Electric vehicles are now similar average cost to own as petrol cars

The sweet spot for electric vehicle ownership has been achieved, with the average zero-emission model already cheaper to own than a petrol car, new research claims.

In 2020, the average lifetime running costs – including purchase price – for an electric car is £52,133, while an equivalent petrol model is £53,625.

The latest Department for Transport data suggests the UK has already surpassed 100,000 pure-electric cars on the road, with 99,374 licenced zero-emission vehicles registered in 2019.

In 2020, Society of Motor Manufacturer and Trader figures show that 30,957 battery electric cars have been registered by the end of June, which is almost 160 per cent higher than sales in the first six months of last year.

Last month, pure electric cars accounted for 6 per cent of all motor sales, as the market continues to shift in favour of alternative-fuel vehicles – though the figures have in recent months been skewed by the plummet in registrations of new motors during the coronavirus lockdown.

Direct Line’s claim that electric cars are now cheaper to own is despite the average zero-emission model costing around £5,000 – or 22 per cent – more than a comparable model with a petrol engine.

Currently there is a £3,000 subsidy eligible for sub-£50,000 zero-emission cars though the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant.

The insurer has calculated that annual running costs average £1,742, or £33.50 per week for an electric car, which is 21 per cent cheaper than the running costs of a petrol car at £2,205 per year or £42.40 per week.

Annual tax and maintenance costs (including MOTs and servicing) for electric vehicles are 49 per cent lower than for petrol models, while refuelling costs 58 per cent less.

However, insurance costs are on average 25 per cent higher for electric vehicles.

The numbers were crunched based on the anticipated lifetime of a vehicle, which SMMT estimates to be around 13.9 years.

The research also revealed that electric vehicles hold their value better than petrol equivalents, with analysis of AutoTrader’s second-hand car data revealing that a year-old electric vehicle only loses 12 per cent of its value, compared to a 24 per cent write down for petrol models.

Neil Ingram, head of motor product at Direct Line, said Britons could ‘already be saving money by switching from a traditional petrol or diesel car to an equivalent electric model’ now.

On top of cheaper running costs and the plug-in car subsidy, electric car owners can also currently take advantage of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which contributes £350 to the cost of installing a wall-box charger at their properties.

The findings come as a consumer survey conducted by Direct Line revealed that almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of motorists would make the switch to an electric car if the technology and green car market continues to improve.

The biggest issues with the current selection of electric vehicles are the limited charging network (35 per cent), the high up-front cost (34 per cent) and the limited battery range (16 per cent).

At Caplor we are now on our third hybrid vehicle – which in itself suggests we must be pleased with the the performance and reliability.  There is nothing more satisfying than taking a trip having smartly charged up with free power from our solar panels.   Do get in touch if we can help you with your electric car journey.