I was recently asked whether it is worth owning an Electric Vehicle (EV) if you can’t charge at home.

In the realm of sustainable transportation, EVs have emerged as a compelling option – and no longer just for environmentally-conscious consumers, but also the budget conscious. With their promise of reduced emissions, lower operating costs, and governmental incentives, EVs are reshaping the automotive landscape worldwide. However, a pertinent question arises: Is it worth owning an EV in Australia if you can’t charge at home?

Undoubtedly, the benefits are there if you have your own property where you can make adjustments to your electrical infrastructure, like installing a charger, a battery or even solar panels. For some in this situation, they are able to operate an EV without any ongoing charging cost. But is owning an EV worth it if you can only use the public charging infrastructure?

As an EV owner residing in an apartment complex, I’ve pondered this query extensively. Let’s delve into the nuances and considerations of EV ownership without the convenience of home charging. But first, let’s consider why you would even want to own an EV in the first place. Here are some of the points I considered when I bought my Tesla Model Y.

Advantages of Owning an EV:

  • Economic Efficiency: One of the primary draws of EV ownership is the significant cost savings in fuel expenses. Electricity tends to be cheaper than traditional unleaded petrol, translating to long-term financial benefits.
  • Lower Maintenance Costs: EVs boast simpler mechanics compared to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, resulting in reduced servicing expenses over time. Though batteries can be expensive to replace, they are generally covered by manufacturers under reasonably lengthy warranties. 
  • Government Incentives: Various governmental incentives and rebates are available to incentivise EV adoption, further sweetening the deal for potential buyers. These rebates are constantly changing so it is worth checking what is available in your area. The other incentive available for those operating an EV on a novated lease, is that the entire vehicle is Fringe Benefit Tax exempt. This can create considerable savings.
  • Resale Value: With the global shift towards EVs, the resale value of ICE vehicles may diminish over time. Investing in an EV could potentially safeguard against future depreciation concerns. This was something I considered when getting my new car – which I’ll likely keep for 5-7 years. With new vehicle emissions standards, and the rising cost of petrol, it will become more and more difficult to sell a combustion engine vehicle in the future.

Considerations for EV Ownership Without Home Charging:

If you are considering purchasing an EV without being able to charge at home, here are some considerations to take into account:

Charging Infrastructure:

The feasibility of EV ownership heavily depends on the accessibility and reliability of charging infrastructure in your vicinity. Research the availability of charging stations in your area and along your regular routes. For me, I knew there was a charging station near where I liked to walk, and a number of chargers were installed at my local supermarket. This isn’t yet the case in all areas, so it is important to know where your local chargers are. Since purchasing my EV, a number of additional charging stations have been installed within 20 minutes of my house. It’s encouraging to see more and more charging stations becoming available.

Charging Frequency:

Evaluate your daily driving habits and assess how frequently you’ll need to charge your EV. Opt for models with longer ranges if charging stations are scarce or inconveniently located. I generally have to charge 2-3 times per week with the distance I travel. If you are used to driving a fuel efficient vehicle or a hybrid, you may need to charge more frequently than you used to top up at the petrol pump.

Charging Station Availability:

Take into account the demand and congestion at charging stations, especially during peak hours. Plan your charging sessions accordingly to minimise wait times. It is important to consider battery chemistry here, as the advertised range of an EV, may not be the actual range that you can get. For instance, My Tesla Model Y RWD has LFP battery chemistry where its recommended to charge to 100%, but the long range Tesla Model Y has a different battery where regular charging should be limited to 80-90%. Regardless of the range, it is watching some of your local public chargers over a couple of weeks to see how busy they are before you purchase you new vehicle.

Also consider the charging stations that are available for your particular EV. I’d suggest, if you live in an apartment, the only EV worth considering at this stage is a Tesla as it gives you access to the greatest amount of public chargers. While Tesla is opening up its network to other vehicles, there are still a number of charging stations that are exclusively available for Teslas.

Impact on Schedule:

Factor in the time required for charging into your weekly schedule. Depending on your lifestyle and commitments, frequent visits to charging stations may necessitate adjustments. For me, I try and charge when I go to the supermarket or when I go for a walk, so it is still productive time.

Workplace Charging:

Explore the possibility of charging your EV at your workplace, if such facilities are available. More and more employers are offering free charging at work to incentivise EV ownership as part of the Net Zero commitments. This can alleviate the need for public charging and streamline your charging routine.

Future Living Arrangements:

Consider the likelihood of your living situation changing in the foreseeable future. If home charging becomes a viable option down the line, it could significantly enhance the convenience of EV ownership. Say your vehicle is up for renewal now, but you plan on moving in a year or two to a place where you could charge at home. In this situation it may be worth enduring public charging for the time being.

While owning an EV without access to home charging presents challenges, it remains a viable and potentially rewarding endeavor. By carefully evaluating the aforementioned factors and leveraging existing infrastructure and resources, individuals can navigate the complexities of EV ownership in Australia effectively. There are more and more people buying EVs with only the ability to charge using public networks, I’m one of them.

f you are considering ordering a Tesla, feel free to use my referral link to save some money off your order.

Do you have the ability to charge at home? Let us know your experience below.