New calculator helps motorists weigh up costs of driving an electric vehicle

A new calculator helps motorists compare EV costs to petrol vehicles.

A new calculator helps motorists compare EV costs to petrol vehicles. Photo: AAP

Australian motorists trying to work out whether buying an electric vehicle is worth it are in luck – there’s a new online tool that calculates the projected savings from ditching your petrol vehicle.

Launched by Macquarie Bank, the electric vehicle savings calculator allows motorists to compare estimated financial costs and emissions reductions from switching to a new EV from a petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicle.

It crunches the numbers on the costs of petrol versus electric charging, insurance and, of course, the difference in carbon emissions between driving a traditional vehicle or a new electric model.

You can even plug in available state and federal government subsidies to the financial equation.

Macquarie’s Peter van der Westhuyzen said while the upfront costs of an EV are often higher than a petrol car, there is often a financial “break-even” point further down the line where the lower running costs make up for the higher sticker price.

“We often hear that cost is one of the biggest barriers to EV uptake, so we developed the calculator to support customers in understanding the costs associated with purchasing and running an EV compared to petrol, diesel or hybrid equivalents,” he said.

“An EV can become relatively more attractive over the life of the vehicle.”

Estimates comparing the running costs of petrol versus electric vehicles vary between models and are constantly changing with shifting petrol and electricity prices.

But EVs are generally much cheaper to run because electricity costs much less than petrol and electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than combustion engines, and so often require less maintenance.

Research undertaken by advocacy group Solar Citizens last year found EVs can be up to 93 per cent cheaper to run than petrol cars, and that was before the recent surge in global oil prices.

Running costs for an EV can be as low as 60 cents per 100 kilometres, that research showed.

Savings with EVs can be even higher when paired with rooftop solar and household charging, which can essentially make fuel free when charging during the middle of the day.

There are still significant financial hurdles to getting an EV though, with the average cost of a new model far exceeding petrol cars in Australia.

The cheapest EV available Down Under is about $18,000 more expensive than the cheapest petrol vehicle.

Westhuyzen said the upfront costs of EVs should fall in coming years.

That view is shared by other experts as the federal government mulls new fuel efficiency standards that will encourage manufacturers to supply their latest models to Australia.

“Our goal is to support customers who are interested in transitioning to an EV by helping them realise both the potential financial and environmental benefits in a digestible format, so we’ve designed the calculator to be user friendly and easy to navigate,” Westhuyzen said.

Macquarie’s calculator allows motorists to project the running costs of an EV versus petrol car over a five, 10 or 15-year time horizon, alongside the estimated difference in carbon emissions.

You’ll need to supply a few details, including the make and model of the vehicle and estimates as to how you’ll drive it (including distance travelled), but from there the tool will do the rest.

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