Comparing electric cars to petrol cars

When choosing between an electric car and a petrol car, Queensland drivers have plenty of questions. Are electric cars worth it? What’s the cheapest electric car in Australia? Are there Queensland electric vehicle incentives? And how much CO2 does my car emit anyway? The good news is there are plenty of resources available to help you find answers.

Battery electric car costs v petrol car costs

Estimated on-road price: Currently, there are not enough battery electric cars available in Australia to meet demand and battery electric vehicles are generally more expensive than petrol vehicles. Both the Queensland Government and the Australian Federal Government have introduced electric vehicle incentives to make buying a battery electric vehicle more affordable. These incentives include a $3,000 rebate for new electric vehicles under $58,000, stamp duty reductions and tax breaks.  

Fuel: Battery electric cars require no petrol, so drivers need to only pay for the electricity they use to charge their car. While electricity costs depend on how far you drive, where you recharge and the type of battery electric car you buy, recharging a battery electric car is cheaper than filling up a petrol tank.

Servicing: Because battery electric cars don’t have as many moving parts in their motors as petrol cars, electric vehicle service costs are lower than comparable petrol vehicle service costs.

Battery replacement costs

The batteries in electric cars usually have an 7-8-year and 160,000 km warranty, after which you may have to replace them. It is difficult to source exact replacement costs, however you can currently expect to pay several thousand dollars to replace an electric car battery. These prices may drop as technology improves over the coming years.

How ‘green’ are EVs?

While EVs produce no exhaust emissions, the power source for battery charging can produce CO2 emissions.

In effect, the emissions are transferred from the point of vehicle use to the point of power generation.

Actual CO2 emissions vary from state to state and depend on the source used for electricity generation.

For example, a vehicle being charged by home solar most of the time will have significantly lower COemissions

To compare an EV’s CO2 emissions with the combined cycle CO2 emissions of a conventional vehicle, multiply the EV’s energy consumption (Wh/km) by 0.93**


117 Wh/km x 0.93 = 108.81 g/km

The result can then be compared with the combined cycle CO2 emissions of a conventional vehicle as listed on the Green Vehicle Guide. (This example would equate to a petrol-powered vehicle with a fuel consumption of about 4.6 l/100km)

Read more

Sources of energy diagram table

Costs and emissions calculators

The Australian Government has developed a range of online tools including a fuel consumption calculator, CO2 emissions calculator, and a calculator to help you figure out the cost of charging an electric vehicle at your home. You can also use the search tool to see specific vehicles’ fuel consumption, emissions, electric range and more.

Our electric car products and services

When you’re ready to switch to an electric car, we’re here to make the transition seamless. Purchase and protect your electric car with products and services that have evolved towards a more sustainable future.

Green Car Loan
Say goodbye to the bowser with an RACQ Bank Green Car Loan.^ 
Home Solar
Home solar power and batteries
Power up your home and car using the Queensland sun.
Charging station
Chargefox EV charging network
Save a minimum of 10% when you charge at select Chargefox sites across Australia.~~
Roadside assistance for EVs
Choose from multiple levels of cover for your electric vehicle.*
RACQ Car and Motorcycle Insurance

Get comprehensive cover for your electric vehicle today. 

RACQ Car Buying Service
Take the hassle out of finding a new vehicle. Our car buying service is free for RACQ members.~~
Search and compare cars
On the hunt for your next vehicle? Compare key specs with our car comparison tool.

Things to note

Banking and loan products issued by Members Banking Group Limited ABN 83 087 651 054 AFSL/Australian credit licence 241195 trading as RACQ Bank. Terms, conditions, fees, charges and lending policies apply. This is general advice only and may not be right for you. This information does not take your personal objectives, circumstances or needs into account. Read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Financial Services Guide and the Terms and Conditions, and consider if appropriate for you before deciding.

Except for RACQ Bank, any RACQ entity referred to on this page is not an authorised deposit-taking institution for the purposes of the Banking Act 1959 (Cth). That entity’s obligations do not represent deposits or other liabilities of RACQ Bank. RACQ Bank does not guarantee or otherwise provide assurance in respect of the obligations of that entity, unless noted otherwise.

Insurance products (excluding Travel Insurance) are issued by RACQ Insurance Limited ABN 50 009 704 152 (RACQ). Conditions, limits and exclusions apply. This is general advice only and may not be right for you. This information does not take your personal objectives, circumstances or needs into account. Read the PDS and any applicable Supplementary PDS before making a purchase decision on this product. You can also access our Target Market Determinations on this website.

~~ Terms and conditions apply to all offers. View the individual offer for full details. Offer is subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice.  

^The Green Car Loan is available for new lending only to purchase a plug-in electric car up to 12 months old.

*Conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Visit for details.

Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. See for details.

+The costings are indicative only for comparison purposes, and not necessarily an indicator of actual costs. Any deviation from the assumptions or values used in the calculations will change the actual cost of owning and operating the vehicle. All costs used in these calculations were current at the time of compilation and based on 15,000 kilometres/year for five years. A Queensland Government EV rebate was applied where applicable.'

**Applies to vehicles operating in Queensland. This figure may be different for other states.