Is it worth buying an EV if my only option is street parking? | The Driven

Here’s our latest question from a reader:

Hi, I’m about to sell my 2017 Mazda CX-5 and I would really love my next car to be an EV. I have 36k banked so I know I’d need to save a little more (damn you US dollar, this girl has dreams of a Tesla, alas it’s too much). The problem is I don’t have off street parking. I contacted Council (Inner West Council Sydney) and they currently don’t have any chargers and wait for it, won’t let you run a cord out to the street. Is it feasible to only fast charge? Being in the inner city I do see a lot of options on the charger maps. My driving habits are short trips, doing voice overs (so I’d be at a place about an hour) and around 8000km a year. What has boosted that is some trips to Newcastle (133km). Would love to get your opinion. I’d say I drive only about 50km a week.

– Sarah

Hi Sarah – nice question. Lacking off-street parking isn’t a deal-breaker for owning an electric vehicle, but it does take a little bit of planning.

Overseas, on-street EV charging is a ‘thing’ (as I wrote up here).

Here in Australia, things may be slower but they are not all doom and gloom. If you live near Blacktown or Canada Bay in Sydney, you have access to a trial installation of twenty public AC chargers. (See map in Fig. 1).

Sydney Canada Bay EVC network. Image: ENE-HUB http://ene-hub.com

Other alternatives where you have no off-street (or even on-street) AC charging stations are available:

  1. Use a DC fast-charger (and for Teslas, the Tesla-only Supercharger network) for charging the EV once every week or two. With the newer, longer range EVs with 40 – 100kWh batteries and the average daily commute being in the order of 30km, charging to 80% at a DC charger would generally take well less than 30 minutes.
    That’s time for a quick coffee or the weekly shopping. (And as a bonus, the major DC fast-charge networks are 100% renewable supplied). As a cautionary note: the current Renault EVs (the Zoe hatch and Kangoo ZE van) cannot use DC charging.By the way: Whilst there are some reports of slightly faster battery degradation if doing a lot of  DC fast-charging, it appears that modern EV battery systems cope reasonably well with it.

    However, if DC charging is to be your major form of charging, then perhaps avoid starting from a really low level of charge, nor take it to 100% too often until the verdict there comes in properly.

  2. Use the growing network of (generally free) AC chargers at shopping centres and the like to charge and/or top-up between DC charging: for instance a 7kW charging sgtation gives around 50 kms of charge per hour.
  3. Use workplace charging (even at 3.6kW on a 15A outlet, 8 hours would give you up to 200km charged. At 7kW, a Kona electric would almost fully charge).

As for what models to look at – yes, $37k won’t get you a new full-battery EV … yet.

It would get you a recent second-hand Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) with a 48km real-world EV only range – so it would do all but your Newcastle trip in EV-only mode.

$20k could get you an older Holden Volt (still with around 60ish km range) or Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with around 40km range.

$10 – $15k would get you a second-hand full-battery Nissan Leaf or iMiEV – but both would have under 100km range left in the battery and would be needing a battery replacement soon, bringing them back to a good second-hand PHEV price. (Personally, I would go the Ioniq PHEV if pressed to buy now).

If you keep saving – at $55k a new Hyundai Ioniq full-battery BEV or Nissan Leaf BEV both come into play.

This year will also bring a few new EVs to Australia – the MG ZS EV will also be around $55k, as might be the EV Automotive E3 SUV.

On the other hand – a lotto ticket might just do for a Tesla – good luck!

 

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