UK Leasing

Electric cars: are they cheaper to run than petrol and diesel models?

Electric vehicle (EV) sales doubled in 2021 and remained strong in the first quarter of 2022, according to the latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Global Electric Vehicle Prospects report.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and associated supply chain issues across the globe, more and more drivers have been able to respond to the need to address the climate emergency and limit carbon emissions by supporting safer driving. sustainable and by switching to a fully electric or rechargeable car. hybrid model.

Last year, 6.6 million electric vehicles were sold worldwide, with more purchases worldwide each week (130,000) than in all of 2012, a trend that has continued over of the first three months of this year when an additional 2 million were purchased.

The United States, Europe and China led the demand, with 16.5 million electric vehicles on the world’s roads by the end of 2021, more than triple the number in 2018.

Together, they consumed around 30 terawatt hours of electricity a year, “equivalent to all the electricity produced in Ireland”, according to the IEA.

Other major markets like India and Brazil were more disappointing, with electric vehicles accounting for less than 1% of total auto sales, but overall the picture was promising.

While national charging networks are still a relatively new phenomenon, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to lead an “electric vehicle revolution” to prepare the country for the phasing out petrol and diesel sales in 2030a major commitment to reducing emissions and achieving a net zero economy.

Speaking in March, he pledged to help businesses deploy 300,000 public electric vehicle charging stations by 2030, the equivalent of almost five times the number of fuel pumps on our roads today , at a cost of £500 million.

Mr Johnson said clean transport was not just about the environment and would also serve to reduce dependence on foreign energy supplies, a growing concern since the outbreak of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine earlier this year. This year.

That dispute played a role in rising prices on gas station forecourts this spring and added urgency to the argument that the world must break its dependence on fossil fuels, especially with a ready-to-use alternative. job on the market and can’t wait to get there.

Motoring groups like the RAC and AA have widely welcomed the Prime Minister’s plans to bolster Britain’s charging infrastructure, but questioned whether that would be enough given the planned switch to electric vehicles en masse by the end of the decade.

Britain’s commitment to green motoring is clearly the right path for the climate, but now that the cost of living crisis is weighing on household finances and household energy bills are rising, vehicles still cheaper to run than conventional petrol or diesel cars?

The short answer is yes because, although the initial costs of electric vehicles may be slightly higher (think the purchase price or the monthly rental costs and the installation of the home charger), they should be considerably cheaper all throughout the life of the car.

“Like traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, the cost of running an electric vehicle varies depending on the model, brand and specifics of the vehicle – this means there is an option for everyone and that also includes the purchase of an electric vehicle”, explains EDF Energie.

“Electricity is much cheaper than petrol or diesel and electric cars require less maintenance than an internal combustion engine. In addition, various incentives are offered, such as government subsidies or programs, vehicle excise tax rebates or exemptions, and fuel tax exemptions.

Perhaps the most notable financial incentives for electric vehicles are a government grant that reduces up to £1,500 of the cost of each green vehicle, which is automatically included in the dealer price, and their exemption from the London congestion and ultra-low emissions. Zone tolls, considerable advantages if you have to drive around town with any regularity.

Exemption from road tax for purely electric cars on the grounds that they produce no CO2 is also a definite plus, although such generosity from the Treasury may not last forever, especially when the end goal is for all cars to have minimal environmental impact as standard.

In theory, maintenance costs for electric vehicles should also be lower since their motors, batteries and transmission all have fewer moving parts than conventional models, making them cheaper and easier for consumers to repair. mechanics, while their batteries usually come with long, five to eight year warranties, meaning they’ll be replaced at the manufacturer’s expense if something goes wrong.

That said, electric vehicles are generally heavier, which means their suspension and tires are likely to be subject to more wear and tear.

A Tesla charged by its driver

(Orlin Wagner/AP)

One of the areas where eco-vehicles have proven to be more expensive in recent years is insurance, due to lingering questions about their reliability, although this is now known to be changing, as those fears were largely dispelled by their performance on the road.

Another common cause of concern among car owners is depreciation and the extent to which the resale value of an electric vehicle might be tied to battery longevity, in which case leasing might be the way to go for those who are still unconvinced or reluctant to commit.

But perhaps the central question remains whether the savings from not having to pay for fuel are significant once the cost of recharging is taken into account.

Installing a home charging point usually costs around £1,000, but the government’s electric vehicle charging scheme will cover up to £350 of this initial expense.

Once your new car is plugged in, it’s essential to make sure you’re on an appropriate tariff with your energy provider so you don’t end up paying exorbitant sums and finding yourself effectively punished for making a laudable ethical choice.

Companies like British Gas, EDF, Gridserve, BP Pulse, Ionity and Ovo energy all offer specific tariffs to encourage vehicle charging during off-peak hours or at night.

Using public charging stations on the move can be more expensive, depending on the network you use and the location of the point in question, whether next to a lamppost, in a car park or at a gas station. highway, the first being much slower. than the latter but perhaps more convenient.

All in all, as long as you do your homework and ensure you have the right vehicle and charging arrangement to meet your specific needs, owning an EV should ultimately result in considerable savings while supporting the planet by reducing your carbon footprint, a significant contribution as the world rushes to deal with an increasingly urgent crisis that it has created itself.