Buying a Green Car in Australia: Your Definitive Guide


Oct 14th, 2020

Buying a Green Car in Australia: Your Definitive Guide

If you think that you’re spending way too much at the servo for your old car or contributing heavily to Australia’s emission burden, then maybe it’s time to ditch that old petrol guzzler and look around for a green car. 

You can drastically change your lifestyle and choose to reduce your impact on the environment by walking or getting yourself a bicycle. Of course, these options won’t work for most people. If you’re one of them, buying an eco-friendly car will be more like it. So, let's talk about purchasing green vehicles in Australia and answer some of your FAQs in this article. 

What is a green car and why should you consider buying one?

We hear the terms ‘green car’ and ‘eco-friendly vehicle’ thrown around quite too often, but what do they mean exactly? 

Generally, we take them to mean vehicles that produce zero exhaust emission or less than the minimum threshold, which is only possible in cars with electric or hybrid drive systems. 

Switching to eco-friendly cars will help curb air pollution and city noise. Hybrids consume less than half the amount of fuel necessary for a combustion-engine vehicle to run the same distance, while fully-electric cars don’t use petrol or other fossil fuel at all. Buying a green car may even help you save money in the long run due to low or no fuel requirement and reduced stamp duty. However, reservations remain as to whether it is indeed cheaper or cleaner to drive electric vehicles

What factors affect your choices when buying a green car?

Not all green vehicles are built equal. Before buying one, you should consider the following:

  1. Hybrid vs. Fully-Electric – as you may already know, a hybrid car runs on both petrol and electricity. It is much better than the regular petrol-fuelled vehicle because it consumes less fuel. Fully-electric cars are much ‘greener’ than hybrids because they run solely on batteries.
  2. Battery charging method – while EVs run on batteries, another factor needs to be considered – how the batteries are charged. If they use electricity from coal-powered grids to recharge, then they can’t be that green or clean. They may not emit exhaust, but they still have a dirty footprint. The ultimate green option would be electric cars powered by the sun or other renewable resources and pure-hydrogen fuel cell cars. 
  3. Price – while we’ve emphasized the economy of running green cars, their purchase cost is high. So if you plan on buying one to reduce your annual expenses right away, you better think twice because the upfront cost will have a significant impact on your budget.  
  4. Range – this spec limits the distance you can travel in a green car. This restriction has even given rise to a new word in the industry – range anxiety – which refers to a driver's constant fear of losing battery power before the next charging point or destination.

So, the kind of green car you buy is a play of these four factors. Decide how much you can afford to spend, what range works for your situation, and what degree of ‘green-ness’ you’d want in a car. 

How much does a green car cost?

Many of the popular models today have a hybrid or electric counterpart, which costs twice or more than the regular petrol version. The all-electric equivalent of a petrol SUV model that costs $25,000, for instance, would fetch around $46,000. So, green cars require quite an investment initially, but this upfront cost will flatten out eventually over the years of not spending on the bowser and paying lower stamp duty rates. 

Prices vary widely, depending on the brand, model, range, charging system, and loaded features and technologies.

What are the more common green cars in Australia?

  1. Toyota Prius – classed as a medium-sized vehicle, the Prius hybrid is probably the most popular green vehicle in the country. It is available in various trim levels and body types (sedan, hatch, and wagon) at an affordable price range of $24,000-$46,000 plus on-road costs. 
  2. Nissan LEAF Electric – a battery-electric vehicle (BEV), the LEAF has a range of 270km. You can get this fully-electric compact hatchback for $50,000 plus on-road costs.

Short of getting a self-propelled transport or waiting for flying green cars to become a reality, you may now start your journey to a greener Earth by opting for hybrid and electric cars. The Prius and LEAF are just two examples of the many green options in Australia, so start looking around.

The green car technology is continually evolving, too, so you can look forward to more efficient, cleaner, and cheaper vehicles in the future.

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