EV cars are the future for now while Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car manufacturers are still developing and refining their car technology.
In a recent announcement abcnews/Technology/electric696 from General motors one of the leading automobile manufacturers of the world, announced that they had set a goal of making the vast majority of the vehicles it produces electric by 2035. It will offer 30 all-electric models worldwide by the middle of the decade.
We don’t know if it is a bit too late, as Chinese automakers have been striving to make EV cars since 2014 and has already made huge strides into this sector with government subsidies supporting them.
Wall Street has cheered the shift by GM which says the industry has reached a history-changing inflection point for mass adoption of electric vehicles. Australia might benefit from this move if the US decides to source resources for batteries from local lithium and mineral companies over here.
Sales for electric cars have been growing substantially over the last 12 months, with figures sourced by the Electric Vehicle Council (EV Council) showing 6,718 fully electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars were sold in Australia in 2019.
This is a 203% jump from the 2,216 sold in the previous year. China is leading the change into EV with the mass production of cars and bus with EV capacity.
Let us look at some of the options available to us here in Australia
Top Small EV Cars Australia
- BMW i3
- Hyundai Kona Electric(2019) & Hyundai Ioniq Electric (2020)
- Nissan Leaf (2019)
- Tesla Model 3 (2020)
- Nissan Leaf
- Mini Cooper SE Hatch
- Porsche Taycan
The BMW I3 is a compact hybrid or all-electric with a 260 km all-electric range and less than 200 total horsepower. It can go more than 260km with petrol.
MSRP: From AU$71,900
Range: 260 km battery-only
Maximum power: 135 kW
Battery: 42.2 kWh 352 V lithium-ion
Kerb weight: 1,290 kg
Transmission: 1-speed automatic
The BMW i3 has different EV models with different capacity and horsepower within the i3 range.
Charging the i3 can be done via a regular household plug which will take around 19.5 hours to charge the battery to 80%. BMW has redesigned its Wallbox which can charge the i3 to 80% capacity in 3.2 hours. Using a 50kW DC outlet will get it done in 42 minutes
Hyundai Kona Electric
The refreshed 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric has been unveiled recently. With the new Upgrades to Hyundai’s Smart Sense safety suite, it includes Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA), Safe Exit Warning (SEW), and Rear Seat Alert (RSA).
Already existing features were forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection (FCA-Ped), Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go (SCC w/ S&G), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW) and Driver Attention Warning (DAW).
A nice little upgrade is that passengers in the second row now also benefit from a USB port of their own.
The Kona uses regenerative braking which is a system that captures kinetic energy during deceleration, storing it in the battery so it can be used as electricity to power the electric motor. This system is used in many electric cars today.
The updated Hyundai Kona Electric is due in Australia sometime in the first half of 2021 until then you have the 2020 model if you’re keen. Hyundai also has the Ioniq Electric (2020) which is a 5-seater sedan.
Hyundai’s Kona Electric Elite has been named RACV’s EV of the Year for 2020, under $65,000.
MSRP: From AU$60,740
Range: 557 km battery-only
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 7.6 seconds
Make: Hyundai Motor Company
Dimensions: 4,180 mm L x 1,800 mm W x 1,570 mm H
Approximate model prices
Elite – AU$60,740
Highlander – AU$65,290
Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 made available in Australia in August 2019 for $66,000 AUD is Australia’s most popular electric vehicle accounting for 70% of EV sales in 2019. While most teslas are made in US, the 2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus and Long Range sold in Australia will now be made in China.
The tesla Model3 is a mid-range car. You can the tesla in different configurations like standard range, long range and performance and is priced accordingly.
The entry-level 2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus starts from $66,900, while the mid-spec Model 3 Long Range now starts at $81,900 plus ORCs, and the top-spec Model 3 Performance is priced from $90,900
MSRP: From AU$66,900
Warranty: 4 yr/unlimited mi
Range: 508 to 657 km battery-only
Dimensions: 4,694 mm L x 1,849 mm W x 1,443 mm H
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 3.3 to 5.6 seconds
Tesla has 30+ charging stations around Australia and you can install a charger at your home for overnight charging. They have app to let you know when your car is done charging.
At the time of writing the silver wall charging equipment coats $780 and you will need an electrician to install it. The mobile connector which allows you to use a standard power outlet to charge your car costs comes with your car (but charges at low speeds)
MG Motor’s new ZS EV (SUV)
The Chinese-owned brand sold 268 all-electric version of its ZS compact SUV in 2021 to date after it debuted in late 2020.
Priced from $40,990 before on-road costs (or $43,990 drive away), the ZS EV undercuts many other models with battery-electric offerings. Renault’s compact Zoe hatchback is priced from $50,040, but was recently discontinued in Australia.
The ZS EV is fitted with a 44.5-kilowatt battery and has a driving range of 263 kilometres
MG Motor reckons it will sell about 3000 ZS EVs next year, which would make it one of the top-selling EVs in the country.
The Nissan leaf 40KWH car is available right now in Australia with a driveway price from $53,190. It’s got a 100% electric motor and comes with an 8 year/160,000km battery warranty.
The Leaf can be plugged into any standard Australian 240V electrical socket. With a Type 2 charging unit installed, the LEAF can reach full charge in 7.5 hours, so you can charge overnight and drive with 270km of range.
IT’S got a well laid out and straightforward dashboard with all your infotainment needs and has Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™
Charging times and km range will differ from model to model.
- 2020 Nissan LEAF ZE1
- 2019 Nissan LEAF ZE1
MSRP: From AU$49,990
Range: 315 km battery-only
Battery: 40 kWh 350 V lithium-ion
Warranty: 5 yr/unlimited mi
Battery charge time: 21h at 220V
Public charging stations offer CHAdeMO charging, a fast-charging system that charges the LEAF’s battery from 20% to 80% in just 60 minutes.
The Nissan Leaf, has a ‘Turtle Mode’ which is created when you run out of battery to push you to get an extra few mile before the battery completely dies.
Mini Cooper SE Hatch
The three-door Mini Cooper SE Hatch shares its electric powertrain with parent company BMW’s i3
Its priced at $54,800 before on-road costs and includes standard features like wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay, 8.8-inch display with sat-nav and voice recognition, 5.5-inch digital cluster, 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, head-up display.
It has an eight year/100,000 kilometres battery warranty.
Porsche Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S 2020 are the two new electric models from the Porsche stable. Porsche has sold 51 Taycans, which start at $191,000 before on-roads, and for which deliveries to customers commenced in late February.
It is no slouch on the speed with the electric vehicle completing the 0-100 dash in a claimed 4 seconds flat – 0.2 seconds faster than the equivalent 911.
Honda wants two thirds of its sales to be electrified in some way by the end of 2030, while Audi, Jaguar, Volvo and Volkswagen will all have a substantial proportion of their vehicles powered by electrons during the next decade. Gas stations or service centres might disappear in the near future to accommodate EV charging stations.
According to KIA “No oil to change, no engine to manage, with fewer parts to wear down, electric cars are cost-efficient and easier to maintain than internal combustion engine vehicles.”
Audi E- Tron, Mercedes Benz EQC, jaguar I pace,
Renault Zoe, Volvo Xc60, Mini country man Hybrid.
Environmental aspects of electric cars
Electric cars have some disadvantages, such as: Reliance on rare-earth elements such as neodymium, lanthanum, terbium, and dysprosium, and other critical metals such as lithium and cobalt, though the quantity of rare metals used differs per car.
Can you tow an electric car?
On the off chance you do run out of electricity, contact your breakdown provider and ask for a flatbed truck to take you to a nearby charging station. Electric vehicles shouldn’t be towed with a rope or lift, as this can damage the traction motors that generate electricity through regenerative braking.
If you need to push the car to safety, there’s no power steering. There’s still a traditional car battery on board though, so there’s power to light up the hazard warning lights
Tesla and Renault, for example, advise owners to only use a flatbed truck for recovery. However, Nissan says that the latest Leaf can be towed with the front wheels raised, as this avoids damaging the traction motor. However, a flatbed is always the safest choice.
This is what happens when your battery is dead when you are driving a Nissan leaf https://leasing.com/car-leasing-news/what-happens-when-you-run-out-of-battery-in-electric-car/
How much charging an EV costs you?
You also can work from the total kilowatt-hours it takes to recharge the EV’s battery. If an EV requires 40 kWh to recharge a fully depleted battery, and the rate is 18 cents per kWh, that’s $7.20 for a fill-up.
The costs to you will depend on what you get charged from your electricity provider as calculated above. If you decide to charge from an outside charging station the cost could obliviously differ based on what they charge.
Difference between AC and DC charging?
AC charging points are slower and require you to BYO charging cable, while DC charging sites are faster and usually come equipped with a cable that plugs into your car.
The two most popular charging types in Australia are CCS and ChaDeMo. CCS combines the AC and DC charging inputs into one plug, while ChaDeMo is DC-only and requires a secondary AC charge point.
These are also different types of AC sockets referenced as Type 1 and Type 2.
Approximate calculated charging times for different charging methods.
Wall socket (2.4kW) = 24+ hours
Home wall box (3-11kW) = 7-12 hours
Public AC charging (7-22kW) = 4-7 hours
Public DC fast/rapid charging (25-150kW) = 1-2 hours
Public DC ultra-rapid/high-powered charging (150-350kW) = 20 – 60 minutes
How long does EV batteries last?
Most EV manufacturers have a five to eight-year warranty on their battery. However, the current prediction is that an electric car battery will last from 10 – 20 years before they need to be replaced.
EV cars and insurance
Electric cars have fewer moving parts than petrol and diesel cars. Some components like the lithium-ion batteries are very expensive to repair if damaged. Insurance providers take this into account when calculating premiums and it can be more expensive than normal car insurance premiums.
Cons of owing an Electric car
- Electric cars have a shorter range than gas-powered cars.
- Recharging the battery takes time.
- More expensive than petrol-powered cars.
Car servicing with EV cars
Despite requiring little maintenance compared to gas-powered cars, EVs do still require regular maintenance, particularly for the braking system. There is similar maintenance requirements for lights, cabin filtration, suspension, tire rotation, body repairs, and windshield wiper blades for EV’s vs regular petrol/diesel cars.
Electric cars use completely different drivetrains, so you will not have to worry about routine oil changes that are necessary for traditional cars.
Government Rebates and Discounts for Electric cars
While electric cars can attract Luxury Car Tax some states do offer rebates for EV cars. In the ACT new EVs pay $0 stamp duty for the car purchase as well as a 20 per cent discount on registration.
In Victoria EVs are exempt from regular ‘luxury vehicle stamp duty and instead EV owners pay $8.40 per $200 of the market value of the vehicle, instead off $18. $100 off annual rego.
In Queensland both EVs and hybrids pay a reduced stamp duty – $2 per $100 up to $100K and $4 per $100 for anything over $100K. Regular ‘polluting vehicles’ pay up to $6 per $100 in stamp duty.
It’s expected that Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) will reach cost parity with Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Vehicles by 2025.
Chinese EV Car Brands
While Chinese car makers were once known for knock offs of luxury brand cars, the EV market has brought some change to Auto makers in china.
Three Chinese car makers Nio, Xpeng and Li auto have been forging ahead with their EV car releases. All three of them are listed on the US stock exchange. Among these Li Autos – Li One is a electric car, however it also has a fuel tank that helps charge the inbuilt EV battery if needed to get extra kms and range from the vehicle.
What about Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles cars?
Toyota and Hyundai are putting money into this concept as more people start to accept it as an alternative fuel source apart from lithium battery technology.
20 Hyundai Nexo FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles) are to be trialled by the ACT government as part of a wind farm deal
Toyota recently unveiled a sleeker and longer-traveling version of Mirai, its flagship hydrogen-powered car.
What Is An FCEV?
In its simplest form, an FECV is a plug-less electric vehicle. The FCEV fuel is compressed hydrogen rather than gasoline. The fuel cell system combines the stored hydrogen with oxygen from the air, and the result is electric current, heat, and water. A FCEV generates its own electricity from hydrogen and oxygen emitting only water vapours. A fill-up takes approximately five minutes at one of the hydrogen fuelling stations.
Recalls EV CARS
EV’s available in Australia – https://electricvehiclecouncil.com.au/about-ev/evs-available/
Calculator – Select your current car and compare it to a range of electric cars available today https://www.ergon.com.au/network/smarter-energy/electric-vehicles/calculator