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Back to the future: 45% of Australians would consider buying an electric car


Australia's interest in electric cars is accelerating, new Finder research reveals.

A new nationally representative Finder survey of 872 Australian drivers has revealed that almost half (45%) would consider purchasing an electric vehicle as their next car.

According to the research, 27% of these drivers are interested in purchasing an electric car because they are better for the planet, while 14% cited fuel efficiency as their top reason.

The remaining 4% would consider buying an electric vehicle because they like the way they look.

Electric car sales in Australia tripled in 2019 from 2,216 to 6,718. In the first half of 2020, 3,226 electric vehicles were also sold, despite a 20% reduction in overall new vehicle sales due to COVID-19.

Yet electric vehicles account for just 0.6% of all new sales in Australia, whereas this number increases to around 2.5%-5% of all vehicles in other developed countries.

Taylor Blackburn, insurance specialist at Finder, said electric vehicles will likely increase in popularity over the next few years.

"According to the Electric Vehicle Council, it costs $0.33 per e-litre to run an electric car versus $1.50 per litre on fuel for a combustion engine.

"If the average person drives 11,100 kilometres per year, it will cost them $407 in an electric car and $1,848 in a regular car.

"That's a difference of $1,441 – equivalent to a 354% saving for electric vehicle owners.

"We may see an increasing number of people purchasing electric cars as the potential for fuel savings catches on," Blackburn said.

Yet not everyone is open to purchasing an electric vehicle, according to Finder.

The survey found that cost remains a major deterrent for 17% of drivers, while 18% would simply prefer a car with a combustible engine.

Around 4% said they wouldn't consider purchasing an electric car because they have nowhere to charge it.

Blackburn said insurance for an electric vehicle is generally more expensive than for conventional cars, but there are still ways to save money.

"Some insurers like RAC will offer discounts for cars with low fuel emissions. Under the RAC scheme, cars under a year old could see a premium reduction of up to 25%.

"We may also begin to see the price of electric vehicles begin to drop over the coming years as they become more mainstream," Blackburn said.

Would you consider purchasing an electric vehicle for your next car?

Response% of drivers
Yes, because it is better for the planet27%
No, I prefer conventional cars18%
No, they are too expensive17%
I haven't thought about it17%
Yes, because they save on petrol14%
No, I don't have anywhere to charge it4%
Yes, because I like how they look4%

Source: Finder, January 2021 survey of 872 Australian drivers

Things to consider before purchasing an electric vehicle:

  • Affordability. In Australia, the cost of an electric car ranges from around $68,000–$146,000 according to RACQ. Weekly on-road costs (including registration, fuel, insurance, license and RACQ membership) will generally set you back between $58 and $65 per week.
  • Charging options. Make sure your vehicle is compatible with any public charging options near you or comes with a connector compatible with public infrastructure. You also have the option to install a home EV charger, which is generally under $1,000, or use rooftop solar.
  • The battery's condition and warranty. You may incur a loss of range for your electric vehicle after around five years or more. Make sure to go over any warranty clauses with a fine-tooth comb so you know your rights as a consumer.
  • The vehicle's range: Electric cars generally offer a range of around 130-160 kilometres. If you drive more than 100 km per day or regularly need to take longer trips, you may want to reconsider your purchase.

You can find and compare the right electric car with Finder. Visit our Electric Car Reviews hub to find out more.

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