When does buying an EV make sense and when does it not?

The Electric Vehicle revolution is here – or is it? According to online finance broker Savvy in their comprehensive overview of the state of EV sales around the world, nearly ten million battery electric vehicles were sold worldwide last year, with two million in China and one million in the United States. 

Despite the upward trajectory of EV sales around the world, governments are feeling the pinch of inflation and deficit spending, reining in subsidies for EV purchases and establishing further infrastructure.  

As Australia is 7.7 million km² long and wide, buying an EV with a range of fewer than 400km also looks like a dud buy considering a lack of ideally spaced charging stations.

So, when does buying an EV make sense – and when doesn’t it? Here are some factors to consider.

How far do you drive?

There’s no skirting around the fact there are way more petrol stations out there than fast-charging stations. Even some of the longest range EVs, such as the Kia EV6 has a 528km range, may not be enough for people living in rural or regional areas to reach where they need to go and then back again in one trip. For those living in inner city or metropolitan areas, where charging stations are slightly more abundant, it makes more sense. Though the big factor is home charging.

Can you install a home charger?

If you have solar power and are able to install a home EV charger, buying an EV almost seems like a no brainer. The cost savings will be significant, and if you leave your EV charging overnight, you’ll always have enough juice to jet off worry free every morning. If you can’t, waiting hours in odd locations to charge your car will get old pretty fast. If your workplace offers charging, it might be worth it – but what happens on the weekend or holidays?

Does your household already have a car?

This applies to both EVs and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles – can your household afford another car? Cars are “money pits” at the best of times, and will consume some sort of fuel, need insurance, maintenance, and registration every year. You’ll also have to service any loan repayments. If the cost of running one is stretching the budget, you already have your answer.

Price versus cost

As of 2024, looking at a list of EVs and ICE cars will reveal that the petrol/diesel variant will have a lower sticker price. It’s simply due to manufacturing economies of scale. However, EVs will eventually pay for themselves in fuel and maintenance savings. With fuel and power prices climbing, electricity will still get you further on a single charge than an equivalent full tank of petrol. Maintenance costs can also be 70% cheaper than ICE vehicles due to an EV having fewer moving parts. Some states also offer rebates, such as WA giving $3,500 rebates for sub-$70,000 EV purchases.

Weigh up the options – what’s best for you and your family? Remember to ask an expert if you’re unsure.