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Is it worth buying an EV in the NT?

A Northern Territory Government survey in 2019 revealed 78 per cent of Territorians would consider buying an electric vehicle (EV) within five years. Four years later, only 66 electric vehicles are registered in the NT. The key barriers that prevented Territorians from purchasing an electric vehicle were cost, charging infrastructure, range anxiety and battery life.




Electric vehicles are quieter, cheaper to run, have lower emissions, and are more energy-efficient than petrol and diesel driven vehicles, yet their uptake in Australia is less than two per cent of total vehicle sales. However, changes are on the horizon.

The NT Government’s Electric Vehicle Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021–26 is introducing incentives for reduced registration and stamp duty mid this year. There’s also a scheme to increase the number and improve the quality of charging stations, as there are currently only 28 charging stations in the Territory. This will decrease range anxiety for all EV owners, especially those with smaller batteries.

The cost of electric vehicles is gradually reducing in comparison to petrol and diesel vehicles. The bonus is that charging an EV costs less than fuel. In fact, EVs have fewer moving parts and, therefore, require less maintenance.

Keep in mind that the second-hand ex-fleet EV market will provide more reasonable purchase prices in time. Some carmakers claim that after eight years of use, EV batteries will still have 70 per cent capacity. While this is more than adequate, even if the battery does need replacing after that time, the price will be substantially lower.

The range of electric vehicle EV batteries is from about 250km to 500km, depending on the size. High heat and low temperatures will impact the range, especially with the use of air-conditioning and heating systems. That said, the risk of battery failure is no more likely than engine failure in a petrol or diesel vehicle.

So, if you are considering making the change from petrol to electric, what will handle the NT’s rugged environment best? For a two-car family, it may be beneficial to use an EV in town and a petrol or diesel vehicle for around the rest of the Territory. A family who has one car may opt for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with a battery range of about 50–60km and a petrol or diesel engine to drive around town and go bush.