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REVOLUTION

The EV revolution is underway.
Subscribe to our fortnightly curated Electric Vehicles newsletter, and stay informed of the latest news, developments, projects, and analysis within the Australian market (and beyond).

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A newsletter for the EV-curious

REVOLUTION is a fortnightly, independent, curated EV newsletter, focused on Australia.
Just enough information to stay informed, not too much to be overwhelmed.

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Incentives

NSW EV Rebate

Thinking of getting an EV? Now's the time!
Take advantage of the EV Rebate and Stamp Duty waiver on eligible EVs in NSW.

 

 

EV FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Things you never knew you wanted or needed to know.

General

Electric vehicles are cars or other vehicles that are propelled by an electric motor powered by electrical energy stored in a rechargeable battery.

Electric vehicles don't use petrol or diesel and don't have exhausts spewing out air pollution or generate engine noise.
You can charge your vehicle at home (while you sleep) or at a public charging station (while you shop).
They require much less maintenance that a conventional ICE vehicle, as an electric motor has far fewer moving parts and dont need engine oil or transmission fluid changes. You less often need to replace break pads, as the electric motor is used to slow down the vehicle instead of the breaks. Because there's no engine noise and vibrations and no fumes, because the battery is mounted underfloor with a low centre of gravity, and because electric motors offer instant torque, the driving experience is far superior, even for the cheapest EV models.

The main disadvantage (at the moment) of electric vehicles is the shorter driving range and relative long charging time (as compared to filling up at a petrol station).
However, most people's daily commute would be far below the range of any electric vehicle on sale today.
And as more public fast charging stations are being rolled out, it will soon become easier to charge to 80% percent in 25-45 minutes, the time it takes to do your weekly shopping. So in fact you're no longer loosing any time in a petrol station.
It's also true, that electric cars are still more expensive upfront, expected to reach parity with ICE vehicles by 2025. But over time, the savings in maintenance costs and no trips to the gas station (with fluctuating petrol prices) can offset that difference.
EVs are only as green as the generated electricity they use. Most public charging stations use 100% green energy though. Check with your electricity provider at home if they provide 100% green energy (if not, change provider). Or install solar panels and a home battery to charge daily for free.

Driving an electric vehicle is exactly the same as driving a conventional car with automatic transmission, but without the noisy internal combustion engine. And without any transmission, an EV is very smooth to drive with instant throttle response. The instant torque delivery of an electric motor gives strong and immediate acceleration which makes it feel faster and more premium than any ICE vehicle.

Charging

Like charging your phones from an outlet, EVs are charged by connecting a cable with plugs between a charger and the charge socket on the vehicle.
This can be done either at a public charging station or at home using a home charger or by using a standard 3-pin 10A plug charger.

This will depend on what charger is used and how much charge is needed. On a 50kW DC fast charger at a public charging station it takes approximately 45 minutes to achieve a 80% charge from zero. This can go down to 15 minutes or less on "ultra-fast" chargers (charging at 250-350kW) if your EV supports it.
For a 22kW public charger it takes approximately 2.5 hours.
For a 7kW AC installed home charger it takes 7 to 8 hours. For 10A home charger with domestic plug supplied it takes up to 30 hours.

Most EVs come with a 10A trickle charger with domestic plug which will take up to 30 hours to fully charge.
To improve home charging speed, you could invest in a 7.2kW AC single phase home charger/wall box and reduce charging times to just under 8 hours (or overnight).

Different EVs support different, standardised connectors/plugs. Most vehicles support Type 2 connector (for slow and fast charging) and CCS connector (for rapid charging).

During charging, the vehicle can be locked to protect against theft. You don't need to stay with your vehicle. As part of the charging process, the charging cable is interlocked to the car so it cannot be removed by anyone unless unlocked.

A standard wall plug, 10Amp 3 pin trickle charger is included in the price of an EV, mostly for emergency use.

EV can be charged at any charging station, if there is a compatible connector and as long as you have an account with the charge point provider (like ChargeFox).
There are some public charging stations owned by specific car manufacturers; these can only be used by vehicles from that manufacturer (for example the Tesla charging network).

Home chargers can generally come as tethered or untethered. Tethered chargers have their own cables hardwired in, while untethered units require a cable to be connected each time. It may be easier to have a tethered home charger inside a garage, but an untethered outside the home.

If your EV supports a timed charging feature, through your car's console or app, it attempts to charge the vehicle within the preferred charging time window.
For example at home, after a certain time at night when it is cheaper to charge.

Working out the cost of a battery recharge on an EV isn't as easy as looking at the sign outside a service station. The cost will vary depending on where you charge, for how long, and even at what time of day you choose to recharge.
If you charge from home, for example, the cost to fully recharge an EV is on average, less than half of what it would cost to fill up a similarly-sized ICE car.
Retail cost of power varies not only from state to state but even hour to hour.
To work out the exact cost, take the cost of a kWh of electricity and multiply it by the capacity of your EV's battery:
$0.27c x 40kWh (capacity of the EV battery) = $10.80 for 270km of range for a Nissan Leaf, or $4/100km
Prices also vary if you recharge from, for example, a ChargeFox ultra-fast charger, which provides more convenience with shorter charge times at an additional cost.
Some public chargers even charge you when you reach full charge and you don't move your vehicle within minutes.
On the other hand, some public charging at councils is free! Or if you're a NRMA member, they offer their chargers for free too (for now).

Charging rate is limited by Li-Ion battery chemistry to protect the battery from damage, only the first 80 percent can be done quickly.
The EV's battery management system (BMS) then slows the rate of the last 20% charge to fully charge the battery. This is a standard feature in all electric vehicles. You'd charge to 100% at a fast charging station when planning to do a long trip.
LFP lithium iron phosphate batteries on the other hand (like MIC Tesla M3's battery) can and should be charged to 100% at least once a week.

The locations of charging stations are available in your EV's Satellite Navigation system.
Make sure you allow system updates which could include updates to charging locations. Alternatively, there are a number of third-party smartphone applications such as the Plugshare app, which show charging station type and location, and user reviews and photos.
Then there are also applications from the charging companies themselves such as ChargeFox which can also provide live status information about charging stations such as Status, Online/Offline, In use etc.

Just like an ICE vehicle, the car will eventually stop if the tank runs out of fuel, so an electric vehicle will stop if the battery runs out of charge. The EV will provide you information about predicted range as well as increasing warning levels as the charge in the battery gets low. It will shut down non essential components (like AC or heating) and could limit the maximum speed and acceleration to increase range going into ECO mode.
When you do need towing, your vehicle may need to be placed on skates as you may not be able to moves its wheels. Check your manual.
Other EVs can actually charge while being towed (for example Rivian), which in itself is also pretty neat. In addition to your main battery, EVs also have a 12V battery, which manages the critical vehicle systems.

Technical

That depends on the size of the battery, and how efficient your EV manages its battery power. The larger the battery, the further you can get on a charge.
But in addition to the size of the battery, it also depends on how slippery the car is (a low drag coefficient), the size and weight of the vehicle, and how you drive the vehicle, not unlike an ICE vehicle.
Regenerative breaking, a heat pump and preconditioning the battery before driving off can all improve the range.

Yes, absolutely. Based on an Australian average daily driving distance surveys, most EVs have enough range to cover a week of driving on only one or two battery recharges (which could happen at home overnight).
For longer journeys, your EV's Satellite Navigation system can prevent range anxiety by helping you plan the usage of rapid charge stations for top ups on the way and increase the total journey's distance.

With ICE vehicles you use more fuel in city driving and less fuel on highways. With EV's that's the other way round.
Driving at higher speeds will reduce range (as air resistance increases exponentially with speed), while driving at city speeds is better for maximising range. Additionally, using vehicle systems such as the climate control or heating will draw energy from the battery as well and will therefore reduce range. Cold exterior temperatures can also reduce range when the battery isn't preconditioned before driving away.

When slowing down or braking, the motor can act like a generator and feeds electrical energy back into the battery.
This partially recharges the battery to maximize the EV's range. Most EVs have different levels of regeneration, so that drivers can choose the battery recharging they would like, or prefer a style of driving more akin to ICE vehicles (without the recharge).

Most current EVs uses regenerative braking to drive with just the throttle pedal in most situations, allowing for smooth acceleration and slowing. Brakes are only used in an emergency.

Compared to ICE vehicles, which has most of its weight in the front between the front wheels, EVs have their battery (the heaviest part) mounted underfloor, low and centrally between the front and back wheels, which improve handling and weight distribution.
The centre of gravity is lower in EVs improving handling in corners. Some EVs are even dual motor (or more) providing all wheel drive, further improving the handling.

An EV is equipped with a heating and ventilation system like conventional vehicles, however this is powered by electrical energy rather than taking heat from the engine. As such this also uses the main battery and could minimally diminish range on your vehicle.
Some EVs provide heated seats which takes less power to keep yourself and passengers warm.

Some EVs are equiped with a heat pump, which moves heat from the battery and drivetrain around, for example to heat up the passenger cabin on cold days, just like ICE vehicles. This saves on battery power as you're not using your vehicle's resistive electric heater.

Some EVs are equipped with pre-warming/cooling or "preconditioning", sometimes only available when the car is plugged in at home as not to diminish range.
Through an app you can tell your car the warm up or cool, before driving away.

Most current EVs are equipped with liquid cooling to keep the battery at the optimal temperature for best performance and range.
During charging, the battery will be warmed up to a certain temperature, so that even on cold days the battery performance will be optimised.
But during operation and on warm days, an EV battery warms up, and the liquid cooling system will cool the battery to optimise performance.

Most EVs are not designed or developed for towing. So check with the manufacturer before installing a tow hitch.
Other more powerful EVs can tow, but often with lesser capacity than their ICE counterparts, and often range is halved when doing so (obviously).
On the other hand, the Rivian R1T has a towing capacity of 5.5T and a Tesla Model X 2.25T.

Not at all. EVs have significantly fewer moving parts and systems, so maintaining them is easier and less expensive.
A traditional combustion engine has hundreds of moving parts (rubbing against each other) and with increased complexity comes increased costs.
An EV saves you money short term on fuel, as well as over the long term on maintenance. Maintenance is often limited to air filters (for the cabin air), windscreen wipers and fluids, and over longer term tires, break pads, break fluid and 12V battery. No engine oil or transmission fluid changes, no spark plugs, no transmission belt,...

Safety

The regulations involving electric vehicles are the same as those for conventional petrol and diesel vehicles,
with the addition of extra regulations for high voltage system components.
EVs often include a range of state-of-the-art advanced and autonomous vehicle management features to assist the driver and keep all occupants safer whilst on the road.
EVs also get specific license plates, or at least an identifier, to identify them as Electric Vehicle in case there's a fire and emergency services need to take additional or different precautions.
Just remember that in an ICE vehicle, there are constantly tiny explosions happening, and you drive around with a tank filled with combustable fuel.

All EVs have a fully sealed high voltage battery and electrical system, rated to the highest levels of protection against water.
Vehicles are approved to a high Ingress Protection rating for water and dust and can handle anything a regular car can.
Unlike a regular car, EVs don't need air to function. The only air intakes present are for cooling and air conditioning the cabin.
(not recommended, but you can find videos of Teslas ploughing through stationary flood water)

Yes, there is no risk to people near the charger or the vehicle itself. The charging system and cables are all tested to ensure they can be used in the rain.

Other

Internal Combustion Engine

A Battery Electric Vehicle is a vehicle powered by an electric motor that gets its power from a battery, and a battery only.
The history of BEVs is as old (if not older) than ICE vehicles. When we mention EV on this page, we refer to this BEV, not any of the following xyEVs.

A Plug-in Hybrid EV is powered by a combination of a liquid fuel and electricity.
They can be charged with electricity using a plug but also contain an internal combustion engine that uses liquid fuel. The battery-only range is often very limited (30-60km). The vehicle switches between either engine automatically.
For example, at a traffic light the vehicle takes off using the electric motor, and when a certain speed is reached, the internal combustion engine takes over. Many car manufacturers now offer PHEV models.

A Fuel Cell EV uses a "fuel cell" instead of a battery, or in combination with a battery or supercapacitor, to power their electric motors.
Typically these types of vehicles are fuelled by hydrogen fuel and usually provide greater range than BEVs. Hydrogen fuel can be generated using green energy, or fossil fuels ("blue" hydrogen). (for example Toyota Mirai)

A Hybrid EV (non-plug-in) doesn't have an external plug to charge the vehicle. An internal combustion engine generates electricity and tops up the battery.
This can be a small engine that only generates electricity and doesn't provide motion to the vehicle (like some BMW i3 models).
Or it's the main engine that both provides motion and electricity to the vehicle (like Toyota Prius).
Additionally, the vehicle's braking system is also used to recharge the battery ("re-gen").

A Range Extended EV. Other name for HEV.

A Solar Electric Vehicle (example Lightyear One, Sion Sono) providing about 12-45km/day range through solar power to its internal battery.

EV warranty is often split into a vehicle warranty and a drivetrain and battery warranty. Check the details with the manufacturer.

Due to regulations for electric vehicles, EVs are required to be fitted with a vehicle audio alert systems (VAAS), or an exterior noise generator,
which enhances the safety of pedestrians in the vicinity of the EV.
At low speeds EVs are very quiet, and the noise generator is used to warn pedestrians and cyclists. Premium brands engage audio designers, or even Oscar-award-winning composers, to create a distinctive sound for their EVs. At higher speeds, wind and tire noise and electric motor whine would be audible.
Some vehicles even come with optional interior sounds, generating an artificial rumble when accelerating.