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A beginner’s guide to electric vehicles (EVs)

It’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to EVs, so, let’s start with the basics.


It seems like everyone’s talking about electric vehicles (EVs). Whether you’re reducing petrol costs or minimising your carbon footprint, it’s no surprise that EV consideration is on the rise. But it’s hard to know where to begin. So, let’s start with the basics

What are EVs?

EVs are any car or vehicle with a motor powered by electricity rather than traditional liquid fuels. These rechargeable vehicles generate less noise pollution, avoid excessive fuel consumption, and produce less harmful emissions than their traditional counterparts. 

What are HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs?

To add to the ever-growing list of abbreviations, you’ll generally hear about three main types of EVs.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)

HEVs rely on petrol engines plus a small battery that kicks in to optimise fuel efficiency. 

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)

PHEVs can run on their battery alone for a limited number of kilometres before relying on the engine to help. 

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs)

BEVs rely entirely on their battery for power, so they require regular charging. 

Check out further definitions via our partner, NRMA. 

How do I charge my EV battery?

Battery charging varies with the type of EV and charger. If you’re not in a rush, you can plug into a regular wall socket to reach full charge overnight. Most EVs even come with a dedicated charger to mount on your wall at home. As an alternative, you can invest in an onboard charger to get a faster charge. 

 We’ve created a simple EV Charging Hints & Tips page that you might find helpful when charging your EV at home. 

Learn more on how our EV energy plan could make it easier and more affordable to charge your EV at home with the added bonus of 100% carbon neutral energy.

Can I charge my EV with solar energy?

Yes, you can! If you have solar panels, your inverter will use your home’s solar electricity to charge your EV before using energy from the grid. Even some portable EV charging stations are fitted with solar panels and battery systems as a sustainable alternative for charging. 

What about public EV Charging Stations?

There’s also the option of public charging. You’ve probably noticed more public charging stations pop up across Australia. These vary in speed and compatibility. For example, Destination Chargers (found at shopping centres) typically take 2 hours for a full charge. To see what’s available in your area, visit the Electric Vehicle Council charger map.

Public charging stations are increasing in popularity. And for many renters and apartment dwellers, they’re crucial. That’s why ENGIE, has partnered with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to build 100 new EV charging stations across Australia

Will driving an EV save me money?

The upfront costs of EVs are typically more expensive than traditional vehicles. However, according to The Electric Vehicle Council, powering your EV can be much cheaper. So, when comparing prices, it’s worth also comparing your potential savings on fuel, maintenance, and repair costs. 

Overall, there are a lot of long-term savings that come with driving an EV - and the same can be said for our environment, too.

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