What Are The Main Running Costs Of An Electric Car
The True Expense of Operating an Electric Vehicle
Electric cars, with their sophisticated design and eco-friendly credentials, are often viewed as more cost-effective alternatives to traditional petrol or diesel vehicles. However, the reality is that there’s no universal charging cost for these vehicles. Factors such as vehicle specifications, home charging, and public charging costs play a significant role in determining the overall expenditure.
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1. Decoding Your Electric Car Running Costs
Electric vehicles often come out as a more economical option, especially when charging at home or at a complimentary charging station. Even when using commercial superfast 350kW chargers, the running costs of an electric car remain substantially lower than their traditional counterparts.
2. Unveiling the Potential Savings with Electric Cars
On average, according to our running cost calculator, driving an electric car can save you approximately 10p per mile. When extrapolated to the average UK driver’s annual mileage of 7,400, this could translate into a yearly savings of nearly £740. For high-mileage drivers, particularly company car drivers, the savings could be significantly higher.
3. Calculating Your Electric Car’s Most Economical Charging Cost
Home electricity costs can differ marginally across various regions, but on average, it stands at 34p per kWh. A simple multiplication of the rate by the battery size of your car, followed by a division by 100, gives you the cost of a single full home charge in pounds.
4. Comparing Electric vs Petrol Car Costs
To illustrate, let’s consider an electric Vauxhall Corsa-e with a 50 kWh battery and a petrol Vauxhall Corsa. Based on a fuel price of 173p per litre and electricity prices of 34p/kWh at home and 63p/kWh in public:
- Electric Car Charging Cost: 8p per mile
- Petrol Car Fuel Costs: 17p per mile
To fully charge a Vauxhall Corsa-e, it would cost approximately £17.00, using an average electricity rate. With an off-peak discounted rate, you could potentially charge the same car for around £4.
5. Home Charging: The Convenient & Cost-Effective Solution
Charging your electric car at home not only provides convenience but also lets you benefit from off-peak electricity deals. For instance, Octopus Energy offers 4 hours of off-peak electricity daily at 7.5p per kWh.
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6. Charging Your Electric Car on the Go
If home charging is not an option, there’s a growing network of electric charge-point suppliers. Prices per supplier differ based on location and charging speed. For instance, charging a Vauxhall Corsa-e with a 50kWh battery pack from 20-80% could cost anywhere between £19.80 to £30.00, depending on the charging network used.
7. The Benefits of Slow Charging
When time is not a constraint, using a slower charging point can significantly reduce costs. This is ideal for situations where your car will be parked for a while.
8. The Premium for Rapid Charging
Rapid charging stations provide a quicker solution but come with a higher price tag. Still, even at these rates, charging a 90kWh car like a Jaguar I-Pace can cost less than filling a diesel car at current fuel prices.
9. The Long-Term Savings of Electric Cars
Despite the higher initial cost of electric cars, their running costs can result in overall savings over time. Leasing can further distribute this cost, making electric cars an economically attractive choice.
10. The Advantage of Low BIK Tax for Electric Vehicles
Benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax, paid annually by company car drivers, is significantly lower for electric cars. For example, all-electric cars have a BIK rate of only 2% until April 2025. This can result in substantial savings for company car drivers.
11. Navigating Efficient Charging Stations
There are several smartphone apps, such as Zap-Map, to help locate the most cost-effective charging points on your route. Even on paying networks, the cost of charging an electric car can be significantly lower than refuelling a petrol or diesel car.
In conclusion, while the cost of charging an electric car can vary, it is generally cheaper than running a petrol or diesel car. The financial benefits, coupled with the environmental advantages, make electric cars a compelling choice for many drivers.
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Running Costs of an Electric Car FAQs
Q1: What factors contribute to the running costs of an electric car?
The total running costs of an electric car are influenced by a variety of factors. This includes the price of electricity, the car’s efficiency, insurance rates, maintenance costs, and the cost of installing a home charging station if necessary.
Q2: How do electric vehicle charging costs impact overall running costs?
Charging costs significantly influence the running costs of an electric vehicle. These costs depend on where and when you charge your EV. Home charging is usually the cheapest option, especially if you use off-peak electricity rates. However, public charging stations and fast-charging networks may be more expensive.
Q3: Are insurance rates different for electric vehicles compared to conventional cars?
Electric car insurance rates can sometimes be higher due to the specialised parts and potential repair costs. However, many insurance companies are beginning to offer discounts for eco-friendly vehicles, which could offset this difference.
Q4: What are the maintenance costs associated with electric vehicles?
Maintenance costs for electric cars tend to be lower than for traditional gas-powered vehicles. Electric cars have fewer moving parts, reducing the likelihood of mechanical failure. Regular services such as oil changes are not required for electric vehicles, further reducing their running costs.
Q5: How does the efficiency of an electric car affect its running costs?
The efficiency of an electric vehicle directly influences its running costs. More efficient EVs convert a higher percentage of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Therefore, vehicles with better efficiency will use less electricity for the same distance, reducing the cost per mile.
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Q6: Is it expensive to install a home charging station for my electric car?
The cost of installing a home charging station for an electric vehicle varies depending on the type of charger and any necessary electrical upgrades. However, there are often incentives and rebates available that can significantly reduce these costs.
Q7: How does the cost of replacing the battery pack affect the overall running costs of an electric vehicle?
Battery replacement is a significant cost factor for electric cars. However, most manufacturers offer lengthy warranties on their batteries, typically around 8 years or 100,000 miles. Many electric vehicle batteries also last much longer than the warranty period, so this cost may not be as much of a concern as it initially appears.
Q8: How do electric car running costs compare to those of traditional cars?
While the upfront cost of electric vehicles can be higher, the running costs are often lower. With cheaper fuelling costs, lower maintenance expenses, and potential insurance discounts, many drivers find that an electric vehicle can be more cost-effective over its lifetime compared to a conventional car.
Q9: Does the range of an electric vehicle affect its running costs?
The range of an electric vehicle can indeed influence its running costs. Vehicles with a longer range will typically need to be charged less frequently, potentially leading to lower electricity costs. However, these vehicles may have a higher upfront cost due to their more advanced battery technology.
Q10: How do the running costs of electric cars vary by model?
The running costs of electric vehicles can vary significantly by model. This can be due to differences in efficiency, battery capacity, insurance costs, and maintenance needs. It’s important to research specific models when considering the total running costs of an electric car.
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