Owning a car is like getting into a relationship. Before signing yourself up, you were wooed by the initial photos and then sold after a 20-minute ‘rendezvous’, and now the ‘honeymoon period’ is over, said car is metaphorically sitting on your couch in tracksuit pants, burping.

    Electric cars are no different. They have plenty of initial virtues such as near-silent motoring, clear environmental conscience and cheap ‘refuelling’ – but like all novelty, it eventually wears off. In this article, we outline what you can expect when living with an electric car.

    You won’t be able to go back to petrol

    Silent, buttery smooth motoring was once the preserve of brands such as Rolls-Royce, whose engineers boasted you could balance a coin on one of its running V12s. Electric cars have brought the same powertrain refinement to $40,000 models – if not the same build quality, material choice or badge prestige. But to be sure, once you’ve owned and gotten used to an electric car, a regular petrol car will feel as modern as a steam train.

    Range anxiety is (still) a thing

    While there’s something lovely about always leaving home with a full tank of ‘fuel’ – if you charge your EV overnight at home – be prepared for a bit more worry when attempting a longer trip. 

    Back when you were a member of the old petrol guard, only a journey on the Nullarbor would solicit even the briefest worry about “range” – something you only ever addressed once the fuel light came on. But own an electric car and desire to drive it anywhere of distance, and you become something of an adventurer and mathematician, regularly Googling the locations of far-flung chargers and wondering if you can make it from A to B – and back. You can’t not think about it.

    You might also find your EV’s claimed range is nowhere near realistic, especially at 110km/h on a very hot day with the AC blasting. And god forbid you have something like two mountain bikes on the roof – guess what the extra drag does to the range. Which brings us to the next reality of owning an EV in 2023…

    Public charging infrastructure sucks

    While testing new EVs, in Australian cities and rural areas, we can’t believe how often we arrive at a public charge-point only to find one or more chargers “out of order”. For the ones that do work, as more people purchase EVs, expect to experience a new world of unwritten EV etiquette – muppets who park their cars plugged into a charger, and leave them there long after they’re fully topped up. Too bad if your EV is near empty, and you’re in a hurry.

    EVs are cheaper to run

    Remember when petrol was just $1.50 per litre? When you own an EV, you’ll be only too happy to never glance at a petrol station price tower ever again. Your world is now kilowatt-hours, and compared to petrol or diesel cars, it’s a much cheaper one. 

    The holy grail of modern EV ownership is a roof covered in solar panels recharging your EV. Not only are you preventing the release of around four tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year (compared to driving a typical petrol car), but it’s costing you nothing. That’s ignoring, of course, any additional CO2 emitted during the more resource-intensive manufacturing of an EV; and how much all those solar panels cost…

    You feel like you’ve joined the future

    Let’s not pretend there isn’t a certain smugness in silently blasting around in your EV on roads still dominated by ‘dirty’ petrol and diesel cars. There’s a sense you’ve done your bit by graduating to an EV and while its CO2 emissions depend largely on how it’s recharged, there’s no denying you’re making the city a cleaner, quieter place with no tailpipe emissions. Quite a lovely feeling. 

    As is getting in your EV having pre-heated or pre-cooled the interior using an app on your phone in winter or summer.

    You’ll become a hoon, even if you weren’t one before

    Compared to petrol equivalents, most EVs offer sports-car-like acceleration at least from zero to 50km/h – even cheap, cheerful EVs that have no sporty predilections whatsoever. We haven’t met a single person – regardless of age, gender, culture, eye colour, whatever – who doesn’t get a little thrill out of punchy acceleration. Owning an EV, even a basic one, means even your tree-hugging uncle will delight in blasting away old V8 Falcons and Commodores at the lights. Really. 

    Living with an EV: in conclusion

    Purchasing an electric car, despite the current extra cost up-front and necessary installing of a home wall charger, is an excellent decision and one you’re unlikely to regret – unless you have to tow something, or do a road trip. But to be sure, these aren’t necessarily the fault of EVs and one can safely assume public charging infrastructure is only going to improve. After all, there weren’t any petrol stations anywhere at all, at one point.

    With better public charging options, an EV will go from feeling only fit for a fling to proper marriage material – long after the honeymoon period has faded.