Is it time to buy an electric automobile? Crunching the numbers!

Is it time to change to an electric automobile?

It’s a query many individuals ask. Indeed, it reveals: the rising curiosity in electric automobiles is being proved via regularly growing gross sales – largely due to the robust provide and worth equation of Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y, but in addition with new electric automobile choices reaching the Australian market virtually month-to-month.

With extra to select from, and a slowly bettering nationwide infrastructure, ought to your subsequent automobile be all-electric?

Finally, for a lot of patrons, the reply might be “sure” … with some caveats.


🇦🇺 The present state of EVs in Australia

“Range nervousness” may be the massive buzz time period when it comes to explaining why the take-up of electric automobiles has been so glacial in Australia, however a fast look at new-car value guides gives a extra convincing motive as to why EVs are nonetheless so uncommon on our roads: they’re costly.


In 2022, a complete of 33,410 passenger, SUV and light-weight business electric automobiles have been offered on this nation. While it is a considerable enhance in contrast to 2021, it’s nonetheless small bikkies in a complete annual new automobile market of a million-plus regardless of ongoing demand shortages.

The gross sales success of EVs is spearheaded by the Tesla Model 3 small sedan and Tesla Model Y crossover, the latter of which is poised to shortly climb up the total gross sales charts in Australia. But even with Tesla’s quantity, the market share of electric automobiles continues to be minuscule at simply above three per cent in 2022.

None of that is particularly shocking given, relying in your circumstances, there’s nonetheless no such factor as an EV that might be thought-about “low cost”.

Wheels Reviews 2022 Tesla Model 3 Deep Blue Metallic Australia Static Front 2 S Rawlings


Times are altering although, with the MG ZS EV facelift and BYD Atto 3 newcomer ranging from slightly below $50K. It’s price mentioning that inner combustion engine and plug-in hybrid automobiles are creeping up their beginning costs with each new era, replace and even month in immediately’s inflated and supply-constrained market.

Does that compensate for the excessive showroom sticker value? What about depreciation? Does the second-hand worth of an electric automobile plummet any quicker than a comparable inner combustion-engined car? All good questions.

Even with skyrocketing electrical energy and gasoline costs, EVs nonetheless have the essential benefit of decrease working prices. Sourcing energy from a family outlet is simply extra handy should you undertake a charge-overnight routine; it’s considerably cheaper on a per-kilometre foundation than petrol and diesel. Servicing is less complicated, extra inexpensive and, in some circumstances, much less frequent, too.

2023 BYD Atto 3 SUV Blue 57


BYD Atto 3

Does that compensate for the larger showroom sticker value? What about depreciation? And does the second-hand worth of an electric automobile plummet any quicker than a comparable combustion-engined car?

For now, the least expensive battery-electric you’ll be able to buy is the MG ZS EV Excite, priced from $43,990 earlier than on-road prices. It’s based mostly on the turbocharged petrol MG ZST Excite, which is priced from $30,990 drive-away – although it will be had with cheaper variants.

Both are Chinese-made five-door small SUVs, each are supposed for primarily city obligation, and each put on the similar elementary underpinnings, design and badge. But which one makes extra sense in the long run – petrol or electric? We’ve crunched the numbers in an try to settle this argument.

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💸 Purchase value and depreciation

2023 MG ZST Excite 2023 MG ZS EV Excite
Purchase value $30,990** $43,990
Residual worth after three years* $17,950 – $20,350 $25,200 – $28,200
Estimated depreciation* 42-34% 44-37%

*Based on the pre-update 2020 ZST Excite and 2020 ZS EV Essence as a information. Minimum and most seller trade-in worth as estimated by Redbook.

**Drive-away value

From the outset, the combustion-engined crossover grabs an early benefit with greater than $13,000 saved earlier than it’s even rolled into your driveway.

Why the massive value discrepancy? All of these fancy uncommon earth metals in the electric motor, the lithium and nickel in its battery pack are fairly costly. With a modest 50.3kWh pack, the pure electric ZS EV wants a number of them, regardless of utilizing the extra inexpensive lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) chemistry that doesn’t comprise cobalt.

However, buy value is simply a part of the story. Another key concern related to proudly owning an electric automobile, the place its battery know-how continues to be creating, is depreciation.

Archive Whichcar 2020 11 12 1 2020 MG ZS EV Review Home 2


Based on the used pre-facelift 2020 MG ZS EV Essence and ZST Excite with 30,000km to 75,000km pushed, Redbook estimates their three-year trade-in residual worth is available in not less than 37 and 34 per cent respectively. However, as the electric automobile prices extra to start with, this implies depreciation hit is extra substantial: $15,790 for the ZS EV versus $10,640 for the petrol ZST.

It’s price noting, nonetheless, that these are conservative valuations and generally have to be taken with a grain of salt. This is a suggestion determine of how automobile dealerships assess affordable values on traded-in automobiles based mostly on the model’s historic efficiency and demand in the new and used market, so should you’re promoting a automobile on the personal market it’s possible you’ll fare higher.

Over time, as carmakers transition to fully-electric line-ups, the EV market share grows and value parity is achieved, the tables might flip and conventional inner combustion fashions’ residual values could also be more durable hit.

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2023 MG ZS EV SUV Comparo With BYD Att 3 62


🔌 Running prices

2023 MG ZST Excite 2023 MG ZS EV Excite
Fuel/dwelling electrical energy price per 100km $14.20 $2.56
Fuel/dwelling electrical energy price per yr/15,000km $2130 $384
Total servicing price at 72 months/60,000km $1911 $804

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the common Australian drives round 15,000km per yr.

The MG ZST Excite has a claimed common mixed gasoline consumption of seven.1-litres per 100km from its 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine and 45-litre gasoline tank, that means it gives 634km of driving vary.

At immediately’s nationwide common value of the least expensive 94RON E10 unleaded gasoline at $2.00 per litre, it’ll price ZST drivers about $2130 per yr.

In comparability, the fully-electric ZS EV Excite has a claimed mixed power consumption of 17.1kWh/100km and 320km claimed driving vary from a full cost.

Electricity costs range from state-to-state with South Australia being the costliest. But assuming you’ve gotten entry to a typical socket at dwelling and cost in a single day utilizing an off-peak power tariff of $0.15 per kWh, it’ll solely price $384 per yr. That’s a sizeable $681 saving by choosing zero emissions motoring.

Archive Whichcar 2019 11 08 Misc Charging Electric Car


If you’ll be able to benefit from a solar panel system, recharging your electric automobile can virtually be free throughout the day and even at night time when mixed with a house battery storage system. After all, Australia has certainly one of the highest photo voltaic uptakes and solar exposures.

However, should you can’t conveniently cost at dwelling, plugging-in a typical 50kW public DC quick charger that prices $0.40 per kWh means the ZS EV prices $6.84 to journey 100km or $1026 per yr – which continues to be cheaper than placing in petrol.

But, there’s upkeep to consider as effectively.

The turbocharged combustion engine ZST Excite calls for servicing each 12 months/10,000km, averaging to $318.50 for the first six visits or $1911 in complete at the 72 months/60,000km mark.

Meanwhile, the pure-electric ZS EV Excite solely wants upkeep each 24 months/20,000km, costing $268 for the first three visits or $804 in complete at 72 months/60,000km. This represents a saving of $1107 over that interval in servicing bills by going electric.

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📋 Insurance

2023 MG ZST Excite 2023 MG ZS EV Excite
NRMA* $1436 $1830
Budget Direct* $1697 $1799
Bingle** $719 $864

*Comprehensive automobile insurance coverage annual premium based mostly on $850 extra, no extras and market worth protection, as quoted on 27 January 2023

**Excess is $895 as the closest choice accessible

After finance and gasoline, insuring your automobile is one other massive impost – and one which’s ignored at your peril.

For the objective of this story, let’s assume that the proprietor is a 30 year-old feminine dwelling in Sydney with a garaged tackle, a clear driving historical past document, drives up to 15,000km per yr, and bought the car in full for personal use solely.

She quoted complete automobile insurance coverage with three suppliers – the state motoring membership, a extra well-liked insurer and a budget-orientated providing.

2023 MG ZS EV SUV Comparo With BYD Att 3 5


On common, the petrol-run ZST Excite has a premium of $1284 whereas the electric ZS EV Excite prices $1498 yearly to totally insure.

Electric automobiles are at the moment costlier to insure due to the larger upfront price ticket, fledgling native elements provide chain and fewer educated EV technicians in the nation. Other larger performing EVs like the Tesla Model 3, Kia EV6 and Porsche Taycan will probably be much more pricier due to their lightning acceleration occasions.

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E Dewar 221011 2023 KIA EV 6 GT Line RWD Hatch Blue 2211 Kia EV 6 24


📊 Overall possession price breakdown

ICE vs EV three-year complete price of possession comparability

2023 MG ZST Excite 2023 MG ZS EV Excite
Drive-away buy value (when new) $30,990* $43,990
Running prices (gasoline/electrical energy, servicing and insurance coverage)** +$11,094 +$5914
Minimum trade-in depreciation*** -$17,950 -$25,200
Estimated complete price of possession after three years and depreciation $24,134 $24,704

*Excludes any eligible incentives

**Assumes driving 15,000km per yr, dwelling charging on off-peak electrical energy tariff at $0.15 per kWh, and common annual complete automobile insurance coverage premium as quoted on 7 November 2022 (refer above for additional assumptions)

***Estimation based mostly on 2020 ZS Essence and ZS EV Essence by Redbook as a information

For the first three years of possession, the MG ZS EV saves homeowners round 47 per cent in working prices alone in contrast to the combustion ZST.

Using pre-update 2020 mannequin depreciation estimates as a information, the battery-electric small crossover will lose not less than 28 per cent extra of its worth when it comes to trading-in in contrast to its petrol equal.

However, simply based mostly on working prices alone, it’ll want to take greater than six years to recoup the $13,000 value premium for selecting the MG ZS EV.

Archive Whichcar 2020 05 13 Misc VW ID 3



For some, it may be straightforward sufficient to abdomen placing an electric automobile of their driveway, eliminating one much less pollutant on our roads and having the thrills of on the spot torque anytime. What’s extra, the extra you drive and the longer you hold onto it, the extra monetary sense the electric automobile makes.

The silver lining is as the price of EVs come down (and they’re), the economics of possession ideas additional of their favour. Are we at the tipping level the place EVs are extra financially possible than combustion-powered automobiles but?

Not but, however it’s not as distant as you’d suppose with extra inexpensive fashions like the MG4, BYD Dolphin and Volkswagen ID.3, plus additional authorities motion on the horizon.

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2023 Mg 4 Ev 2023 Mg 4 Ev 01



🤔 Other EV considerations

We’ve targeted largely on the monetary rationale behind whether or not an electric automobile is smart, however there are different ancillary points that may dictate whether or not an EV is the proper alternative for you.

These issues will largely rely in your private scenario – for some they received’t be an issue, however for others they might be a deal-breaker.

Battery longevity

There are considerations that electric automobile batteries degrade an excessive amount of over time and finally require a expensive alternative. First-generation EVs like the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf and authentic Tesla Model S have confirmed to degrade little or no – sometimes one to two per cent per yr at the begin of its life, earlier than slowing down the price over time.

Most automobile producers cowl every mannequin with a devoted battery guarantee of round eight years/16,000km, with some promising that it’ll retain not less than 70 per cent of its well being throughout that interval – in any other case a battery alternative will be provided totally free. In the case that it’s outdoors the guarantee, technicians can change particular person battery modules most affected, as a substitute of the whole pack to save prices.

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EV subs


Not sufficient public chargers

It’s true that there aren’t sufficient public AC and DC chargers in Australia – that are additionally dependable – and fulfill the rising demand immediately. But, the finest charger is your house plug.

Public EV stations ought to largely be used on longer street journeys which can be past your car’s vary capabilities (200 to 800km relying on the mannequin) – particularly as a result of they’re far costlier to recharge than at dwelling on an off-peak electrical energy tariff in a single day or throughout the day when there’s photo voltaic power.

Charging in an condominium block

For these with out the luxurious of a storage, carport or a driveway to park your automobile and run a cost cable to it for juicing in a single day, you’ll want to talk about along with your physique company, homeowners and different stakeholders to contemplate putting in a typical dwelling socket or AC charging wall field. Otherwise, you’ll want to depend on public EV charging infrastructure (if accessible).

Mini Cooper SE


Charging time

It normally takes round anyplace from 10 to 50 hours to fully recharge an EV on an extraordinary dwelling plug relying on the battery capability. It’ll top-up sufficient cost for many commutes, however until you propose to burn up all the car’s claimed driving vary day by day (200 to 800km relying on the mannequin), you’ll want to set up an AC dwelling wall field charger that may fully recharge it in a single day or depend on public EV chargers.

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Driving vary

It’s typically mooted that electric automobiles don’t present sufficient driving vary for Australians.

As the typical Australian passenger automobile solely commutes round 41km per day and business automobiles like supply vans and buses have fastened set routes, driving vary isn’t an issue in lots of circumstances inside city and surrounding areas.

However, should you enterprise regionally or interstate, EVs will be an inconvenience due to the pre-emptive planning required for charging stops. It pales in contrast to diesel, however that is the place plug-in hybrid automobiles (PHEVs) and the emergence of hydrogen fuel-cell electric automobiles (FCEVs) are advantageous.

Tesla Model 3


EV taxes are inevitable

Just like the gasoline excise imposed by the authorities to fund street upkeep and infrastructure, electric automobile taxes are poised to be legislated by every state from round 2027 or as quickly as its market share considerably grows. This is to compensate for misplaced tax revenue via lowered consumption of fuels.

Today, Victoria is the solely state in the nation to impose an EV and PHEV tax that’s calculated based mostly on the distance travelled yearly.

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Model alternative and availability

Electric automobiles accessible in Australia pales compared to the combustion-engined fashions everyone knows and love.

In Australia, EVs aren’t normally offered in a less expensive lesser-equipped variant, their nameplates are totally different (eg: Toyota bZ4x as a substitute of RAV4), and there is restricted provide flowing Down Under due to a scarcity of ‘gasoline effectivity requirements’ and lagging demand in contrast to main developed nations.

But, the listing is rising regularly and the present federal authorities is giving some hope for carmakers to allocate extra EVs right here.

2023 Toyota Bz 4 X 02


Resources and human rights points

The uncooked supplies wanted to make a high-voltage car battery are expensive and include an environmental, social and geopolitical affect – relying on the place they arrive from.

Just as with drilling for oil, extracting treasured and uncommon earth metals out of the floor isn’t the easiest – or cleanest – course of. New battery developments reminiscent of the LFP chemistry, which is used on extra entry-level EVs, and solid-state batteries will alleviate the reliance.

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EV charging


⚡ More EV tales to assist you select the finest automobile to your wants

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