The demand for electric and hybrid vehicles is steadily growing, and we can increasingly see a gradual shift in the market in favour of electric cars. But you may be wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of buying an electric car. Here are a few points to consider:
Pros of an electric car
One of the biggest benefits of buying an electric car is the reduction of greenhouse emissions. This is definitely one of the main aspects leading to the growing demand around electric and hybrid vehicles, with many individuals trying to reduce their carbon footprint.
Cheaper to run
Ongoing servicing and maintenance costs are generally lower for an electric car than a petrol vehicle. The cost of electricity is generally lower than that of petrol, and is less likely to fluctuate drastically overnight as petrol does. Due to fewer moving parts compared to a combustion engine, servicing an electric vehicle is often more affordable, and the replacement of parts shouldn’t be necessary as often.
An electric car offers a smooth drive, and many models provide more torque (allowing you to get off the start line faster). Electric cars are quieter to drive than traditional combustion engines, which can make for a comfortable ride.
Cons of an electric car
Up front expense
Currently, electric cars can be very expensive to purchase. They are still a relatively new technology, and therefore have a high upfront cost.
While electric cars have a longer range now than they did when they were first introduced, most models can’t get as far on a single charge as a petrol or diesel engine can get on a single tank of fuel. This is something to keep in mind if you plan on taking road trips or long drives frequently. Especially considering the next point on the con list…
Lack of charging stations
Since this technology is still fairly new, there just aren’t as many charging stations around as there are fuel stations. If you are planning on taking long drives, you’ll need to plan ahead to ensure you can recharge wherever you end up before you run out of juice.
Time it takes to ‘fuel up’
It can take a considerably longer time to recharge the battery on an electric car, compared to refuelling a petrol or diesel vehicle. The true time it takes to charge the vehicle depends on different factors including the model of car, how empty the battery is and what style of charger is used. But it’s not unusual for an electric car to take several hours, or even half a day or longer, to fully charge. This takes away a lot of the convenience a car usually offers. Investing in a fast charger can reduce this time, but it’s not an option for every model.
Lack of options
While electric vehicles are gaining interest, there still aren’t that many options available on the Australian market today. Only some car manufacturers are offering electric cars, such as Tesla, Audi, BMW and Range Rover to name a few, so you will be limited in your selection.
When is petrol better?
Price is a definite pro in favour of petrol- or diesel-powered engines. Purchasing a car is already an expensive venture, and they are (often significantly) more affordable than electric cars. In addition, combustion engines out-perform electric vehicles in relation to long-distance driving and range on a single tank of fuel, so if you drive often or plan to take road trips, they are likely the most convenient choice for you. It also takes a fraction of the time to fuel up the petrol car compared to charging an electric vehicle battery.
What about hybrids?
While not every car dealer in Australia offers an electric model at this stage, more manufacturers are slowly dabbling in the electric car game with hybrid engine options. A hybrid engine is powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor which uses electricity from batteries. The electricity is replenished via a regenerative braking system, and the combustion engine charges and maintains the battery.
An example of a hybrid engine on the market in Australia is the Mazda MX-30, which boasts a SkyActiv-X M hybrid engine. The Mazda MX-30 price point is also more affordable than a fully electric vehicle, making it a good middle ground between petrol and electric.
Buying second hand?
If sustainability is your reason for looking to switch to electric, it’s likely you have considered buying your car second hand. As with anything, by buying second hand you are reducing industry output and utilising resources and materials that have already been spent. If you’re not sure what to look for in a second hand car (especially if you’re buying electric), here are a few pointers to get you thinking:
- Ask for the seller to provide you with a battery diagnostic report. This will ensure the battery is working as it should, saving you heartbreak and money down the road.
- Check all the gadgets are working.
- As with buying any car second hand, check the service history has been well maintained and is up to date.
- Check the battery size, so you know what sort of range you can expect.
Buying cars privately can always be a bit like rolling the dice, so we’d recommend buying second hand through a reputable dealer where possible. It means you have peace of mind knowing the electric car you’re buying has passed their tests and will treat you right. Whether buying new or second hand, electric or petrol, always take any prospective car out for a test drive before purchasing.
There are heaps of reputable used car dealers in Perth, who will be more than happy to help you on your way to buying a second hand car, whether you decide on petrol, diesel or electric.