How much power do Electric Cars really use?

Ok, so this is a topic I often see coming up online is how much power do electric cars really use?

Now a lot of conversation comes around that Electric Cars will “Cripple the national grid” and “Imagine how much power will cost once Electric Cars become the norm?”

Realistically…not that much, and I’d like to show you why the power consumption from an EV isn’t really that much, and that some people who say that you will have to upgrade half the country and half your house probably don’t understand the exact situation.

Now before we go further, yes, some people will absolutely need to do upgrades, and some people will absolutely need high powered wall chargers and high power draw systems, that’s just what they need for their use cases.

Just like combustion cars, not every EV owner will be driving a Nissan Leaf, and not every EV owner will be driving a Rivian R1T. Those are your extreme ends, and as such, we will be using the following cars for this analysis:

  • Nissan Leaf – This is our Entry Level Car we will be using, the 40kWh mid-range Leaf
  • Tesla Model 3 – We’ll use the Long Range 75kWh model
  • Rivian R1T Max Pack – This is the 180kWh model

So for this, we need to know the consumption figures of all the attached cars, which are as follows:

  • Leaf = 164Wh/km
  • Tesla Model 3 = 131Wh/km
  • Rivian R1T = 299 Wh/km

Now clearly the Tesla Model 3 does pretty good efficiency because Tesla is the bleeding edge, but with over 800,000 Model 3’s sold, it is by far the best mid-range vehicle on the market today.

The milegae

So once again, like all our comparisons, we will be using the Budget Direct Average Australian Kilometres used, which seems a good baseline for our Leaf driver, and we will say the Tesla Driver is a Family person and does Double this, and the Rivian Driver will use a whopping 4x this amount of kilometres, and therefore power.

So as a result, we get the following table:

VehicleBattery Size (kWh)Consumption (Wh/km)Daily Kilometres (km)Daily Consumption (kWh)Charging Required (kWh)
Nissan Leaf4016436.45.976.57
Tesla Model 37513172.89.5410.49
Rivian R1T180299145.643.5347.89
Table 1 – Baseline data on vehicles

Now, we are going to make some assumptions on the data:

We are going to assume that the chargers are on 90% efficient, this means that you will need more power to charge the vehicle than your daily use, no system is perfect, just like the best combustion vehicles on the road only turn 30% of their fuel into power, EV’s only charge at 90% of their rated use.

What this means for you combustion vehicle owners, is realistically, at best, only 300ml out of every litre is going to making your car drive.

Sounds way less efficient doesn’t it?

How much does this cost me?

Now keeping in mind that some people will pay far less than the national average, while some people pay far more than the national average, that’s how averages work unfortunately.,

So to be accurate, we are going to use the Australian National Average, which our friends over at Electricity Wizard have put together from data taken from the Australian Energy Market Comission.

That number is:

$0.3441/kWh!

Oh jeez, that’s pretty shitty. Probably South Australia, yeah, let’s blame South Australia, they’re a good scapegoat for our national average looking so poor.

Anyway, this makes our table look like the following, at least on cost:

VehicleCharging Required (kWh)Cost to charge DailyCost to charge WeeklyCost to charge FortnightlyCost to Charge MonthlyCost to Charge Yearly
Nissan Leaf6.57$2.26$15.82$31.63$63.27$759.21
Tesla Model 310.49$3.61$25.27$50.54$101.07$1,212.88
Rivian R1T47.89$16.48$115.35$230.69$461.39$5,536.68
Table 2 – Charging Costs

Now we can get super super deep into this, but this is what the average Australian will pay.

Yes, we know that some people will have a Zappi with Time of Day charging, and it will leverage solar to charge during the day, and it will use off-peak to charge at night in the wee hours of the morning, and all that good jazz.

So yes, some people will get a free charge off their solar, and some people will get a really really cheap charge off peak.

Averages.

Let’s just take a quick look at some comparable cars, the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, and Ford Range, and how much it would cost toi run them to give us a little bit of a baseline average, noting that 2 cars are Petrol and one is Diesel

Now Petrol Prices taken from globalpetrolprices.com and diesel taken from globalpetrolprices.com

VehicleConsumption (l/km)Daily kmDaily Consumption (l)Cost/lCost DailyCost WeeklyCost FortnightlyCost MonthlyCost Yearly
Toyota Corolla0.06536.42.366$1.70$4.03$28.22$56.44$112.89$1,354.64
Toyota Camry0.08972.86.4792$1.70$11.04$77.28$154.57$309.14$3,709.63
Ford Ranger0.084145.612.2304$1.64$20.02$140.15$280.30$560.59$6,727.11
Table 3 – Comparable Combustion Vehicles

So as you can see, on the costs of fuel alone, you will save in the vicinity of:

  • Small Car = $595.43
  • Medium Car = $2,496.75
  • Medium Ute = $1,190.43

Meaning that this is a very palatable option on savings alone.

But the national grid!

Ok, so let’s break this down a little bit more for people, a lot of the issues that people are saying we will face is on the national grid.

Now, what you have to understand is that the average person will get home around 6-7pm, so let’s go with 6:30pm, and they will spend around 8 hours at work, starting around 9am, this gives you two distinct blocks of charging:

This means that most people will leave home at 7am to get to work by 9 and drop the kids off at school, and they will leave work at 5:30 to run home with a bit of an after work chinwag.

  • Day Block – 8.5 Hours
  • Night Block – 12.5 Hours

So here is the table adjusted for charging, per car:

VehicleDaily Charging Required (kWh)Charge Per Block (kWh)Charge Rate Day (W)Charge Rate Night (W)
Nissan Leaf6.573.28386.27273.61
Tesla Model 39.544.77560.99397.37
Rivian R1T43.5321.772,560.851,813.93
Table 4 – Charge Rates

Now this is assuming that people charging their car will set their Time of Departure to reduce the load on the grid, and that they won’t want their car sitting for hours and hours at maximum charge, and that they can use their portable charger at work, and their home charger at home, and that they are sensible about charging (Which we as a society need to be moving forwards)

So, realistically, the average person will be running roughly a small Kettle (300W) during the day up to a large refrigerator or air conditioner (2,500W) during the day

Realistically, it’s not a huge amount.

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