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How to switch to an electric vehicle – for less than you think

If your hip pocket is feeling pain at the bowser every time you fill up, it’s unlikely that fuel prices will be heading in the other direction any time soon. You may have contemplated switching from your petrol or diesel car (internal combustion engine or ICE vehicle) to a hybrid or fully electric vehicle (EV.) When you’ve looked at price tags between EVs and similar ICE vehicles with near-identical specs, you may have baulked at the idea. True; new EVs do have a higher initial price tag than ICE cars. But the upside is EVs will more than pay for themselves through lower running costs and cheaper maintenance. Here’s how you can switch to an electric vehicle for less outlay than you may have thought.

Saving on running costs

100% electric vehicles are cheaper to run and maintain compared with ICE vehicles. According to the Electric Vehicle Council, a battery-powered EV would consume about $600 in electricity costs compared with $2,160 in petrol (assuming an average of 15,000km driven.) This also assumes you take power from the grid – people with solar will see a reduction in that cost; or even see their EV as a battery for off-grid power when not in use.

With most EVs having fewer than 17 moving components versus over 200 in ICE cars, maintenance is also much cheaper. Many manufacturers offer a 160,000km or 10-year warranty on batteries, which means a major replacement part is covered for a long time.

Hybrids or EVs – what’s the difference?

There are three main variants of EVs; non-plug in or “traditional” hybrids that have an electric motor partially powered by an ICE engine; a plug-in hybrid that can be “topped up” with mains power, or a fully electric vehicle that is only powered by a battery. Hybrids will still need to use fuel, though use significantly less than comparable ICE vehicles – but you need to figure out if you want to charge your EV at home or not before committing to a model.

Looking at certified pre-owned or second-hand vehicles

The next step to save on EVs is to choose an EV that is certified pre-owned or even second-hand. There are more and more of these vehicles coming on to the market thanks to the primary market expanding. According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, there was 16% increase in the sales of hybrid vehicles, double the number of plug-in EVs during 2022. A certified pre-owned or certified used car is fewer than three years old, is factory or dealer refurbished and comes with an extended warranty. Second hand vehicles are sold privately “as is” – and it’s your responsibility to ensure the vehicle is in good order, is legitimate (i.e., doesn’t have money owing or is stolen), and suitable for your needs.

Both options are cheaper than buying new, though certified used is significantly more expensive than buying on the open second-hand market.

Sourcing cars overseas

Buying second-hand cars overseas – and buying from left-hand drive country Japan is popular, due to their strict roadworthy standards and quick sales of relatively new vehicles – can also prove cheaper than purchasing locally. Just be sure to calculate any import duties you may need to pay and look into open or enclosed car shipping to ensure you strike the right balance between safety and price.

With all this in mind, you too can get on the road with an EV for much less than buying brand new!

Written by Eric

37-year-old who enjoys ferret racing, binge-watching boxed sets and praying. He is exciting and entertaining, but can also be very boring and a bit grumpy.

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