Should you buy an electric car now? Should you eat cold vomit? Similar questions but we will, with the help of an all-star international panel, try to answer the more palatable question today.
We did ask the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC), the national body representing the electric vehicle industry, to join in but at the time of writing they’d gone as quiet as a battery-driven BMW. However, we’ve included stuff from their website.
Why buy a fully electric vehicle?
The EVC says they are fun to drive, have a lower total cost of ownership, are convenient, have less maintenance, are good for the environment and give you fuel security.
We prefer the answers from Giles Parkinson, the owner and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au and The Driven, Australia’s, if not the world’s, most trusted website for news, analysis and information about electric vehicles. And he owns and drives an all-electric car. And I surf with him at Byron Bay. That says it all really.
Why buy an EV, Giles? “Well, if you bought one you wouldn’t need to ask these questions! At the high end of market Porsche Taycans and top-end electric Mercs are outselling their petrol versions and they don’t cost any more.”
What about resale? “If you can buy an EV, like a Tesla, right at this moment, you can probably sell it at a profit pretty quick.”
And low range? “Range anxiety is overdone. If you are happy to stop for a cup of tea every few hours, then no problem. Ultra-fast charging times means 10-20 minute stops. As a guide, a couple of weeks ago I drove a Tesla Model Y, back from innerwest Sydney through Saturday traffic to Byron. Left at 12.30, arrived before 10pm.”
But isn’t the cost of replacing batteries as high as the crowd at Cheeky Monkeys on a Saturday night? “Don’t worry about cost of replacing batteries. Bit like asking about the cost of replacing a petrol engine.”
And charging? “Still a hassle if you don’t have off-street charging. I would recommend Tesla only in that case … more options … but that’s starting to change. But chances are you won’t be able to get your hands on an EV for months anyway.”
So, the arguments against EVs are range anxiety, cost of replacing batteries, charging time and availability of chargers, no standard plug and battery replacement costs.
There’s also the reality that most Australians aren’t ready to buy all electric – there’s simply not enough batteries being made (which will increasingly become a serious brake on EV production) and our domestic grid can’t cope now, let alone if 100,000 cars started demanding power every night. On top of that, if you are into geopolitics, the bad news is, most of the things needed to make EVs come from China.
EV drivers are also not immune from the rising cost of power as we have seen in the UK. This week, Britain’s Royal Automobile Club warned drivers that EVs could be more expensive to run than petrol equivalents from this October. The cost of a full charge at home for an EV with a 64 kilowatt hour battery – such as a Kia e-Niro – will be $60 under the new cap that comes into force on October 1.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “The impact of the energy price cap increase will certainly be felt by drivers who charge their electric cars at home, with a full charge of a typical family-sized electric SUV costing 84 per cent more from October 1 than it does under the current cap. Despite recent falls in the price of petrol and diesel, the cost of charging at home is still good value compared to paying for either fuel, but again underlines just how the rising cost of electricity is affecting so many areas of people’s lives.
“We’re also aware that public charge point operators are having no choice but to increase their prices to reflect the rising wholesale costs, which will heavily impact drivers who have no choice other than to charge up away from home.”
Then there’s the environmental questions.
Joann Muller, transport writer for US news website Axios, quotes the CEO of Toyota Research Institute, Gill Pratt, saying “it takes a lot of energy to make a battery, and a lot of carbon is emitted in the process” and most EV owners are “dragging around expensive bricks” because they don’t need 500km of battery capacity weighing down their car.
Even the RAC goes a little quiet on how EV batteries are made.
In China, Japan and South Korea, coal powers the factories that make them. If you charge EV batteries in Australia, 70 per cent of the time you are charging them with carbon.
And the reality is, if you have to replace a battery, it’s $50k for a standard BMW and $50k for a Porker. And if there’s something wrong with the engine it will probably be replaced. My recommendation is right now, don’t buy an all-electric EV, but if you can, buy a run-of-the-mill hybrid. Although my dream car is the V8, 370kW, Corvette Stingray.
Not much electric at Monterey. RM sold the one of two 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spiders by Scaglietti, as driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and Carroll Shelby, for $32m. Princess Di’s black RS Turbo Series 1 with stealth makeover sold for $1.2m. RM is selling 42 IndyCars for the old Newman (as in movie star Paul) Haas racing team at the team’s Global HQ in Lincolnshire, Illinois at the end of October. Bad news for smokers, Marlboro is ending its McLaren sponsorship. Crap sponsor but gee the name looked super on Brocky’s old cars.
And in the F1 soapy, the Hamster suffered a “vertical load” impact of 45G when he ran up the tail of Ferdy Alonso’s Alpine on the second lap of last Sunday’s race in Belgium.
This weekend we’re in clogland (Why do all the Dutch have a speedboat? To get to the bread before the ducks do) where the big question is: will Red Bull continue to be in a league of its own? Or can Fezzer and the Merc team come back?