If you’re looking to buy your first electric vehicle, you might be interested to learn how best to set yourself and your home up ahead of your purchase.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are slowly but surely becoming more accessible in Australia, with 28 models now available for purchase – seven more than in 2019.
According to the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia’s (EVC) State of Electric Vehicles 2020 report, of the 28 models available, 12 are battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and 16 are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
The report shows that six new electric vehicles are expected to be on the road by the end of 2021, five of which will be BEVs, and one PHEV.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Volkswagen Group’s chief executive, Herbert Diess, said “the future will be electric in the passenger car world for sure”.
“That’s pretty clear now. This train is moving. It’s gaining speed and getting momentum. We are preparing for this world.”
While choosing an EV that suits your lifestyle and your budget might be the fun part, it’s important to also consider what else you might need to prepare and what your financing options are.
What do I need to prepare for an electric vehicle?
The most obvious difference you’ll notice when trading in a petrol or diesel vehicle for an EV, is that you if you’re low on fuel (or charge, in this case), you can’t simply wait until you spot the next petrol station sign in the distance to “top up”.
EVs require electricity to be recharged, and owners have a few options that they may ultimately alternate between to do so, depending on their situation at the given time.
According to EVC’s State of EVs 2020 report, there is significant private sector investment underway in public EV charging infrastructure in Australia, with 357 fast and ultrafast charging stations at 157 locations now installed across Australia, and many more planned.
Current Australian EV fast charging networks include:
- Evie Networks
- Queensland Electric Super Highway
- RAC Electric Highway
While the number of rapid charging stations available to the public are increasing (mostly in places of interest such as in shopping centre car parks, hotels and the like), it’s not recommended that you rely on these alone to charge your car.
Most publicly accessible EV charging stations will charge for usage by either requiring users to be members, and/or charging a fee for use. Not to mention they are not as convenient as a home charger.
You can search for public charging station locations in Australia on various websites such as the Transport for NSW website which features an interactive map powered by PlugShare.
Installing a home charging station
The most convenient and logical place to charge your EV is at home, specifically overnight when you generally won’t have any need to use it. It can take significantly longer to recharge an EV with an at-home charger than with a public fast charger, but it will reach full charge overnight.
Installing EV charging infrastructure at home can be fairly straight forward, and you may be able to take out a personal loan to help with the cost if you come up short.
Installing solar panels
While EVs might eliminate the cost of filling up with petrol, they still use electricity to recharge, and increased use of electricity at home will likely mean increased energy bills as well. Unless, of course, your rooftop solar panels are generating it.
Whether you have rooftop solar at home or have been considering having it installed, there are a couple of ways you could use it to help power your EV, including:
- Charging your vehicle during daylight hours – While less convenient for many, charging your EV during the day while the sun is shining on your rooftop solar could mean using next to no energy from the grid, as long as it is generating the same or more energy than is required.
- Use battery storage – A home battery storage system can store unused solar power that is generated during the day and can be used to charge your EV at night. Keep in mind, however, that a battery system will be an expense that is additional to solar panels.
If you are yet to install rooftop solar at home or are looking at add to your existing system to make up for the additional energy you may require, you might be interested in learning about your financing options. Some lenders offer green personal loan products specifically designed for the purpose of making energy-efficient upgrades to your home – like installing rooftop solar.
Often, green personal loans have more competitive interest rates than standard personal loans as lenders incentivise borrowers to make environmentally conscious decisions.
Comparing green car loan options
Similarly, many loan providers also offer green car loan products especially for borrowers who intend to buy an EV, including BEVs, PHEVs and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
Again, this kind of loan product will often have more competitive interest rates available than a standard car loan.
RateCity’s car loan leaderboard ranks the top five green car loans using Real Time Ratings™, a world-first rating system that ranks products as you use the site, making them as up to date as possible.
Buying an electric vehicle can be a significant cost to begin with, so it’s important to ensure you have the means to either cover the cost of the car outright or comfortably afford regular car finance repayments before thinking about taking on additional loans.
For information specific to your individual needs, consider reaching out to a personal finance broker or financial adviser.