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Woman charging her electric car

What are the pros and cons of renting an electric car?

Electric cars are not perfect — nor are they for everyone — so it is important to be aware of the pros and cons before deciding to rent one.

What are the pros of renting an electric vehicle?

Electric cars are a pleasure to drive

An electric car has instant torque meaning they accelerate quicker than a conventional car. They’re also quieter (more on this below), meaning you’ll be able to hear your kids in the back seat far easier … okay, perhaps this is a con not a pro… joking! The thing that most first time drivers of electric cars comment on more than anything else, is just how smooth the driver is. It really is as smooth as the propaganda says.

Electric vehicles are affordable to run

When you rent an electric car, rest assured you’ll be paying less to keep those wheels rolling than if you were in a conventional car. In most cases, you will still be charged for the electricity required to charge it up, but this will cost a fraction of what buying petrol will. Some have estimated that over a year, keeping an electric car running is 70% cheaper than a conventional car.

In some cases, thanks to the government and other incentives, it can be free to recharge. Do you have solar power in your residence? If so, recharging your car is going to cost you next to nothing.

Electric vehicles are easy on people and the planet

Having zero exhaust emissions is a heady claim, but that is exactly the case with electric cars. There is no exhaust — not when you are cruising on the highway, idling at the lights, or stuck in suburban traffic. None. Nada. This lack of exhaust is a great thing for pedestrians and anyone else standing around while your vehicle sits there.

Electric cars are also quiet — no burbling or revving of the engine, just a gentle hum — and that is welcome news to pedestrians and anyone living by a busy road. Who doesn’t want less noise pollution?

Electric cars are safe

The battery is what keeps an electric car running, and these are heavy chunky items. Electric vehicle designers put their thinking hats on when deciding where to put them and settled on very low down in the centre of the body of the car.

What this does is make for a car with a low centre of gravity, and what this means is a car that handles better, especially on corners, and is less likely to roll over in the event of an accident. These are significant safety improvements versus conventional cars.

What are the cons of renting an electric vehicle?

Recharging an electric car isn’t as easy as filling up the gas tank ... yet

Australia has been a bit slow out of the gates on setting up its charging station infrastructure, so, while the number of charging stations is growing like wildfire, they’re not as ubiquitous as they should be ... yet.

What this means is that it pays to keep a closer eye on the level of charge in your vehicle and keeping it charged up when possible. Electric cars are just as heavy to push as conventional ones, so you do want to try and avoid running out of power. This said, worldwide some 80% of electric vehicle owners charge their vehicles at home, so get in the habit of plugging your car in before you go to bed and you should be set.

Electric cars do not have an unlimited range

A top-of-the-line electric car has a range of around 550 km. This is a substantial distance, but it isn’t forever, so drivers of electric cars do need to keep an eye on the odometer so they know how far they’ve gone — and want to go — and sort out their car’s charging needs accordingly.

As the network of charging stations becomes more comprehensive, this will be less of an issue. This is a “con” that is going to reduce in importance over time.

Charging an electric car does take time

Ok, so you can fill the petrol tank of a conventional car in under a minute, and electric cars are not quite at that point yet. A super-fast charging station could well fully charge your car in around ten to 15 minutes, but if you’re plugging it into your toaster socket at home, it will take all night.

Assuming you sleep at night, this isn’t a show stopper, and ten to 15 minutes isn’t the end of the world, and hey, stretching your legs and having a refreshing drink while you wait for your charge to finish is a great way to remain an alert driver.

You’re going to need an app

All charging station providers require the use of a smartphone app to manage your charging. When we say charging, we mean both electrical and financial charging — the app will manage both. Charging provider apps are available in both the Appstore and Google Play and are free — though the electrical charge often isn’t.

On the upside, there is no messing around with pesky cash or waiting for change, instead all you need do is swipe a QR code, plug in your car, hit start, then finish, and you’re done. Don’t forget to unplug your car before you drive away!

Don’t leave your fully charged car plugged in

When your car is fully charged, don’t forget to unplug it. Why? In most cases you will be charged an “idle fee” for leaving your car connected — even if it is fully charged.

So when you’re done, be sure to disconnect it and move your vehicle as this will allow other drivers to get charged up as soon as possible — and save you money in the process.