Image: Riz Akhtar
The largest known survey of electric car owners in Australia has underscored the immense savings EVs can offer.
Electric vehicle ownership is on the rise as state incentives and rising fuel costs – and an expired fuel excise cut – encourage more drivers to make the switch to clean and green transport.
There is also added attention on Australia’s latent electric car adoption, the result of a decade of anti-EV “leadership” from the former Coalition government.
The new Labor federal government for the first time has tabled a national EV strategy consultation to encourage more drivers to go electric. But for many drivers, the higher purchase price of electric cars against combustion engine equivalents remains a barrier.
The survey, undertaken by the Tesla Owners Club of Australia (TOCA) in partnership with the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC), sought to look under the hood – or shall we say into the “frunk” – of EV ownership.
“EV owners are saving thousands of dollars on fuel and maintenance costs,” said EVC chief executive Behyad Jafari of the survey in a statement.
“At a time when petrol and diesel prices are going through the roof, the Australian government must introduce long-overdue fuel efficiency standards to cut costs in the future and drive down emissions.
(The “frunk” is a US portmanteau of “front” and “trunk”. In Australia, some prefer to call it a “froot.”)
Electric car owners report saving more than $2,000 a year in fuel
And the results of the survey are telling. Of the 741 Tesla owners that responded to the survey, 48% said they keep track of how much they would have saved on fuel costs.
This perhaps tedious task for some is in fact made easier by the fact that the Tesla app has a section called “Charging Stats.” Owners can input their energy provider rates, and the car automatically records what type of charging as been undertaken.
The screenshot below shows a Tesla owner who drives around 20,000km a year saves around $125 a month, or $1,500 a month.
Source: Tesla app
Almost half of the drivers that responded said they have saved more than $2,000 a year in fuel. Three-quarters save more than $1,000 a year.
Tesla EV maintenance savings between $1,000-2,000
In addition to fuel savings, owners also reported they calculated big savings on maintenance and servicing. This topic is somewhat contentious because legacy carmakers generally prescribe servicing schedules for their electric offerings.
Tesla however does not have a service schedule, but rather a list of maintenance “recommendations.”
Even so, of those surveyed, 35% said they do get their Tesla cars regularly services. 48% also said they keep track of servicing costs and savings.
The majority of those who keep track of their EV maintenance savings estimated at least $700 in savings. 41% estimated $1,000 in savings, while 7% estimated more than $2,000 in savings a year.
For a comparison of service schedules and costs of other EV models, see our article here.
Range anxiety myths busted
The survey also showed that EV owners – and Tesla owners account for the majority of these as The Driven’s EV sales widget at right shows – drive as much as other car owners.
According to the survey results, most EV owners drive 10,000-20,000km a year on average. This is in line with broader data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 38% drive even further.
“This, again, suggests that driving range limitations are not being experienced by many existing EV owners,” the report says.
“This is important to highlight given it is often reported that non-EV owners perceive driving range as a significant barrier to adoption and suggests that EV ownership experience may help to address this misconception.”
“This study puts another nail in the coffin of the myth that driving range is an issue for EV owners with the vast majority driving the same average kilometres a year as Australia’s average passenger vehicle,” he said.
“We know range anxiety is a major impediment to people buying EVs. This finding is yet another reason showing there is nothing to fear.”