As more of us are becoming ever more conscious about motoring costs, and the effects our vehicles are having on the environment, the popularity of electric cars in the UK is growing rapidly. In fact, the UK is one of Europe’s biggest markets for electric vehicles behind Norway and Germany, with the Government pledging to ban all sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and all new hybrids from 2035.
It is fair to say that the ‘eMobility revolution’ is only just starting to gain traction and unquestionably, is going to accelerate at pace in the forthcoming years. Despite this trend, the world of EVs is still relatively new to many car drivers, and inevitably there are some questions.
The obvious difference is that fully electric cars are powered by batteries rather than an internal combustion engine (ICE), so a different mindset is required. Those new to EV ownership need to understand what costs are involved with running and maintaining an electric car.
STARTING OUT WITH AN ELECTRIC CAR
Firstly, as anyone will know who is contemplating the purchase of a new EV, electric cars are generally more expensive to buy than their traditional petrol or diesel equivalents. The key reason for this is that the batteries and associated technology make the vehicles more costly to produce.
There are other considerations too, such as the installation of a home charging point if you haven’t already got one. There are a variety of companies that provide this type of service, with some government grants available subject to eligibility criteria, further guidance for which can be found on the UK Government website.
Electric car insurance is another consideration. Taking time to get the right EV insurance cover is advisable and this may require the assistance of an EV insurance company that has specialist experience in the EV industry.
TAX SAVINGS TO BE GAINED WITH EVS
Electric cars also cost less in road tax too (Vehicle Excise Duty) which is based on a vehicle’s CO2 emissions. In fact, zero-emission electric cars currently don’t have to pay any road tax. Other savings can be made in cities where Congestion Charges apply, or in the Ultra-Low Emission Zones that are popping up around the UK.
Company car drivers can also save money in tax (BiK) if they opt for a pure electric car, currently 2% in this tax year (2022) and into 2023/24 as the Government tries to encourage more people to adopt zero-emission electric cars.
LOWER GENERAL MAINTENANCE COSTS THAN ICE COUNTERPARTS
The other good news for anyone considering a new electric car, is that the maintenance and running costs for an EV can be substantially lower than their ICE counterparts. Electric cars generally need less servicing than traditional petrol or diesel cars.
For a start, in the absence of a combustion engine, there are no engine inspections or engine oil changes to be carried out, which is a big tick in the EV box. However, some other parts may require a fluid change. There are also no exhausts or clutches in a fully electric car, which can be costly to repair. Brakes can last longer too with an electric car, due to the regenerative energy recuperation, which sends the braking energy to the battery first. This system can help protect wear and tear on brake pads. While there will be a brake foot pedal, most electric cars are slowed down by taking the foot of the accelerator, rather than having to touch the brakes so often.
The main powertrain (or platform) of an electric vehicle is much simpler than that of an ICE vehicle, with fewer parts, which reduces the need for many associated maintenance requirements. However, an ePlatform does have a range of core hardware and software components, which form the ‘beating heart’ of an electric vehicle.
THE BIGGEST COSTS OF EV OWNERSHIP
This brings us swiftly on to batteries! Batteries are often the most expensive part of an electric car, and lifespan varies depending on a number of factors: the type of battery, how they are charged, how they driven, climatic conditions, and how they are maintained.
With the battery pack close to the ground, extra care needs to be given to protect against corrosion. New cars will come with battery warranty for a specified number of years, or based on mileage, but there are various State of Health (SOH) clauses that can come into play. The bottom line is that all EV batteries are expensive, and the cost of replacement depends on the model of car. We are talking thousands of pounds, not hundreds here! It is wise to check if your EV car insurance policy covers the cost of battery damage or replacement, because batteries are extremely pricey.
Batteries in electric cars are notoriously heavy. One consequence of this is the increased wear on tyres, that are subjected to more weight than a petrol or diesel car. Faster acceleration in an EV can also lead to faster tyre degradation. Shorter trips into town can sometimes place more wear and tear on the electric car, than those longer motorway jaunts. There are an increasing number of tyre manufacturers producing specialist tyres for electric cars. The frequency with which tyres need to be replaced on an EV is a cost to bear in mind if you are thinking of buying an electric car.
SAVE MONEY IN FUEL WITH AN ELECTRIC CAR
And, here is the really good news. Many electric car owners are saving money from not having to buy petrol or diesel, with charging at home being a significantly cheaper option. The average cost to charge a 60 kWh electric car at home is currently around £15.10 for a full charge (source: PodPoint) based on a current average domestic electricity cost of 28p per kWh, giving about 200 miles of range. Obviously, energy prices fluctuate all the time but when you compare this with petrol which is around 168.67 pence per litre, and 181.15 pence for diesel, the long-term potential cost savings are clear to see. It is worth remembering that is normally cheaper to charge an EV overnight during off-peak tariffs, and taking advantage of smart charging for maximum efficiencies.
So, while there are some additional potential costs associated with electric car ownership, they should be balanced with the benefits of many long-term cost savings.
ELECTRIC CAR INSURANCE
If you own an electric car, you will need EV insurance. NOVO Insurance provides specialist EV Car Insurance, with flexible cover to suit your specific needs, as part of a friendly and helpful personal service. NOVO also guarantees the use of a ‘like-for-like’ electric loan vehicle if your EV is off the road, due to an accident or repair work, and offers a comprehensive Incident Management solution.