the distance travelled would have cost less than $50, as opposed to petrol of ~$220. That’s an 80% saving.

 

Johan charging electric vehicle

 

So how much does an electric vehicle cost?

A new electric car with reasonable range in Australia will cost from around $50,000 today. Our Kona Electric was a bit over $60,000 when accounting for on-road costs, and economics alone is not a reason to buy electric over fossil fuel burning cars.

Having been in the midst of the solar power revolution in Australia it’s clear to see how early adopters are critical in terms of driving down the upfront cost for others in the near future. For me, buying an electric car is about taking the power back from the likes of BP and Exxon Mobil, and instead choose where I get my fuel from and even generating my own fuel.

Right now, I can fill my car up with electricity from my solar panels at home and then top up with carbon neutral electricity when I need to. Typically, fast-charging networks such as ChargeFox offer 100% GreenPower (certified renewable) at their charging stations at no extra cost.

Another really important thing to consider when assessing the economics of an electric car is the battery. The Kona is built on a 64kWh platform, and that’s about the same amount of energy storage capacity is the same as five Tesla Powerwalls. Installed in your home, five Powerwalls’ would cost $65,000-$70,000 and would be able to power an average home for almost a week.

And the really exciting thing in my view, is that in the near future, your car will be able to plug into your home and literally provide your home with power. Imagine powering your home using your car battery for a week!

 

New electric car landscape

 

Driving experience

I’ve saved the best for last. Driving an electric vehicle is an unbelievable experience when you compare it to driving a fossil fuel powered vehicle. Our Kona packs a punch, with a very low centre of gravity, a 150kW electric motor with almost 400nm of torque, and the best thing about the torque is that all that power is available from the when you push the accelerator. Pull up next to any fossil fuel car and it’s likely you’ll win a drag-race if you are so inclined.

Book a test-drive with your preferred electric car manufacturer and take one for a test drive, or if you are ever walking past DC Power Co in Fitzroy, pop in and we’ll take you for a drive if we are able to!

Once you experience an electric car first hand you understand immediately why it’s the future and why we’ll all be driving one soon. At DC Power Co, we are actively working to develop and deliver energy products and services that encourage the uptake of electric vehicles across Australia.

 

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¹ Noting that emissions will be lowered by removing the need for petrol or diesel and through using electricity generated by home solar power system, as well as carbon neutral electricity from the grid.

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