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How expensive is an electric car to run?

How expensive is an electric car to run?

By James Fisher

With no diesel or petrol bills to worry about, is it true that electric cars, perhaps, are cheaper to run? 

Sit back and take a read as we answer that pressing question.

The real cost of running an electric car

This is actually a great time to own an electric car, whether you’re in the UK or anywhere else. Petrol costs are rising and as fossil fuels continue to become scarcer, electric is going to be the gold standard. 

So, this begs the question: How expensive is it to run an electric car? Or, put another way: Is it actually cheaper than a petrol/diesel car? Let’s run some numbers:

While it’s true that electric cars are generally more expensive to purchase given the cost of the battery, the running costs are favourably cheaper than their counterparts. And, there are many key differences to take into account when calculating the cost of running an electric car but for now, there are a small handful of approaches we can use to determine a reasonably accurate running cost:

Let’s take the BMW i3 electric car versus the petrol-driven BMW 1 Series. On average, the running costs of a 1 Series each year which has been driven for 10,000 miles is £932.81, whereas the i3’s annual running costs for the same distance is £262.26. That’s quite a stark difference as you can see.

The petrol-driven Jaguar F-PACE requires £1,203.50 to cover the above distance annually, while the electric I-PACE variant requires just £425.70 for the same. 

Let’s look at it from a broader perspective:

According to a report published by UK insurer, Direct Line, an EV will cost £3,752 each year over the course of its life, including lease/purchase costs, compared to £ 3,858 for a petrol variant – granting the owner a £107 annual saving. 

With the sale/lease costs removed, the annual running costs of an electric vehicle is £1,742 or £33.50 each week, compared to a petrol-driven car, which is £2,205 annually or £42.40 each week – resulting in a 21% saving. 

The maintenance (including all MOTs and servicing) and annual tax of an EC is nearly 50% lower than a traditional petrol vehicle, since EVs are built using only 2-3 moving parts. Additionally, annual refuelling or “charging” costs of an EV are 58% less as opposed to petrol-driven vehicles.  

There are also other ways in which EVs tend to be less expensive to run than their petrol counterparts:

The cost of energy required to ‘fill up’ the battery is far lower than the fuel required to fill up your tank or even the fuel expense it would take to go to diesel or petrol station to fill it up. So, you’re saving a lot in that regard – it costs just 2p per mile to fuel or power up an EV while it can take as much as 14p per mile to fuel a petrol/diesel car. 

Closing thoughts

EV owners are also exempt from paying road tax and do not have to pay congestion charges in London, both of which can be claimed back. Additional savings can also be had through discounted or 100% free parking. 

Written by James Fisher
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