The decision to take the plunge and go for an electric vehicle is likely to be based on a number of different factors. A factor that is close to the top of many peoples’ list is the cost.
The initial purchase price of an electric vehicle (EV) can be higher, but the consensus of much of the published research shows the overall cost of ownership is much lower for EVs than vehicles of any other fuel type.
Researchers at Palmer et al Applied Energy analysed the total cost of ownership of cars over four years, including the purchase price and depreciation, fuel, insurance, taxation and maintenance. They found pure electric cars came out cheapest in all the markets they examined: UK, Japan, Texas and California. Since 2015, when the research was first published, the case for EVs has strengthened significantly, with falling initial purchase prices and better deprecation figures.
So why is the cost of ownership so low?
Fully electric cars have much lower fuel costs. The numbers will vary depending on vehicle and electricity tariffs but a typical charge giving 100 miles of range will cost £2 to £4. Driving 100 miles in a petrol or diesel car will cost around £13 to £16 in fuel, which is around four times the cost of the electric car. The cost savings are even greater with access to cheaper overnight electricity tariffs or free charging points offered by some organisations and employers.
Fewer mechanical components results in lower servicing and maintenance costs. Electric motors are simpler than engines and even help the car to brake, saving on brake pads. Oil changes, exhaust systems, clutches, spark plugs, catalytic converters and many more requirements are taken out of the equation completely.
Plug in EVs costing no more than £40,000 have a zero rate of Vehicle Excise Duty.
London Congestion Charge
Plug-in cars emitting 75g/km CO2 or less are eligible for a 100% discount from the London Congestion Charge. A regular user of this zone could be saving over £2,000 a year.
Free parking and discounted parking is now widely available for EVs, particularly in areas trying to combat air quality issues.