Every time I drive an electric car I get more questions than for any other vehicle going around – because of course it’s all new and people are sceptical that it could really be an easy transition. So I’ve gathered together a bunch of questions I received on a recent road-trip and I’ll answer them right here.

Now mind my ego, but there aren’t too many people in Australia who have driven more electric car models and driven more kilometers in various different cars than me. I’ve lost count. But I’ve driven everything from the MG ZS to the Kia Niro, Hyundai Ioniq, the Ioniq 5, Hyundai Kona, Jaguar iPace, Telsa Model S, Model X and Model 3, Audi e-Tron, Mercedes Benz EQA and EQC, the Porsche Taycan, Taycan Turbo and Tycan Cross Turismo Turbo, BMW i3, BMW iX3, All-Electric Mini, Nissan Leaf, Polestar 2 – I’ve seen a lot.

In those cars I’ve driven places like Brisbane to Adelaide, Melbourne to Sydney, Sydney to Young, Sydney to Walcha Road many times, even ran out of battery power on the way to Bathurst in one – and, just had them in the driveway for the trips to school, the shops and sport. Regular car driving stuff.

So, I’ve seen all the issues, problems and heard all the questions, for the most part, I’ve got all the answers.

Where do you charge an electric car?

This is the critical question and the great “reset” we all need to have about Electric Cars. Today, you drive till your car Fuel light flashes or it gets low, you pull into a Servo and refill. Might be weekly, maybe more – but you do it once when “needed”.

With an electric car, that’s out the window. You charge when the car is idle. At home. Over 90% of all charging of EVs is done this way.

Your car is charging every day, at home, when it’s not in use.

Can you plug into a normal power point?

Absolutely. Your car will come with a cable to plug into a regular power point. This is called trickle charging, it’s slow. But that’s all you need at home. Your car sits in the driveway or garage for 8-10 hours a day, in that time it will recharge all the km you did on the previous day for the vast majority of people.

Do I need a special charger installed?

You do not need it, but it can be handy. A special “wall box” will allow you to have the standard EV plug available right there when you need it. No cable dangling around from a power point. For owners, this is ideal for simplicity.

Also, if you have access to three-phase power, you can wire the wall-box to use that and charge slightly faster than the average power point – useful if you are someone who drives more than 100-150km a day.

Where do you charge an Electric car on a road-trip?

All around Australia there are a huge number of charging locations. I would put each location into one of three buckets. Firstly, a Tesla Supercharger. Secondly, Chargefox Charging network, and finally Motoring groups and independent locations.

The Chargefox network is amazing, a huge network of chargers, including ultra-fast ones which pump power into your car at a higher rate thus a faster charge.

NRMA and other motoring groups fund chargers in towns all across Australia. These are ideal for country road-trips.

There’s a great website called PlugShare which has all these networks listed and is great for planning trips.

Can I plug my Electric Car into a Tesla Supercharger?

No. Tesla chargers are for Tesla Cars (right now, there is some trials overseas of opening them up, which I think would be Tesla’s best business move ever – but for now, absolutely no).

This also applies to home “wall box” chargers. Those who bought a Tesla early and had these installed will be frustrated to learn that if you buy the wife a new Kia EV6, it won’t charge on the Tesla wall-box at home. You need a solution like we have at the EFTM office from ABB or otherwise.

What is the cost of re-charging an electric car on a road-trip?

How long is a piece of string? Different cars have different sized batteries, just like cars have different fuel tanks.

Here’s a few invoices from using the Chargefox network in various cars.

And here’s a similar amount of “energy” taken on, in half the time – that’s the Kia Niro above, versus the Porsche Taycan which can charge faster below:

In all the times I’ve driven, I find that a full charge is about 1/3rd the cost of a tank of petrol roughly if you want a basic average cost saving.

What is the cost of re-charging an electric car at home?

If you’ve got Solar, and batteries at home, it could be free! And that’s the dream right?

Otherwise, if you plug in every night, and drive 4-50km a day, you might pay $1-2 a day on a good overnight rate.

How long does it take to recharge an electric car?

Again, that string.

The Kia Niro i had, from 3% battery to 100% was a 35 hour charge. The Jaguar i-Pace was more like 50 – but that’s plugged into a normal power point.

On an average 50kW highway charger you’ll get back up around 80% from 20% in 30-40 minutes in most cars.

Some cars can take much faster charge rates and will fill from 0-80% in 30 minutes.

The reason the 80% figure is quoted is because all cars slow their rate of charge for that last 20%, for safety, just slowly ramping down how much power they take in so as not to overload your batteries.

Do we have the infrastructure to support owning an Electric Car – or should you wait?

Absolutely. Now, for 2-5% of the population who do 1,000km road trips more than 2 times a year, or live in our most remote areas, no, it’s not time, you’re not part of this debate, accept that, and stop muddying the debate for the vast majority of city slickers who drive bugger all k’s each year let alone each week.

If you live in a place where you do not have off-street parking, then it’s probably a few more years until smaller community charging stations come about in those areas.

But if you have a driveway, garage, power point and love driving – EVs are great!

They’re just bloody expensive right now.

How far can an Electric Car go?

I would say the average is 400km. Some will do 600, others 250 – but it really comes down to your needs.

Again, most people don’t drive more than 50km a day, so a 250km range, plugged in daily is utterly fine. Try take it on a road trip probably not ideal.

Why is the range on an Electric Car an estimate?

Ahh, this is critical. The “efficiency” of an Electric Car is almost the opposite to that of a petrol car.

Around town in a petrol car, chewing through the gas. On the highway, a breeze, cheap as chips.

But in an EV, because of all the stopping and starting which saves and even regenerates power, the city driving is better for range. Once you go past 80km/h you chew through power much faster.

Also, temperature. Extreme heat and Extreme cold can affect the total range by 15-20%.

Can you tow with an Electric Car?

Yep, just check each model, but I’ve seen several that can most certainly tow.

Batteries on Electric Cars will need replacing too soon

Nope. Not at all.

Think about Hybrid Prius cars, there isn’t a bunch of them sitting around with no up and go, they just don’t go as far on EV power.

Batteries in cars are like your phone, they keep working, keep charging, but they hold less power.

So, if you get a car with 400km range today, and use it a LOT, then expect in 5 years that range will have depleted some, and more as it goes on.

Got more questions? Email me!

Just send me an email – would love to know what people are wanting to know!

I’ll update this page as I get more interesting questions!