How much does the electricity cost for an electric car?

Jacob Joseph 8 January 2016

ElectricCar

The amount of money you need to run an electric car.

Petrol-operated cars are becoming more and more expensive with rising petrol prices. Now a new player is making an emergence into the market - the electric vehicle (EV). Petrol prices are actually the highest ongoing cost of running a car and it can have a serious impact on the income of a household.

General cost of electricity for an EV

The cost of electricity for an EV varies according to set prices, location and the capacity of the vehicle’s batteries. If it takes 18 kWh of energy to travel 100 kms, and the average price of electricity is $0.25 in Australia, it will cost $4.50 to travel that distance.

In comparison, petrol cars are not nearly as cost efficient as an EV. For every 100 kilometres covered, petrol cars use 11.1 litres of fuel on average. With petrol at $1.50 per litre, 100 kilometres would cost you $16.65.

EVs are very economical and energy efficient. The most inexpensive fuel cost of all engines belongs to the EVs.

Depending on the model you drive, it is estimated that a journey that consists of 150 kilometres may cost four to five dollars in total.

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Cost of electricity by state

The table below is a representative market offer price and total bills for a range of consumption levels. It was supplied by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).

StateLow consumption (2,500 kWh)High consumption (9,500 kWh)
cents per kWh | $ per annumcents per kWh | $ per annum
South Australia36.68               | $91731.84               | $3,025
South East Queensland31.98               | $80026.61               | $2,528
New South Wales36.12               | $90327.77               | $2,638
Victoria35.56               | $88925.15               | $2,389

Daily cost of running an electric car

An Australian driver typically drives 50-70 kilometres everyday if you live in a city. Using the information in the “general cost of an EV” section, the estimated cost for travelling this distance is in between $2.75 and $3.00.

When you add the cost of recharging the battery, the daily price can go up, but not that significantly. The average cost of recharging an EV battery is around $20 in Australia. So the overall daily cost of running an EV is significantly lower than a standard petrol car.

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So if EV is way cheaper, should I switch to an EV?

This is really not about if you should switch to EV, but when will you inevitably switch to an EV. With the decline in fossil fuels, there is no question that the EV is the way of the future, but is it here yet, or do we wait a little longer?

Last year in Australia, 1130 electric cars were sold and although that figure is well up from the 2013 figure of 292, there are still several reasons why the EV isn’t igniting in Australia.

The base-load power comes from coal and gas-fired power stations in Australia. The lack of infrastructure that supports the EV system such as charging stations has not been properly utilised.

In order for EVs to become more popular in Australia, the infrastructure environment needs to change and adapt to be able to host a higher number of EVs.

So although the future will be made up of EVs and petrol cars will come to an end, in the foreseeable future, there is no rush to switch to an electronic car.

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