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Over the past few months we have seen an increase in our customers asking about Electric Vehicle’s and how they will work with solar. 

We have created this post to look at the true cost of EV charging versus ICE. Then the various options to charge your EV.  

Electric versus Internal combustion engines. 

As a comparison, we have picked the Hyundai Kona SUV as they offer both ICE and EV

The electric vehicle has a 64kWh battery

The reported range of the EV is 449km

Obviously different driving habits, distance, traffic will effect the range of the vehicle, as it would with ICE vehicles. 

Working on the reported figures, then each kWh of battery will produce a 7.01km of range. 

As a general rule petrol engines will reference litres of fuel per 100kms, so as a reference for an EV 100kms will require 14.255 kWh of battery. 

To work out cost

The average cost of electricity in South Australian households is = $0.36 per kWh

14.255kWh is needed to travel 100kms 

So 14.255 x $0.36 = $5.13 

The claimed fuel efficiency of the Kona Active electric car using U91 fuel is 6.2L/100km. 

As at 27/9/2021 the Caltex in North Adelaide is selling U91 for $1.39 per litre. 

So 6.2L x $1.39 = $8.61

(These figures are all reliant on stated performance, and actual performance will differ for both models) 

When you consider the Hyundai Kona SUV will cost around $30,000 more than the base Petrol version, then you would need to do a staggering 862,000kms to break even.  (not taking in to account any cost savings from reduced servicing etc.) 

Fortunately there are now alternate options. 

Charging EV’s on Off Peak or ‘Solar Sponge’ TariffsSA Power Networks are now allowing EV’s to be charged  on off peak and the new solar sponge tariff.  Based on the AGL tariff using the controlled load, you can pay as little as $0.1585 per kWh for charging from 11pm-7am  or 10am-3pm. 

So now your Hyundai Kona EV will cost around $2.25 per 100kms versus $8.61. So 471,698kms to break even.  

Change to an energy retailer that tracks wholesale rates. – We recommend checking out Amber Electric, as they will track the wholesale rates and pass the savings on.  There are some points in time where Amber will actually pay you to take electricity. Based on the amber Electric rate as at 11.17am 27/9/21 at 2c per kWh. 

If you were able to charge the cheapest times you could be travelling 100km in your Kona EV for was little as 28c  versus $8.61. So 360,144kms to break even. 

Using Solar to Charge the battery. – One of the leading solar inverter manufacturers has recently released an inverter that also operates as an EV charger.   This can make the cost of charging your EV virtually zero.  Although solar obviously only works when the sun is out. 

If you are going to drive less than say 400kms during the week, it is possible to charge only once per week with the Kona EV.  So you could theoretically plug in your EV over the weekend and charge during the day 100% from Solar. 

Even so, with a $30,000 price difference between an EV and an ICE it would be difficult to justify the move to EV on petrol cost savings alone. 

Will EV’s become cheaper? 

Well most likely.  If this technology goes the way of big screen TV’s, there’s every chance ALDI will be selling them at some point in the future. 

In our reference above, we are looking at 2 models of the same car.  So for example the MG ZS is already around $44k.  So if you were just looking for the cheapest EV versus a Kona petrol SUV, then the premium is closer to $15k now.

There are now several reports around stating that EV’s will reach price parity with that of their petrol counterparts by 2027. We will see. 

Are there other technologies coming? 

We are seeing a few new and exciting technologies, which have the potential to change our energy mix in the transport space. 

Hydrogen Fuel Cells – Toyota specifically has been pushing forward with it’s Hydrogen fuel cell vision for many years, although it still appears to be some time away from being a commercial reality. 

Hydrogen/ ICE – If we look at the existing infrastructure, ICE technology and our well ingrained habits.  Then the research and testing by companies such as JCB might be easier to swallow for the market. 

Synthetic Fuels – Most notably Porsche has been working on a synthetic fuel which is a blend of Co2 and Hydrogen. This may become part of the future energy mix, as consumers may still want to hear the roar of their V8 rather than the hiss of an EV. 

New Battery Chemistry – The supply chain for our current Lithium batteries is a little different to the images we see when companies talk of our ‘green’ low emissions future. There are many companies and universities working on battery technologies that will increase the range of EV’s, reduce the cost of batteries and involve less questionable mining practices.