What grants and rebates are available?
Before buying an EV, check to see if you can get any subsidies or rebates. Electric vehicle subsidies are now available throughout many Australian states and territories. SA, VIC, ACT, NSW, NT, QLD and TAS all have some sort of incentive program.
These range from small bonuses like a reduced electric vehicle rego rate, right up to $3,000 grants – depending on where you live. There’s also a federal initiative, which raises the luxury car tax threshold for electric vehicles. Make sure to check which subsidies apply in your state and for your EV of choice – for example, if you’re buying a used one.
Charging an EV
We don’t give much thought to filling up our conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, as the concept of a fuel station is nearly as old as the automobile itself. But with electric cars still in their relative infancy, the charging infrastructure isn’t as established as the petrol pump network.
When buying an EV, you need to find where your local charging points are and give consideration to where you can stop to charge the battery for longer trips. If you have a driveway, garage or carport, you could install a home charger for easily achievable overnight top-ups.
For the times when you’re away from home, your EV will typically have a map of the surrounding charge locations. You can also download apps from public charging station operators such as ChargeFox or the EV resource PlugShare, which show each charger on a map. At the moment, these charging points tend to be concentrated near medium- to high-density population areas, for obvious reasons. Some places of work have even fitted charging points for their employees to use.
It’s also handy to make a note of the charging capabilities of your car. Some rapid and ultra-fast chargers output huge amounts of juice, but if a particular EV can’t handle that level of voltage, then you won’t benefit from the lower charge times.
Before you buy, consider the charging facilities in your local area.
There’s no escaping the fact electric cars cost more than comparable non-EV models. For example, the Hyundai Kona Elite, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine starts from $35,363.46 driveaway, rising to $41,955.46 for a Highlander Kona. Meanwhile, the Kona Electric Elite starts from $59,346.46 (correct as of January 2022) and runs right up to $69,321.46 (for an extended range Highlander model – again, on offer).
The Kona Electric is 67.8% more expensive than its petrol counterpart, while the Highlander Kona Electric is 50.1% more costly. Put another way, these two models are on average $22,520 more than their ICE-equipped equivalent. You have to weigh up if you want to outlay that additional sum for an electric vehicle and whether it’ll fit in your budget. However, if your heart is truly set on an electric car, it may also be worth considering a car loan.