Are Electric Vehicles the way of the future?

Fully electric vehicles are completely propelled by electric motors, with a lot less moving parts than a conventional vehicle they are seen to be cheaper to run and maintain. It goes without saying that electric vehicles (EV) have experienced rapid development over the last few years, with the momentum only building in this space. Figures from the Electric Vehicle Council indicate a growth of over 203% during 2019 in the fully electric and plug-in-hybrid car sales in Australia. As it currently sits fully electric vehicles on the Australian market are available through BMW (i3), Hyundai (Kona, Ioniq), Nissan (Leaf), Renault (Zoe, Kangoo), Jaguar (I-Pace), MG (ZS) Tesla (Model 3, S and X).

Without a doubt, Tesla is leading the charge (sorry, not sorry) when it comes to electrified cars.  In Australia they sell three different models, starting with the Model 3 which is a small sedan, followed by the Model S which is a large sedan, and then topping out at the Model X which is their SUV and current flagship model.  Other models are on the horizon, whether they make it to Australia or not is unknown (Cybertruck we are looking at you).  Some Tesla sceptics can be quick to question some of the build quality of these vehicles, however with a manufacturer that is this young creating prototypes that have never before been seen we are not surprised that there are some teething problems. However, there is no denying that they’ve really nailed the technology side of things.  They’re also paving the way with regard to autonomous driving capability, which is really only held back by local state legislations which are a bit slow at recognising and allowing such technology to be utilised on public roads.  It is actually still illegal to take your hands off the steering wheel in all states of Australia, despite more and more manufacturers including the ability to do so for short periods of time while the car takes over control. Tesla have also shaken up the car buying process, by offering a 100% online ordering system.  This will no doubt be the future of most mainstream brands, and we wonder how this will change the way physical car dealerships operate in the future. The manufacturer has seen a rapid increase in sales across the nation with a new showroom opening on the Gold Coast and in Perth late 2020.

Other manufacturers are following in the Tesla powerhouse footsteps with Mercedes-Benz adding an “online showroom” that will allow similar functionality as with Tesla where prospective customers can browse, design and purchase their vehicle from the comfort (and 2020 Covid safety) of their own home. The environment for EV’s is steadily improving in Australia with ambitious plans in Sydney where Ausgrid and start-up Jolt are looking to convert streetside power boxes into EV chargers.

So are the environmental benefits of an EV still realised if you are charging off the grid? Yes! According to research from the journal Nature Sustainability, research from the Netherlands and England found that EV’s charged by coal fueled power stations still produce fewer emissions overall than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.  The other consideration to be made is, ‘compared to what’ and in Australia the EV’s assessment needs to be made compared to the current cars Australian’s are driving – which is a high share of large-engine, high-end vechicles, meaning the switch to EV’s would see a dramatic impact on overall emissions. There are opportunities for EV owners to further impact their EV’s footprint through charging their vehicles at home using solar power.

There are other ways that EV’s are creating more sustainble and eco focused transport with EV’s also leaning toward better manufacturing practices and materials. This includes Nissan’s ‘Leaf’ of which the interior and bodywork are partly made out of green materials such as recycled water botles, plastic bags and old carparts. The eco and sustainble focus is also realised in the BMW i3 with materials used in the interior including recycled PET bottles and kenaf (regenerative hibiscus plant), the manufacturer has also extended their sustainbility model to their production, for example with their plant in Leipzig being largely operated off on site wind turbines.

Whilst Range Anxiety is a very real experience for some EV owners in the past we are happy to report that the technology is only steadily progressing in this regard with the Tesla Model X now capable of over 500km per full charge, meaning that EV’s are now comparable with ICE vehicles when it comes to range. The real challenge here is mindset, planning your trips for charger availability and knowing your options for when you are out and about. There are apps though that collate this information for you and allow you to properly plan your trips without having to worry about where and when you can charge.

Whilst Australia is behind many other nations when it comes to subsidies for EV owners, there are still some opportunities that exist across the states, these include:

ACT : Stamp duty is waived, 20% discount on registration for EVs, battery and solar incentives

Victoria : EV’s are exempt from the Luxury vehicle rate of stamp duty, $100 annual discount on vehicle registration

QLD : Discount on stamp duty, battery and solar incentives

SA : Battery and solar incentives

NSW : Small discount on registration costs

WA : Energy provider backed discounts on home electricity

Federal : Small Scale renewable energy scheme (financial incentive for individuals and small business to install small scale renewable energy systems e.g. solar panel systems)

Feeling Electric Vehicle curious? We aren’t surprised, with the UK Government progressing at a rapid rate to promote EV’s and discourage ICE vehicles we are wondering if Australia will follow (slowly) in their footsteps. The time has never been better to explore EV for your new car lease – here are some specials to wet your appetite!