Mitsubishi MIEV

We are encouraging questions from readers about electric vehicles, and charging, and whatever else you want to learn. So please send them through and we will get our experts to respond, and invite other people to contribute through the comments section.

Our third question comes from Graham, who asks:

We are both pensioners. Our current car is 20 years old. It cost $18,000 in 1998.

We would like to replace it with an EV, but they seem to cost too much.

Most of our journeys are just around the neighbourhood, but we do sometimes travel about 700 km round trip.

Public transport is a bad joke – 6 buses between 9:30 and 17:00 hours, week (work) days.

What car should we be looking at, or should we wait a while for more choice?

Our expert Bryce Gaton responds:

Hi Graham – for neighbourhood trips, a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) is already a perfectly viable one. Even a second-hand iMiEV or Leaf with 80–100km range left in the battery would be fine. (They can be bought for between $10,000 to $20,000).

However, second-hand BEVs won’t cut the mustard for a 700km round trip – but the crop of new EVs around $50,000 will. To sort between them, there are a couple of quick questions you’ll need to answer:

  • Are there any DC fast-chargers on your 700km round trip route?
  • Are there 3 phase outlets available on the 700km route?
  • Do you stop overnight on the 700km route?

If there are fast-DC chargers anywhere on the route AND you stop overnight at the destination: it would be worth considering the Ioniq EV (real-world range – about 200km) about to arrive in November.

One 20 min fast-charge top-up along the way on each leg plus an overnight charge will get you there and back. The Ioniq EV will likely be around $45,000-ish.

If there are no DC chargers, then it would be worth looking at the Hyundai Kona (380 – 400km real-world range). It would easily do the one-way trip and charge overnight.

The Kona is due approximately February next year and is predicted to sell for mid $50,000’s. It would also do the trip in one day if there is a DC charger at the destination. Less than an hour of fast-charging will see you ready to do the return trip.

A Renault Zoe (300km real-world range) would also do the trip if there is a three phase outlet available somewhere along the way and you buy a 3 phase adaptor for the Zoe’s charging lead. (The Zoe does not currently have DC fast-charge capacity).

Look up PlugShare on the Web to see where any may be on your route. The Zoe is $52,000 on the road. A quick 15min top up on the way would easily see you do the trip (assuming you are stopping overnight – otherwise it will need a two and a half hour 3 phase charge at the destination to get you almost home again).

If you want to wait till around 2024 – then battery electric vehicle prices are predicted to fall to around the same price as a petrol or diesel car by then AND there will be plenty more to choose from … but you’ll have to wait for the ‘EV Grin’ you get when passing petrol stations on the way to convenient home charging and the silent smoothness of the drive. J

Hopefully that answers your question – feel free to ask further questions via the comments section!

Editor’s note: Graham, thanks for your question. I reckon that for your purposes, look for a second hand iMIEV for your daily trips. And for the big road trips, thinking about renting.

If you think about the cost difference between an expensive long range car and a cheaper short range one, well unless you do a LOT of road trips, then renting would be cheaper.

So much of what we do is to gold plate our assets – networks, roads etc, to cater for the once in a year need, when it might be cheaper to rent or lease. And hopefully soon, you will be able to easily rent a long range EV for just this purposes.

If other readers have some suggestions on this, please add in the comments section below.

Do you have more questions? Please use our Feedback form which can be found here. You can find Frequently asked questions here and more Readers Questions here.

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of www.TheDriven.io, and also edits and founded RenewEconomy.com.au and OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au. He has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.

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