What to Consider When Buying An Electric CarPublished Friday, January 1, 2021
In Australia, you could say that the electric car is the car of the future, but it really isn't. Rather, the electric car is the car of the present.
In such a short period of time, buying an electric car has become the new norm, and the number of people buying is increasing every single day, both in Australia and the wider world.
However, how to actually shop and buy electric vehicles is still a mystery to a lot of people. It's new charging technology, and what you should be looking out for isn't immediately obvious. There are new things to consider, like driving requirements, what battery to buy, the use of EVs, the cost of upkeep, home charging, as well as public charging availability. If you're going to shop for an electric car, read this guide before you make any rash buying decisions.
We will be going to go over a few things you should be considering before you actually pull the trigger on buying electric cars. Therefore, make sure that you give this guide a read before you go trying to find your perfect EVs.
The first thing you should be considering before you make a purchase of any kind is what sort of budget you're working with. That logic still applies when you're shopping for an EV or buying an electric car.
How much you have to spend on an electric vehicle in the first place is going to dictate everything else about what you check during your electric vehicle buying decision. It's going to affect where and how you buy, what year you buy, what kind of maintenance you can plan for, what models you want, battery size, tax, what size, what engine, and more.
Thus, before you even take off for the car dealership, take a second to sit down, read a guide, and set some benchmark figures. Don't forget to factor in road tax, too.
Think about what year models you're looking at, how many average miles you plan to travel each week, you might even want to consider running the budget against the cost of a traditional petrol car.
You're also going to want to think about the money aspect of new cars versus the that of used cars. The difference can be staggering here, so brace yourself for a shock.
Aside from that, the other major important thing to ponder over is the cost of charge, battery, and charging stations. Home charging can be expensive to set up but gives you a much more affordable, long term option to charge your car.
Charging stations may make giving your electric vehicle charge most affordable short term, but it's going to cost more per charge over time. On top of that, there's no guarantee of a charging station being available to charge in your area.
Once you have all your numbers laid out in front of you, then you can start the actual shopping process.
When it comes to buying an electric vehicle, you still need to be taking size into consideration. A mini coupe isn't going to fit a family of four.
You need to think about how many average passengers you're going to be ferrying, even if they aren't your family.
There is plenty of family-sized Tesla electric cars out there, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find. Just remember to keep your budget in mind when you're shopping for a bigger model.
The bigger the car, the longer that electric charging is going to take, too. If there aren't many charging options in your area, you might want to think about keeping the car compact.
New Car or Used Electric / Second Hand?
This is likely the single biggest question you're going to have to ask yourself while shopping for electric cars, and it's also most influenced by your budget.
If you're operating with a very tight pocket, then you're going to want to lean towards getting a used electric second-hand model because it's going to cost you less. Even a Nissan Leaf second hand, as opposed to a new car, is going to save you a lot.
This comes with its own set of challenges that you need to look out for, namely making sure you're buying from a reputable electric second-hand source and that you look at the car's full-service history.
Getting a used electric car instead of a new model might seem attractive, but faulty used cars are going to cost you a fortune in repairs.
Even though electric cars have a higher charge rate in the short term, it is going to save you money over the years, so don't be afraid to opt for a higher-end option, especially if you're going to have an electric vehicle home charge station.
Think About the Type
As you probably know by now, there is more than a single type of electric car. When you're out shopping for an EV, you're going to need to decide whether you want a pure electric car or a hybrid.
The latter types of cars have a combustion engine but think about whether or not you actually need it.
Regular electric cars have longer-lasting batteries and longer driving ranges than hybrids but can also have a higher cost depending on what you're out to purchase. Electric vehicles may also run out of juice fast if it is loaded down for traveling purposes.
If you have to travel long distances for work every day, then the latter is likely going to suit you better. Just keep in mind that driving an electric is going to be cleaner, as well as cheaper the more miles you put on the car over time.
One of the more unique aspects to consider when shopping electric is the battery size that your electric car is going to come with.
Larger batteries cost more and are heavier, meaning you're going to be lugging around more weight. You're only going to need a 40kWh or 50kWh battery if you have a massive family travelling with you. Most people can get away with a 24kWh model travelling around Australia, though.
Just like how a petrol car needs to be filled up with gas, an electric car has a plug to fill with electricity at various stations or at your house charging stations at home.
You're going to want to check what onboard charger you're car is operating with, and what kind of power that's going to give you. Keep in mind that the more you drive, the more hours you're going to spend giving your car power. Meaning the more stations, you're going to have access to.
Charging chargers start at 3.6kW, with some powerful electricity model options going upwards of 7.2kW. The highest end of the spectrum is around the 22kW mark, but you're not going to want one of them on the Australian public roads unless you're going to buy and drive the equivalent of a minibus.
Think about where you're going to be charging your car's power, as well. If you're going to plug your car in at home rather than at stations, then hours commitment isn't much of an issue so you can opt for a lower rate charger. If you're travelling the public roads a lot, though, then a stronger plug is going to reduce the wait you spend at charging stations.
Always Get a Service History
We've already touched on this briefly, but if you're purchasing a used second hand, then you have to make sure you get a full-service history of the car's use. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
It's going to give you that much sought after peace of mind with your car, and can even play into how much it costs.
You're going to want documentation like this if you ever end up in a claims court involving your car, both as a prosecutor and defendant. Road accidents happen in Australia, so being able to prove that the car is in good shape is important and is going to help to make any potential accidents cost less.
Most importantly, service history is going to give you an idea as to the health of the battery and plug. The less use the car has seen, the better, but you have to know where you stand with it.
Think About Expenses
Budgeting for your car is one thing, but think about all the costs and do all the math. Road tax takes its toll, as does the cost of maintenance should that situation ever come. Check what year the models you're shopping for are and factor in how long you think it's going to last before you have to take it to a garage.
Knowing what this is going to do to your bank account can give you an idea of how much you actually stand to save with EVs. Even if the models you're looking at are more expensive, you're going to save the money you've spent so long as you keep the car in a good condition.
Whether or Not You Should Go with EVs in the First Place
Getting an electric model car for the moral aspect of it is one thing, but think about the practicality of EVs and hybrid cars before you buy one.
It's not the right choice for everyone, and that's okay all things considered.
Keep in mind how many kids you have, what your daily drive is like, and remember what the resources needed to use an electric car in the first place.
The less time you spend in public on the drive, the better. EVs have issues when it comes to operating in poor weather, sure, but your biggest issue is going to be battery life. This is especially true if you live in a part of Australia where it's hard to find gas stations that also use chargers for electric vehicles and cars.
Tesla Model or No Tesla Model
Tesla is synonymous with buying an electric vehicle. It's the company that first popularized electric cars, and that stands for something. Specifically, it stands as the benchmark for electric vehicles' average price and quality. A new Tesla model electric car is going to cost you a lot more than most other brands, but it's also going to run better.
If you've got a chunky budget to spend on your electric car, then this is definitely the way to go. If you can even stretch your budget to get a second hand, you're going to be looking at electric vehicles that outperform most new electric vehicles.
However, big brands are far from the be-all and end-all of new electric vehicle options. Most other electric vehicle manufacturers are coming out with new electric cars every other month, like the Nissan Leaf, and the price difference between a second-hand non-Tesla and the real deal can be staggering, so think about whether you're buying the brand for quality or for the name. Electric vehicles come in different brands, shapes, and sizes; be sure to find the car that is right for you. Australia has some fantastic options regarding electric vehicles.