The cost of an electric vehicle: is it worth changing?


The current gasoline supply problems will have prompted many motorists to take another look at electric vehicles (EVs).

They were presented as an ecological choice, with lower running costs and strongly incentivized by the government. But are electric vehicles really good for the environment and what needs to be done to encourage greater adoption at all ages? We’ll take a look …

Initial purchase price

Buying a car, whether you buy it new or used, is often one of the most expensive purchases in many people’s lives. For new cars, the comparable cost, especially on the “affordable” side of the EV market, is much higher than their equivalent combustion option.

Take the VW up !, a city car that is already popular and appreciated for its affordability, speed and love for all ages.

A brand new up! with an entry-level spec costs £ 13,660 and an entry-level e-up! starts at £ 23,550. Even the best specs! GTI starts at £ 17,190. Between the two entry-level models, this represents a 172% increase in cost.

If we switch to the premium EV market and take a look at the BMW X3 and iX3, the price difference is still stark with the £ 59,730 iX3 and the £ 43,370 X3, still a 137% increase in cost. , just to be an electric vehicle.

And in the second-hand market, availability alone is off-putting. A quick glance at Auto Trader shows that the current availability of electric vehicles is just over 6,000, while gasoline is over 210,000 and diesel is just under 150,000. , or a 6000% increase in the availability of second-hand combustion compared to electric vehicles.

The difference in cost here too is shocking. A 2006 Reva G-Wiz can be bought from £ 2,100, and available on the combustion side we could buy a 2003 Ford Fiesta for £ 190.

For many young people, who are often environmentally conscious and want to be sustainable, buying an EV for the initial purchase alone is off-putting, despite the appeal of zero emissions.

Start-up costs: Insurance and taxes

Once the initial cost of the car has been paid, you must then insure it. And electric car insurance is often where electric vehicles turn out to be the most expensive.

We scoured some numbers on several insurance comparison sites to find out what high street insurers were charging for electric vehicles compared to combustion insurance. To do this, we compared a 2021 up! with a 2021 e-up! for a 41-year-old man who owns a house, commutes to and from work every day, parks in a driveway and travels 14,000 miles a year and has been driving since 1997.

For the e-up !, the average price of insurance with an example insurer is £ 408.93

On the other hand, insurance for the top! arrived at £ 335.61 with the same terms and the same insurer.

That’s an average difference of £ 73.32 in cost alone for a similar model, with the only difference being the battery that powers it.

It is often best to check with a specialist insurer for rarer, alternative fuel, or modified electric cars, as they will often be able to get a cheaper and fairer quote.

For electric vehicle owners, unless the cost of the car exceeds £ 40,000, the annual vehicle excise duty (VED) – or tax – is £ 0. For those with more expensive cars, an annual supplement of £ 310 is required. Still, the VED’s lack of annual cost can be appealing.

Cost per kilometer

Once the insurance and VED are in place, the driving begins. Finally, this is the one where EV wins easily.

With the cost of electricity averaging in the UK 17.2 pence per kWh according to BEIS, the cost per mile for an EV is around 5 pence per mile, assuming an average of 3.5 miles per kWh on average.

Gasoline, with a fuel cost of £ 1.34 per liter, averages 12 pence per mile with an average fuel consumption of 49.2 mpg. Since it has just peaked in eight years, this cost will be higher than the price of fuel.

So for a daily commute, including 50 mile daily trips, you would spend £ 2.50 on electricity and £ 6 on gasoline.

Access to charging

While the 5 pence per mile figure sounds very appealing, that is only if you charge at home all the time. If you use public chargers, the cost is likely to increase much faster.

What Car data shows that even the cheapest public charging option (BP Pulse PAYG 7kW at 18p / kWh) is still slightly more expensive than charging at home.

Likewise, the availability and compatibility of EV charging points is still not as great as the availability of gas stations. And for some EV charging networks, this requires a monthly or annual fee, or access with a charge card. It’s not yet as accessible as gas stations.

Beyond access to public charging stations, for many EV users, you need to have a driveway or access to home charging to make it truly affordable.

This immediately excludes many tenants, the younger ones who live at home with their parents, or those at university etc., people who would really benefit from lower regular running costs.

Electric vehicles are currently not accessible to many people, who are often accused of not doing enough for sustainability.

Obstacles to EV adoption

Electric vehicles are a fantastic way to electrify the country and offer a greener alternative to combustion engines. However, there are still many hurdles before owning an EV can truly benefit the entire population and act against the growing climate crisis.

It may even be that electric vehicles are no longer the sustainable answer and instead we turn to alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, biofuels or maybe a new technology that does not exist yet. However, that is yet to come and the road to net zero continues.

Kitty Bates is the consumer spokesperson for electric car insurance at Keith Michaels

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