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Electric vs Petrol

There is a substantial amount of people who believe as a society, we should take care of the environment in lieu of our future generations. Okay, so I kind of agree, I don’t want my future children or children's children to have to swim to school everyday because of the rising sea levels caused by Global Warming. And, while there may be some sceptics out there, we need to consider it may be a slight possibility. Consequently, the pressure resulting from society’s demand for a better environment has been observed as an opportunity by car manufacturers, cue the release of the electric car. As always, once the first one was released, it was followed by a steady stream of competitors bringing it from "Electric car whatever next!" status to "Hang on maybe these guys are onto something". While it is hard to see these vehicles as ever being viable for fleet use nonetheless, I decided to take a look at how electric cars measure up to their petrol equivalent.


The types of electric vehicles (EV) available in Australia vary in performance according to the amount of price you are willing to pay. Coming soon, the best EV in Australia will be the soon-to-be released Mitsubishi i-MiEV. It features a 160km range, with a top speed of 130 km/h ( Suffice to say this car isn’t quite fitting for the thrill-seekers.

Looking at these features, an EV only seems suitable if your daily travel consists of transit within the city district.  With an EV only able to travel a short range  this type of vehicle wouldn’t be suitable for long distance travel. Doubtful then that fleet managers will be harassing their purchasing teams for the early models. In addition, if you require travelling outside the city district, an EV may not be able to accommodate the high speeds along highways.

In this instance, petrol vehicles have the definite advantage.


Purchase costs

Purchase prices for EVs are considerably higher than its petrol equivalent. According to the 2010 NSW Electric Vehicles Report, starting prices for a small passenger car cost around $41, 000, while a large passenger electric vehicle will set you back about $113,000.

Running costs

Electric vehicles are exceedingly cheaper than petrol cars, costing no more than $2 to travel 50km. With the rising petrol prices, individuals and businesses in particular will be able to save an extensive amount on money which would otherwise be spent on fuel.


Unlike petrol cars where you have to maintain your car engine (i.e. oil change, etc), an EV can save you a heap of money and time on maintenance costs, as the only things you need to worry about will be ‘brake pads, tyres, suspension and differential’ (


At first glance, the price of a battery may seem a bit steep, but be aware that an EV battery will only need to be changed every 4-6 years and this is easily offset by how much you save from fuel, maintenance, etc.


Probably the most popular reason why people purchase electric cars would be the positive effects EVs have on the environment. Unlike traditional petrol cars which release harmful fossil fuels and exhaust fumes which contaminate the environment, electric vehicles comprise of an electric motor which produces less detrimental emissions.

With the main difference being the technology each type of vehicle runs on, there are also significant variations regarding performance, costs, and the environment. While the performance of a petrol car outweighs an electric vehicle, the cost of running an EV is significantly cheaper while benefiting the environment. That said, unless improvements are made on the performance side its doubtful the EV will be involved in the average hard working fleet anytime soon.

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