From Car Ownership to Electric Scooters: Analysing the Shift in Personal Transportation

From Car Ownership to Electric Scooters: Analysing the Shift in Personal Transportation

Nearly two years ago, we compared the costs of owning a car to those of owning an electric scooter. The results were conclusive: the latter proved to be significantly more cost-effective—by a long shot. 

This got us to wonder if our previous comparison is still relevant today. 

Is buying an electric car still a better long-term financial decision in 2024?

Let’s find out.

Foreword

Calm down, social media keyboard warriors—we don’t genuinely believe that an e-scooter is a full alternative to a car for most people. Cars still have benefits with which electric scooters just can’t compete. 

Owning a car is expensive, however, and how we use our cars adds to that cost as well. Consider this a guide to how you can save money on car ownership by supplementing your travels with an electric scooter where possible. 

CONTENT:

The Costs of Owning a Car

Purchase Price

According to a survey done by comparison website Canstar Blue, Australians spent an average of $37,000.00 on a new car and typically held on to their cars for about six years before upgrading. 

While cars have always been seen as a worthwhile investment, more people are opting to forgo the costs of buying brand new by buying second hand instead. According to Cox Automotive, the average listing price for a used car is $26,202.00

Taking into account the average prices of brand new and used cars, we can say that the average cost of getting a car in Australia should be around $31,601.00

Car Loan

As if cars are not expensive enough, the prices are made even steeper because of car loans. According to financial comparison site Finder, around 2.4 million Aussies have a car loan

Furthermore, another 9% of Australians say they plan to take out a car loan in the future. 

Based on the average car loan term of 4 years and an average interest rate of 7.44% per annum, let's consider a scenario where you are contemplating a loan for a car valued at $35,000.

Annually, you’d need to allocate approximately $10,780 to pay off the loan. This works out to $43,120 across the four years, which is $8,120 more expensive than the car itself.

Petrol

Last year, the average price of petrol was approximately $1.62 per litre. The average fuel efficiency was 11.1 kilometres per litre. If we assume that the average Australian covers around 15,000 kilometres per year, that equates to around $2,189.19 in annual petrol expenses.

This year, however, the average price of petrol has gone up to $1.81 per litre. Using the same numbers above, this equates to $2,445.94 in annual petrol expenses. 

Insurance and Registration

Aside from upfront and fuel costs, a car owner also needs to consider the costs of registration and insurance. 

It’s important to know that aside from being compulsory, the costs of insurance may also increase every year. According to Insurance Business, the average cost of car insurance is $1,472 per year.

Car registration is another expense associated with car ownership. The comparison website Compare the Market lists Australia as 11th most expensive country for car ownership. Meanwhile, according to Mozo, car registration costs in metropolitan Victoria can be as high as $876.90.

Servicing

The cost of car servicing and maintenance is another thing you need to consider when you own a car. 

Canstar reports that the average standard servicing is estimated to cost around $224, while logbook servicing may set you back about $397.

But according to the company’s Car Servicing Chains report, Australians actually spent a lot more than these estimates. In reality, the average Australian spent more than $430 on their most recent servicing.

Parking Fees

Not every car owner considers parking fees when computing the costs of car ownership, but these accumulate and can amount to a substantial sum of money.

Trailing just behind New York City, two Australian cities—Sydney and Brisbane—top the list of the most expensive cities to park in the world. This is according to car services provider and data analyst Parkopedia.

As a country, Australia is the most expensive for daily off-street parking, averaging $51.42 per day. If there are 48 working weeks in a year, this amounts to a whopping $12,340.80 per year on parking fees alone.

Toll Fees

Toll roads are common across Australia. While one journey may not be expensive, when you add them up over the course of a year, you may be surprised to find your toll fees alone cost more than the average electric scooter. 

The most expensive toll road is Melbourne’s CityLink network, which costs drivers up to $11.39 for passenger vehicles. The next seven of the most expensive toll roads all appear in New South Wales. 

In a report by Budget Direct, Australia ranks 15th in the list of countries with the highest toll fees. Our average toll fee is $5.37, and keeping in mind most of us would use the toll road twice a day (to get to our destination and then back again), the average cost of a toll road per day costs Australians $10.74 per day. Over the course of a working week, that’s $53.70, or $2,577.60 per working year.

SUMMARY

At a glance, here are the costs of car ownership in 2024:

Car Loan Repayment (Annually)

$10,780.00

Petrol

$2,445.94

Insurance

$1,472.00

Registration

$876.90

Servicing

$430.00

Parking Fees

$12,340.80

Toll Fees

$2,577.60

TOTAL (Per Year)

$30,923.24

TOTAL (Across 4 Years)

$123,692.96

Ouch.

Let’s say you don’t pay for parking, don’t drive on toll roads, you avoid servicing your car (not advisable), and just meet all the basic legal obligations associated with car ownership, you’ll still be forking out $15,574.84 per year.

And remember, this is for an average car—we’re not even looking at premium manufacturers such as BMW & Audi. 

The Costs of Owning an Electric Car

Purchase Price

Although electric cars provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fuel-powered vehicles, they are not exactly cheap. 

While acknowledging the advantages of electric cars, it is important to consider that for individuals seeking to minimise transportation costs, this option may not be the most financially viable.

According to Zecar Australia, the average cost of a new electric car is around $85,000. Buyers who are looking to purchase a second hand electric vehicle would still have to shell out around $50,000, according to WhichCar.com.au. 

Averaging the costs of brand new and second hand, a buyer can expect to spend around $67,500.00 to purchase an electric car.

Car Loan

Similar to conventional cars, buyers have the option to obtain a loan for purchasing an electric car. Fortunately, as an incentive to encourage more Australians to go green, an increasing number of banks are now providing special deals on low-emission vehicles.

As of writing, the average interest rate for electric cars stands at 5.67%. Let’s assume you get a 4 year loan for a brand new electric car valued at $75,000. In this scenario, you can anticipate paying $92,144 in total including $17,144 in interest, which translates to 48 monthly repayments of around $1,919.67.

Over the course of a year, the total repayments amount to about $23,036.04.

Charging

With an electric car, you don’t have to worry about the fluctuating costs of petrol or diesel. The costs of charging an electric car are not as exorbitant as fuel costs, and most electric cars can cover pretty long ranges on a single charge.

Let’s utilise the aforementioned data regarding the average distance covered by an Australian, which is 15,000 kilometres per year. The average charging cost per kWh is now $0.76. Fully charging a 40 kWh battery, the average battery size of an electric car, would only cost $30.40. 

Considering that a fully-charged 40 kWh battery can cover an average range of 250 kilometres, we can conclude that the average running cost of an electric car is only $0.12 per kilometre or just $1,824 per year.

Insurance

While electric cars have a lower running cost than traditional cars, the costs of insuring one can be a bit higher.

According to WhichCar.com.au, electric cars are around 20% more expensive to insure. This can be attributed to several factors, including the higher price tag of electric vehicles, the relatively higher cost of new EV parts, and the limited availability of EV technicians and service centres in the country.

Based on the figures reported by the website, the average insurance cost for an electric car could amount to approximately $1,815.80.

Registration

To offset the expensive costs of insurance, buyers of electric cars would be glad to know that certain states offer EV incentives in the form of registration exemptions.

For example, in ACT, electric vehicles may be eligible for two years of free registration. South Australia offers a three-year exemption for eligible electric vehicles, while NT offers five years of free registration.

These incentives for EVs vary among different states, so we advise that you stay updated about your state’s regulations. 

Servicing

Despite the high costs of EV parts, electric cars are actually a bit cheaper to maintain than traditional cars. Zecar Australia reports that on average, servicing for electric cars is typically cheaper by 5% (per 12 months) compared to petrol cars. 

According to Zecar Australia, the estimated cost of servicing electric cars would amount to around $306.

Parking Fees

As electric cars require the same parking spaces as traditional cars, it can be assumed that owners of electric cars would also need to allocate a similar amount for parking fees. Thus, the estimated annual parking costs for electric cars would still be approximately $12,340.80

Toll Fees

There currently aren’t any discounts for green vehicles on toll roads, so you’ll have to fork out the same cost to get around the city quickly as drivers of regular cars. 

SUMMARY

At a glance, here are the costs of electric car ownership in 2024:

Car Loan Repayment (Annual)

$23,036.04

Electricity

$672.00

Insurance

$1,824.00

Registration

N/A

Servicing

$306.00

Parking Fees

$12,340.80

Toll Fees

$2,577.60

TOTAL (Per Year)

$40,756.44

TOTAL (Across 4 Years)

$163,025.76

The Average Cost of Owning an Electric Scooter

Purchase Price

While there are several high-end electric scooters available on the market that can exceed the $3,000-$5,000 price range, for the purpose of this discussion, let's focus on regular-priced electric scooters.

From our current inventory, we determined the average price of an electric scooter to be around $1,800. If you’re planning on getting an entry level or a commuter e-scooter, the price can be even lower (the Pure Air³ Pro+, for example, is selling for only $1,199). 

Charging

Let’s calculate the running costs of an electric scooter. The average charging cost in Australia is $0.76 per kWh. Meanwhile, the average battery capacity of the e-scooters in our inventory is 0.67 kWh, which means a full charge costs roughly $0.51.

The average maximum range covered by our electric scooters is 55 km, so to cover 100 km, you need to charge the battery 1.82 times, which will only cost you approximately $0.93.

Realistically, you can’t expect to cover the same number of kilometres on your e-scooter as you will with your car. So, to compute the running costs of your e-scooter, let’s use another metric.

According to Real Insurance Australia, the average daily commuting distance for Australians is 32 kilometres, and they spend 192 days per year commuting. This adds up to a total annual commuting distance of 6,144 kilometres.

Based on the figures provided, the annual running cost of an e-scooter should be around $57.14.

Then again, assuming you can cover 15,000 kilometres on your e-scooter for the entire year, you can set aside a mere $139.50 annually for your electricity bill. 

Insurance

Under current Australian laws, electric scooters are not legally required to be insured. And while there are some options available to cover your e-scooter, the choices are still limited. Thus, information about the specific costs of insuring e-scooters is not widely available.

For these reasons, we have not included insurance costs in the calculation of e-scooter ownership expenses.

Registration

As of writing, electric scooters do not require registration. Therefore, registration costs have not been considered in this analysis. 

Servicing

Regular servicing is essential for maintaining the optimal performance and longevity of an electric scooter. While the costs of servicing may vary, in general, e-scooter servicing is not excessively expensive.

Based on our estimation, setting aside around $200 per year for your e-scooter servicing budget should be reasonable.

Parking Fees

The annual cost of parking cars, whether traditional or electric, can be a significant expense. However, one advantage of owning an electric scooter is that you can avoid these parking fees altogether.

With an electric scooter, you have the convenience of folding it up and storing it in compact spaces such as under your desk, in a locker, or any other suitable storage area, which eliminates the need for expensive parking fees.

Accessories

For your safety and convenience, we also recommend including the cost of accessories when computing the costs of e-scooter ownership. Based on our current inventory, we suggest allocating the following amounts for accessories:

  • Helmet - $120
  • Light - $60
  • Lock - $80
  • Bag - $65
  • Phone Holder - $55

If you plan to purchase all the recommended accessories in one go, you can expect to spend approximately $380.

Public Transportation

Realistically speaking, it may be challenging to rely solely on an electric scooter to cover long distances. However, you can still make use of your e-scooter for the first and last miles of your daily commute and then utilise public transportation for the longer stretches in between.

Similarly, there will be days when unfavourable weather conditions prevent you from using your electric scooter. 

Thus, we factored in the cost of public transportation to accurately compute the costs of e-scooter ownership. According to Statista, the average Australian household spends around $46 per week on public transport. There are 48 working weeks in a year, so this translates to around $2,208.

SUMMARY

At a glance, here are the costs of electric scooter ownership in 2024:

Purchase Price

$1,800.00

Charging

$57.14

Insurance

N/A

Registration

N/A

Servicing

$200.00

Parking Fees

N/A

Accessories

$380.00

Public Transportation

$2,208

TOTAL (Per Year)

$4,645.14

TOTAL (Across Four Years)

$12,040.56

Since this table already includes the full upfront cost of an electric scooter and accessories, expect the succeeding years’ running costs to be even lower. Without the purchase price, you only need to spend around $2,465.14 per year to use your e-scooter.

Could E-Scooters Replace Cars?

The short answer is yes—and no.

Here’s the long answer. 

Electric scooters are indeed a viable means of transportation, especially for individuals seeking a practical and efficient way to travel from one point to another. They offer several distinct advantages that traditional cars may not possess. If you live alone or have minimal commuting needs, an electric scooter can be a suitable option for you.

However, these rides are designed for individual use and have limited carrying capacity compared to cars. They aren’t suitable for situations where you need to accommodate multiple passengers or transport bulky items.

So, how do we strike a balance here? If you have a car that still works well, keep it. If you have extra cash, consider purchasing a reliable e-scooter so you wouldn’t have to use your car all the time. 

On the other hand, if you are considering purchasing a car, opt for a cheaper car model or a second-hand unit. By choosing a more affordable car, you can allocate some of the savings towards purchasing an electric scooter.

Is Owning an E-Scooter Still Worth It in 2024?

The numbers speak for themselves: owning an e-scooter is a worthwhile investment if you want to enjoy the advantages of going electric while saving money on transportation costs.

When comparing the running costs of an e-scooter to cars, the savings are significant. The low charging costs, minimal maintenance expenses, and zero parking fees all contribute to reducing overall transportation expenses.

Purchasing your own e-scooter also proves to be a better long-term financial decision, as it gives you an opportunity to cut down on other expenses, such as food delivery and ride-sharing services.

Additionally, these benefits extend beyond the individual owner. As electric scooters become a more common sight on our roads, we can expect to see positive effects on the environment and traffic flow. This creates a sustainable and efficient transportation ecosystem that affects the community as a whole.

There you have it. We have figures and data to back our claims up, but we encourage you to do your own research and consider your own budget and commuting needs. Weigh your potential savings against upfront costs, and determine whether it’s time for you to finally get your own e-scooter this year.

Car vs. Electric Car vs. Electric Scooter: Costs During the First Year

Expenses

Cars

Electric Cars

Electric Scooters

Purchase Price

-

-

$1,800.00

Loan Repayment

$10,780.00

$23,036.04

-

Petrol

$2,445.94

-

-

Charging

-

$672.00

$57.14

Insurance

$1,472.00

$1,824.00

-

Registration

$876.90

-

-

Servicing

$430.00

$306.00

$200.00

Parking Fees

$12,340.80

$12,340.80

-

Toll Fees

$2,577.60

$2,577.60

-

Accessories

-

-

$380.00

Public Transport

-

-

$2,208

TOTAL

$30,923.24

$40,756.44

$4,645.14

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