The cost of running an EV


There are plenty of reasons to choose an electric vehicle (EV) instead of a petrol or diesel model, and while the environmental impact, future-proofing your mobility and 'doing the right thing' may all be worth weighing up, the running costs of EVs can also be much more affordable.

Before you consider the ongoing costs, however, it needs to be stated that the outright purchase cost of an electric vehicle still represents a sizeable jump over what you would pay for an internal-combustion engine (ICE) model.

But once the car is in your driveway, you can start saving money compared to an ICE vehicle, so long as you establish the infrastructure to do so.

the cost of running an electric vehicle

Charging at home will save you money

If you charge at home, it's going to be considerably more affordable than if you use public charging. In some instances, you may pay 10 to 11 times more for publicly available electricity at a charging station than if you were to charge at home or work.

The cost savings are even more substantial if you have solar and a battery system installed at your home or office, in which case you might be able to refuel your EV for little to no cost at all.

But even if you end up charging at a peak time at home, you are likely to only pay, on average, $0.34/kWh of energy (based on NSW supply data).

To put that into perspective, if you think about the cost per 100km, you might end up paying about $5.75 in an EV with decent energy efficiency like a BMW iX1 eDrive20 (16.9kWh per 100km).

Compare that to a very fuel-efficient petrol SUV like the entry-level X1 sDrive18i (6.5 litres per 100km) with an average fuel cost of $2.09 per litre, and you are looking at about $13.59 for a hundred kilometres.

Servicing costs will be lower

EVs have fewer moving parts. Not having an ICE means fewer ongoing issues with friction, wear and tear, general ongoing maintenance requirements, and other shortcomings that end up costing a lot to fix.

Cars and SUVs with electric motors still require maintenance, and it is recommended that you maintain them regularly to ensure smooth sailing.

However, because there are fewer things to keep oily and a lower potential for catastrophic (and often unexpected) failures of powertrain components, EVs tend to be much more affordable to service - often hundreds of dollars less per service.

EVs also tend to have longer servicing intervals - instead of having to go in for a workshop visit once or twice a year, certain electric models only need check-ups every 24 months or 30,000km.

Brakes are another potential cost saving in an EV versus an ICE because electric models use regenerative braking to recoup potentially lost energy and feed it back to the battery pack, meaning the car's friction brake pads and rotors generally won't wear down as quickly.

Insurance is a consideration

Running an EV might be more affordable, but you'd be wise to funnel some of those savings towards your comprehensive insurance.

The Insurance Council of Australia says the costs of insuring EVs is still relatively high due to a slow consumer uptake, a shortage of parts, a lack of expertise around repairs of EVs, and that these high-tech vehicles come with technologies that can be costly to repair.

"The challenges surrounding repair of electric vehicles in Australia and the fact that the industry is relatively nascent, creates challenges for insurers and has flow-on effects for consumers," the Council said in its National Electric Vehicle Strategy consultation paper.

While it is difficult to put a specific figure on the relative added expense for a consumer, it is advisable to contact your preferred insurer to check the costs before you take delivery of your electric vehicle. No one likes bill shock.

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Matt Campbell has been an automotive journalist and content creator for 15 years. He specialises in new car reviews, video content and news, and has his own YouTube channel, The Right Car?. On average, Matt has owned one car for each year he's had a licence, and he's based out of the lower Blue Mountains in NSW.
Peter Evans
April 12, 2024 3.10pm

A big consideration is the resale value of EV's. Apparently it performs badly in this area and that represents a substantial cost in owning an EV.

tim timtim
April 12, 2024 3.54pm

hi matt what is the best ev?

Zoe Davey
April 12, 2024 5.04pm

This is a puff piece. Need real figures to make a good comparison. The problem with EV is the initial cost plus the running costs. To save my charging at home depends on where you are in Australia and also there is a substantial outlay to have solar battery.

Robert Wilkinson
April 13, 2024 11.30am

Instead of "cherry picking", how about calculating the cost from "go to whoa"?

David Money
April 14, 2024 7.49pm

Will an ev increase home insurance. Have heard tyres wear down quickly and correct tires are very expensive. How much is a Tesla tyre worth