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What a Local Electrician has to do with buying an electric car.

Steve Hutchings

By Steve Hutchings

January 14th 2015

Why should I buy an Electric Car?

We are always hearing about the damage we inflict on our environment and it so often feels that we have to sacrifice our way of life to save the planet. We love our creature comforts, as all humans do, so we are constantly looking for ways to ‘greenify’ our lives without changing every aspect of our lifestyle.

So what does an Electrician know about electric cars? We know the price of living is high in Sydney, so it’s no surprise that we are trying to save money, and love to share any pointers we find along the way, just like any other Australian family. It’s good to know in advance that you’ll want a licensed electrician to increase the amps in your garage as part of your consideration.

Recently, the decrease in petrol prices has had everyone breathe out a sigh of relief – especially over the holiday period. It’s nice to fuel up your car and not have to remortgage your property to pay the bill at the counter. So while we are all jumping for joy at the reduction in our outgoings, why aren’t we thinking about the options that we have at our fingertips to NEVER have to think about fuel prices again? Enter the electronic evolution. Let’s explore what buying an electric car really means…

What’s the difference between electric and hybrid cars?

This is the first question you’ll need answered on your path to purchasing an electric car.

An electric car runs ENTIRELY on electric charged lithium batteries. This means the car only goes as far as the charge, but as it uses no fuel, it produces no harmful emissions.

A hybrid car runs on a mix of electric charge and fuel when the charge runs out. Some people comment harshly on the effectiveness of these vehicles when they require the space to house both power sources, but they have been received well in the marketplace given the dual power source – especially for people who are afraid of running out of charge over longer distances and not having anywhere to charge, they can have fuel as a back up.

Aren’t electric cars expensive?

Electric cars are comparatively more expensive than diesel or petrol vehicles upfront. There is no sweet way to put it. But they are really no different than looking at putting in an alternative power source to your home – there’s an increased upfront cost for future savings and environmental benefits. Here’s a cost comparison calculator to look directly at the cost comparison between your current usage and the savings. I found our fuel cost to be double and a bit what the power bill estimated!

What will I need to recharge my electric car?

You could buy an electric car and take it home today and plug it straight in to charge into your standard garage power outlet. You’d get roughly 46km per hour of charge. To increase the speed of your charge, you’ll need to have your local licensed electrician install (link to contact us page) a 240V – 40 amp power outlet. Increasing the amperage dramatically decreases the charge time, so is worth discussing with your electrician before purchasing your new electric car and getting a quote to increase the amperage in your garage.

Alternatively, you can visit electric car charge points in Sydney if your car gets needy about town. All you have to do is jump onto origin energy and start your account. Tesla Motors are currently building a network of Super charger stations which run direct DC power at high energy currents directly into your battery, which charge really quickly (avoiding the conversion from AC to DC power). There is currently one station in Pyrmont, but these only work for Tesla cars.

Do I need a garage for my electric car?

Currently there are limitations in Australia around ‘plug in’ vehicles and their ability to charge eternally to the home. There are businesses that are developing a network of charging stations that Sydney councils are purchasing to provide charge points to support the growing demand for electric cars. If you were happy charging publicly, you wouldn’t need a garage. If you have a carport, with some cars, you are able to have a licensed electrician install wall mounted charging units that direct into your apartment or houses power current. It is not advised that you utilise an extension cord to charge your vehicle.

What’s the benefit to the environment?

Not only will the environment benefit from your using an electric car, your wallet will too. For optimal value for money and ‘green’ points, install solar panels to juice your garage power supply for the most friendly option to power up your electric car. Some might say that an increase in electric cars means an increase in power usage, and a decrease in petrol emissions, which may as well equal each other out, so whats the point? The best plan is to ensure you are installing the best possible energy saving lighting, and power and water efficient appliances as well as utilising supplementary power sources to minimise your carbon footprint, so you aren’t relying on the grid for all of your electricity requirements. The sun you catch during the day could well fuel your car overnight!

Having no or low petrol cars, means no or low air pollution emitting from the exhaust of the vehicle. This means better air quality for all – especially in our congested city tunnels. Imagine if we could be in the harbour tunnel with our windows down or our aircon off recirculation, knowing we weren’t doing silent damage to our bodies.

Did you know: at the turn of the 20th century, cars were exclusively electric, running quietly and efficiently until the 1920’s.

So, what are my options ? There are several hybrid options made available in Australia, and very few solely electric cars. It’s important to do proper cost comparisons for your family to make appropriate choices regarding the cost of your lifestyle vs the cost of the environment we all share. The Australian government has released this comparative tool to help you do your research which offers a broad lay of information and reviews to ensure you find the right vehicle to meet the needs of your family.

Hopefully we have shed some light on the electric car and simplified some of the information of what you really need to ‘go green’. Call us on 1300 301 077  or contact us (link to contact us page) discuss installation of your new car charging station or increase the power supply in your garage to 240V before purchasing your new electric vehicle!

 

Was that helpful? If you want professional, timely electrical help then give Steve a call on 9159 6877, or (for the introverts) shoot us an email.

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