Does it cost more to operate an electric vehicle or an ICE? -Forbes | CarTailz

In addition to the environmental benefits, one of the main benefits of an electric vehicle (EV) is its relatively low cost of ownership.

Charging a battery is much cheaper than filling up a tank, and electric vehicles are often more reliable than petrol and diesel cars because they have fewer moving parts to fail.

However, a single tank of fuel will get you much further than even the most efficient EV battery. Add to this the increase in electricity prices that took place on October 1st and you may need to consider the cost of owning an electric vehicle more carefully.

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How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?

The price of charging an electric vehicle depends on where you do it.

At home

Charging an electric vehicle at home is usually the most cost-effective option. You can charge the car from a household three-pin socket, but installing a dedicated EV charger will provide power much faster.

Installing an electric vehicle charging station at home typically costs around £1,000.

With the government’s energy price guarantee capping electricity costs at 34p per KWh in October 2022 (until April 2023), fully charging an electric vehicle at home will cost:

  • £12.51 to fully charge a small electric vehicle (VW e-Up!)
  • £13.60 to fully charge a mid-size EV (Nissan Leaf)
  • £24.14 to fully charge a large EV (Audi e-tron)

Assuming a range of around 200 miles on a full charge, that works out to between 6.3p and 12p per mile.

Driving 7,400 miles a year – the UK average according to the Department for Transport – would cost you between £466 and £888, depending on the car.

At a public charging station

For longer journeys, you may need to stop at a charging station. In 2021 there were more than 24,000 public charging points across the UK.

The UK government aims to install a further 300,000 chargers by 2030 to keep up with the growing number of electric vehicles on the road.

However, some commentators consider this target insufficient. Jonny Berry, Head of Decarbonization at Novuna Vehicle Solutions, comments: We expect the ratio of cars to chargers to increase from 15:1 to 54:1 and that will mean a lot more competition in charger supply; Competition that is already being felt in many parts of the country.”

The largest EV charging networks in the UK include BP Pulse, Pod Point, Instavolt and the Tesla-only Supercharger network.

At a BP Pulse charging station you pay around 55p per KWh. This means it would cost between £20 and £40 to fully charge your vehicle.

Depending on your usage, it may be cheaper to subscribe to a charging service than to purchase electricity on a pay-as-you-go basis.

For a flat fee, you get discounted rates and free charging at select points.

For example, the BP Pulse subscription costs £7.85 a month, reducing your charging costs to 44p per KWh.

Free charging options

You may be able to charge an electric vehicle for free in certain supermarkets. For example, Tesco has partnered with Volkswagen and Pod Point to offer customers fast charging points ranging from 7 to 22 kW.

To use the service you must be a paying Tesco customer and may need to launch a smartphone app to start charging.

Are EV charging costs cheaper than fuel?

Rising fuel prices can be a major reason to buy an electric vehicle.

However, as electricity costs rise, the price difference decreases.

According to RAC data, the average cost of unleaded petrol was 164.47 pence per liter in October.

At this price, refueling a petrol car costs approximately:

  • £65.78 for a small vehicle with a 40 liter tank
  • £82.24 for a mid-size vehicle with a 50 liter tank
  • £106.91 for a large vehicle with a 65 liter tank

Assuming you drive 500 miles on a full tank, that makes between 13p and 21p per mile.

Driving 7,400 miles a year would cost you between £962 and £1,554 a year.

The price for a full tank of diesel is slightly higher. As of October 2022, RAC data recorded the average price of diesel at 187.08 pence per litre.

That means it would cost:

  • £74.83 to fill a small vehicle with a 40 liter tank
  • £93.54 to fill a mid-size vehicle with a 50 liter tank
  • £121.60 to fill a large vehicle with a 65 liter tank

Driving 750 miles on a full tank of diesel makes between 10p and 16p per mile.

Assuming you drive 7,400 miles each year, your annual fuel costs would range from £740 to £1,184.

Electric car repair costs

Repairing an electric vehicle usually costs more than repairing a petrol or diesel car. There are a few reasons for the difference.

  • availability of mechanics

Since electric vehicles are less common than petrol and diesel cars, fewer mechanics are qualified to repair them. This can make repairs more expensive.

EV components – especially batteries – are expensive to replace.

The amount you pay for repairs varies significantly depending on the mechanic and the amount of work required.

Some common repairs include:

  • batteries — As the power source of an electric vehicle, the battery is perhaps the most important component. Replacing an old EV battery with a new one costs around £5,600.
  • Tires – As with any vehicle, you’ll need to change your EV’s tires every few years—roughly every 20,000 miles. A new set of EV tires will cost you around £350. They tend to be slightly more expensive than other types because they have to withstand the heavier weight of electric vehicles.
  • brakes — The brakes on an electric vehicle wear out in the same way as on a petrol or diesel car. Repair prices vary depending on the nature of the problem.
  • suspension — An electric vehicle’s suspension system can also occasionally go wrong. Repair prices vary depending on the problem.
  • Light bulbs – Occasionally you will need to replace a headlight, brake, reverse or turn signal bulb. It costs around £35 to fit a new headlight bulb.
  • Non-Essential Repairs — Air conditioning, heated seats and other electronic devices can also malfunction. Repairing an air conditioner will usually cost you between 50 and 200 euros depending on the type of repair.

Although these repairs can be expensive, electric vehicles are generally very reliable. A poll by Which car? gave the popular Nissan Leaf (2011 – 2018) a reliability rating of 98.9% and the MG ZS EV a rating of 95.5%.

EVs have no gearbox, clutch or oil filter – components that are prone to failure as petrol and diesel cars age.

However, the non-essential technology installed in many electric vehicles – like infotainment screens and rear-view cameras – can experience interference.

EV maintenance costs

Because electric vehicles are reliable, they may require less maintenance than their petrol and diesel counterparts.

For example, Renault recommends having the Zoe serviced every 18,000 miles. In comparison, the manufacturer recommends that its gasoline cars should be serviced every 9,000 miles.

Nissan also recommends having its Leaf serviced every 18,000 miles.

The cost of servicing an electric vehicle is similar to what you would pay for a petrol or diesel car. For example, to service a Nissan Leaf you can expect to pay between £150 and £200.

EV TÜV costs

As soon as your electric vehicle is more than three years old, you must book an annual MOT.

From September 2022, MOT test centers can legally charge up to £54.85 to test your vehicle – whether it’s petrol, diesel, hybrid or all-electric.

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What other costs do I have to consider?

Although charging an electric vehicle can be cheaper than buying a tank of gas, other costs could make a petrol or diesel car the cheaper option.

Electric cars are relatively expensive to buy. The Volkswagen e Up! starts new at just over £24,000 – over £10,000 more than its petrol equivalent.

The mid-size Nissan Leaf starts at £28,940, while a similar mid-size petrol car, the Toyota Auris, starts at £14,945.

If you want a big electric vehicle, the Audi e-Tron starts at £61,275. A similarly sized ICE SUV, the Audi Q2, starts at a comparatively low £24,135

In addition to these costs, you have to consider the installation of an electric vehicle charging station in your home.

Insuring an electric vehicle is also more expensive than insuring an equivalent petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicle. There are a number of factors at play in this price difference, including a lack of data on EV repair costs, reduced availability of mechanics, and the fact that EVs accelerate very quickly from a standing start, making pedestrian-related accidents more likely.

As providers collect more data about electric vehicles in the coming years, these premiums are likely to decrease.

Higher insurance costs can also be offset by savings elsewhere. If you own an electric vehicle, you can be exempted from paying road tax.

By contrast, taxing a 2020 Volkswagen Golf – a diesel vehicle – will add an additional £165 to the car’s annual running costs.

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