How much money do electric cars actually save?


Many eons ago, people scoffed at the very notion of electric cars (EV’s).  Fast forward to 2019, self-confessed petrol heads heed the rise of all-electric road machines- even BBC’s Top Gear is rallying around them.

Gone, are out-dated perceptions of milk-floats with the whinny ‘lawnmower engines. The car industry is more shaken and stirred than James Bond’s Martini – with purchases of EV’s up tenfold on last year.

World climate changes have fuel-injected a focus on our own carbon footprint, coupled with the government incentive to ‘go electric’ by 2040, has made an immediate impact…this is serious business.

Firstly, we get it, buying a new car outright isn’t an option many of us can do outright. Our guide will help you manoeuvre, the trickiest points of EV outgoings.  

Going Electric – What are the savings?

The Government offers a small grant on many all-electric models, with a maximum subsidy of £3500. Road tax or Vehicle Excise Duty VED is the necessary bottleneck for many drivers. However, full exclusion of road tax is available to all-electric cars with zero emissions, so hybrid (electric with engine) owners need to be aware, the £2500 grant is no longer available.

Added to this there are no parking costs for EV’s…courtesy of a free permit and a £500 thank-you for a home charge point, doesn’t seem bad deal.

The average cost of an electric family car can set you back £40,000 and the more expensive models are in the region of £60,000 to £80,000. Looking at the big picture – the cost of a fossil fuel alternative /SUV is in the ball-park figure of £40,000.

Working out the costs for an EV compared to the normal ‘petrol’ car, can be as tricky as a three point turn…

A lot depends on your home electricity tariff and at public charge points that approximately 30kWh (30p per kilowatt). What you pay is quite simply your tariff x the size of your battery plus the length of charge time.

The canny driver charges at home at around 12-16kWh. Zap Maps is a great tool to calculate full charges on a massive range of EV’s. The average varies slightly on each model- but 2-4p a mile compared to a typical 12p a mile for petrol, a third of the cost makes attractive reading.

Year on year this is more impressive, in the long-haul, the average fossil SUV is approximately £1300, we are talking a saving of nearly £500 – at the higher tariff of 16kWh.

There isn’t a full formed infrastructure that supports EV’s, yet but there are signs of improvement, with public charge points steadily rising -10,000- and future electric forecourts in the frame. Many drivers swear by the low maintenance on their vehicle- with less trips to garage for spark plugs exhausts and radiators which can run up costs of £300 annually. However, problems with sophisticated parts for EV’s- may have to go to specialist dealer.

The second- hand electric car market is still revving up. The potential is there, and industry experts predict that electric used car market will catch on, when consumer confidence improves. This hasn’t deterred a record breaking year of 2018 of 60,000 new registrations in the UK.

Luxury models don’t come cheap though and inflated insurance costs- would put off the greenest motorhead. An investigation by Vantage Leasing- discovered “an average of 14 percent more than an equivalent petrol or diesel models – roughly around £116 per year”-due to “specialised equipment” is worrying, considering an electric car has far fewer moving parts than a petrol or diesel engine.

We don’t want to feel as if we’ll run you over with the pressure to buy an all-electric car, the lure of empowerment from lowering emissions and saving the planet is a powerful one- can far outweigh the desire for horsepower. 

Hybrid models are not fully electric, so why go half measures? If you are going to commit to driving ‘green’ and stick it to the man, go the full road-hog-, you’ll be rewarded with the Government grant – there is no indication how long this will be available.

The EV market is still in its infancy, however, we are seeing an infrastructure in the second-hand market evolving. The baby is growing up- just like the power point supplies in towns popping up.

The insurance companies, however – need a tune-up. High insurance cover is due to the complexity of electric motors, it’s not possible just to nip into the garage for a quick once over. However, the parts are simpler and cheaper, and when everyone is up to speed – this will make a massive difference.

To Conclude

The cost, in the long run, seems a no-brainer, no petrol costs, no road tax, no parking fees, and outgoings are staggeringly lowered year on year.

Not everyone is going to afford the initial price, especially if you have expensive tastes, but with growing markets, prices are coming down for buyers. It’s inevitable… go electric and save now, why wait?

The future is here – we just need to take it out for a test drive.