Owning an Electric Vehicle

Don’t own an electric vehicle? Find out more about EVs and how they work.

How electric vehicles work

Stepping on the accelerator in an electric car controls the flow of electricity to the vehicles electric motor. Unlike a conventional car there is no combustion or dangerous fumes. The power for the motor is stored in large batteries in the car that need to be recharged much like your mobile phone.

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xray view of bmw i3

Electric vehicle batteries

EV batteries from major manufacturers often come with an eight year warranty, with some reference to individual cell failures and overall capacity loss. A vehicle’s useful range can reasonably be expected to drop by about 20% after eight years. If degradation is due to a cell failure, then it is more likely the cell will be replaced, not the whole battery. The technology is ever improving, so these figures are likely to continue to improve.

EV battery
bmw i3 charging

Why purchase an EV

  1. The technology
  2. The performance of the electric motor
  3. It's cheap to run and zero maintenance
  4. Fuel security - you don't have to import foreign oil to power your transport
  5. There are no tailpipe emissions so the environment is a beneficiary of your decision. 

  6. (Courtesy of Australian Electric Vehicle Association)

Electric vehicles on the markets

The plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Audi A3 e-tron are available from the dealers.

Generally speaking, any new battery electric vehicle rolling off a production line in 2016 will have at least 30 kW of battery, indicating at least 200 km of real-world range. The Tesla 70 kWh series will offer over 300 km of range, while the 90 kWh series is somewhere close to 500 km per charge. The cars are getting lighter and generally, (hopefully) cheaper.

For more information and reviews, visit My Electric Car or subscribe to updates for EV technology at InsideEVs, Charged EVs or Green Car Reports.

Connecting with other EV owners

If you want to connect with other EV owners, the Australian Electric Vehicle Association has a forum.

Community of owners

Driving to conserve power

Check out our eco driving tips, many of which apply to EVs. Be conscious of the things below as these can be altered to reduce power and maximise kilometres per charge:

  • Speed – the faster you drive, the more energy you use. Wind resistance increases exponentially the faster you travel and is made worse driving into a headwind. If possible, reduce your speed a bit and you will go further.
  • Vehicle weight -the more heavily laden your vehicle, the more inertia you need to overcome to get it moving.
  • Tyre pressure – the more deflated your tyres (made worse with a heavy load), the more friction on the road surface. Make sure your tyres are inflated correctly.
  • Weather - colder weather will reduce range as the battery is less efficient at low temperatures, sometimes by as much as 15%. Pre-conditioning the car as it charges in the hours before leaving in the morning can help limit this effect.
Electric car power plug
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