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How much does it cost to run an electric car?

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August 18, 2020
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With the 2035 petrol and diesel ban fast approaching and the EVA even putting pressure on the government to move this forward to 2030, a lot of our customers have expressed an interest in electric cars. But how much would it actually cost to run an electric car? In this blog, we’ll break down the costs involved with running an electric car and how economical it is compared to petrol and diesel cars.

The upfront costs of buying an electric car

Electric cars usually have a higher upfront cost than petrol or diesel cars, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be outside your price range. With EV technology becoming increasingly cheaper, nowadays you can get a decent new car from £25,000. For instance, the Mini Electric starts from £27,900 and the family-friendly MG ZS EV starts from £28,495.

And both these prices aren’t even taking into consideration the government’s plug-in grant, which offers up to £3,000 off the original price of a low-emission vehicle. So you can actually find very affordable electric cars that can meet your needs, whether you’re a family of five or a couple living in the city. With a grant, the Mini Electric’s price therefore drops to £24,900 and the MG ZS EV to £25,495!

On the other hand, buying a new petrol or diesel car will be less costly upfront, though this will, of course, depend on the type of car you choose. For instance, a small petrol car could set you back less than £15,000, but a medium-sized petrol car is likely to be between £20,000 and £25,000, according to research on the average car costs in 2020.

Another alternative is to buy a used electric car. These can be very affordable depending on the number of miles the previous owner has driven, the condition of the car, and the battery warranty. These will not be included in the plug-in grant scheme, but prices can start from £5,000 so they are very affordable even without.

The cost of refuelling

The cost of “refuelling” an electric car will depend on whether you have a home charging point or you’re depending on charging points across the UK to stay mobile.

Free charging points

electric cars

Whilst you can find some free charging points across the country, depending on these can get tricky as they often have their limitations. This can include slow charging or busy locations.

Rapid charging points

Using rapid charging points across the UK could be a good option, but it’s probably the most expensive. According to the leading charging infrastructure provider for electric vehicles in the UK, Pod Point, their rapid charging points could set you back around £6-7 for 30 minutes of use, which is the equivalent of 100 miles in range.

This is likely to be enough to get you through a week or two if you drive around the UK average of 7,900 miles a year.

Home charging points

electric cars

Of course, having your own home charging point is probably the cheapest option, but it does have a high upfront cost. According to What Car?, the average cost of purchasing a home charging point is £1,000.

However, there are grants available for this that can reduce upfront costs. For instance, the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) offers up to £350 off the cost of getting a home charging point. There are also extras grants for Scottish residents and other grants for UK workplaces.

The demand for electricity is lower in the UK during the night, meaning that charging an electric car at night is the most cost-effective way of charging your vehicle. Beyond finding public EV charging points that are available at night, having access to your own home charging point is a great way of saving more money in the long-run. This is also the most convenient option.

You can even find smart meters that will reward you for charging at off-peak times. And according to Fortune, charging at off-peak times like during the night could even help “save the world”.

Home charging points cost an average of £8.40 to charge your car for around 200 miles of range. That is, if your EV is capable of this range, of course. Most fall between 100 miles and 250. As you can see, this is much more cost-effective than charging at public points.

The cost of road tax

If you’ve chosen a purely electric vehicle, your car will be exempt from road tax! Considering this can add up to over £1,000 in some cases, this is a great saving.

The cost of insurance

Of course, whilst you are exempt from road tax, you’ll still need car insurance. At Adrian Flux, we’re experts in insuring niche and unusual vehicles. We’ve created a couple of example insurance policies and think you’ll be pleasantly surprised about the costs involved with insuring an EV.

Please note that both drivers have a no claims bonus of 5+ years and relatively low mileage (5-6,000 per year).

  • Name: Brian
  • Age: 43
  • Car: Nissan Leaf
  • Location: Sheffield
  • Previous driving history: 3 points on his licence for a speeding offence. Had licence for 25 years
  • Named drivers: wife, 39, clean licence
  • Car only used for commuting, social, domestic and pleasure (including school runs)

Brian’s cost of insurance: £320, with an excess of £250

  • Name: Annie
  • Age: 28
  • Car: Mini Electric
  • Location: London
  • Previous driving history: clean licence, which Anne has held for 10 years
  • No other named drivers
  • Car used for social, domestic and pleasure

Annie’s cost of insurance: £650, with an excess of £350

As you can see, electric car insurance can be extremely affordable and aren’t automatically classed as a higher risk. These are just two examples of electric car insurance quotes. If you’re in the market for an electric vehicle, give us a call on 0800 369 8590 for more information and a free, no-obligation quote.

The cost of servicing your car

According to new research, the cost of servicing your electric car is, on average 23% cheaper than petrol or diesel counterparts over a three-year period or 60,000 miles. And smaller EVs can save even more! According to some experts, maintenance costs can even cost around 70% less than petrol and diesel alternatives!

The longevity of an electric car

Many sceptics have voiced concerns about the shelf life of an electric car, especially as its technology is so new. Debate usually surrounds the car’s battery life, and whether the battery would need to be replaced after a certain number of years in service.

Take the electric cars that arrived on the scene in the late 2000s. They’ve taught us that car batteries are usually under warranty by the car manufacturer for up to a decade and manufacturers generally believe the life of an EV battery is between one and two decades.

Whilst replacing the battery after this time can be expensive – approximately £5,000 – this isn’t much considering the amount you save on annual maintenance and upkeep costs. Plus, spread over a decade or two, batteries can be fairly affordable.

The verdict: despite high upfront costs, electric cars are relatively cheap!

Electric vehicles are now actually cheaper to own than petrol and diesel alternatives, especially if you take advantage of the schemes available or even buy an EV second hand. If you fancy a change, an electric vehicle might be exactly what you’re after!

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