Are you considering whether to buy a new electric vehicle?
If you are looking at the purchase of a new car, many are going through the question: “Do I purchase an Electric Vehicle, or stick with what I know?” This article is our shared experience following the purchase of our new Tesla Model Y.
Context & Background: In July of this year, our family faced the exciting yet pivotal decision of choosing a new car after our eldest daughter got her license and purchase one of our cars. The conversations started with Do we stick to the conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle route which is familiar and known, or do we venture into the unknown and purchase our first electric vehicle and be part of the future energy transition? This can’t be understated, as it was a significant journey in of itself. After a thoughtful two-month deliberation, we opted for an electric vehicle and chose the Tesla Model Y. From here, I hope this shared experience might shed light on key considerations we took and perhaps help others contemplating the same switch to an Electric Vehicle (EV).
Intrigue in Technological Advancements: The acceleration of technology in the EV space was a major pull factor. The Model Y’s cutting-edge features and continuous software updates intrigued us.
Commercial Viability: As a cost-conscious family, the financial aspect was a strong consideration. My wife’s background as a CFO and Commercially oriented business woman, needed us to explore the hard dollar commercial incentives, particularly those that came from subsidies, rebates and the novated lease route.
Simplicity & User Experience: Tesla’s reputation for a seamless and user-friendly experience played a significant role in our decision-making process. From test drive, to purchase, it was essentially just like purchasing a bit of technology online with a set of wheels.
Switching to Energy: With the elimination of traditional fuel needs, we had to consider the shift to a different energy source. This aligned with our broader commitment to sustainability and something we have been talking about but not really been acting on with great deliberate intent, which is our home energy footprint and insights into our solar consumption and production.
Functionality, Space, Reliability: Beyond the eco-friendly aspect, practical considerations such as ample boot space and the reliability of an EV for everyday use factored into our decision.
Low Maintenance: The reduced maintenance, particularly in terms of servicing, tire wear, was an unexpected but welcome advantage.
Environmental Footprint: The ease and outcome of integrating home with that of the Model Y impressed, and its integration into our daily movements and routines has heightened our awareness of our environmental impact which helps us make better decisions – we aren’t perfect, but we are certainly progressing better than yesterday!
Commercial Incentives: The decision to opt for a novated lease was largely influenced by the 2023 Federal Budget announcement, making non-luxury EVs exempt from Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT). The novated lease route promised both environmental benefits and substantial savings compared to traditional financing.
Home Charging and Solar Integration: With a 9kW solar system at home, we strategically aligned our high-power activities with solar production – charging the car between 10am-3pm, pool filter, dishwashers, washing machines and limiting any use of cooling in home. The Gen3 Tesla home charger ensured efficient charging with seamless integration to the vehicle and the variety of apps available is great for that.
Choosing BeCarWise: A huge shout-out to BeCarWise, whose support in us navigating the novated lease process for a small business owner like myself was invaluable.
Grid Feed-in Tariff Considerations: We delved into the intricacies of the grid feed-in tariff, understanding that consumption rather than excess production was incentivised. We found it hard to find any Energy Companies offering anything more than short term feed in tarrifs for more than 15c/ kWh, there was a conversation about leveraging control over consumption if we were to install a battery that may discount things, however it was noted for future consideration (brief overview below on the battery thoughts for us).
Inverter Technology and Load Management: Our use of our old but reliable Fronius inverter highlighted the need for better load management. Analysing the data revealed opportunities to optimise our energy consumption further – the next one we have to tackle is moving our hot water system tarrif and timer to a time later in the day (currently early in the morning before sun hits our solar panels).
Evaluating the Business Case:
Now, armed with our Tesla Model Y, it’s time to delve into the ongoing evaluation of the business case which drove the car options. In short, with out the numbers (because each use case is different), here was our framework:
- The vehicle Function, Features, Technology & Benefits helped confirm our decision for going for an EV.
- The benefits of the EV decision however, were largely driven by the tax benefits and ability to access a novated lease, which saved us on the GST portion of the purchase price and running expenses over the life of the vehicle. I’d encourage exploring your own local, state and federal incentives as they do differ by location.
- On the cost of running, we have captured a like for like comparative analysis of fuel over the past year vs. energy costs. Essentially, we have sweated our latent asset (our under utilised 9kW solar system) and now we are improving utilisation of its performance and potential. Whilst consideration of lost solar production utilisation was calculated over the past year, the 0.05c feed in tariff was minor compared to our purchase price of equivalent energy under-utilised. Anyway, just like hotels, you can’t sell yesterdays bed or utilise yesterdays energy without venturing into a battery.
- We may choose to buy a battery some time later, however we haven’t yet made the business case stack up. Primarily due to the cost, return and electrical upgrades. In our case, we would need to fully upgrade our power system with 3 phase (for a few different reasons), so whilst there are some rebates on offer for batteries to the end of 2023, it is probably not at the tipping point for us to jump at getting a battery.
- Lastly, whilst our energy bills are showing a slight reduction in monthly charges, our alternative vehicle costs have been zero’d out. Our focus now changes to our energy behaviours and also moving load to peak solar generation periods, which we hope will further achieve positive outcomes into the future.
As we continue to navigate our EV and this new future landscape, we are enjoying the learning and the kids are getting involved too (particularly the eldest daughter who has already asked how much to convert her car into a battery vehicle so she doesn’t have to pay for fuel and use our solar).
In summary, the journey so far has been fantastic to learn more through our own experience and promises not just financial savings but a meaningful contribution to a sustainable future. I hope this helps those considering a vehicle purchase some time soon.