What’s cost got to do with it? 

Quite a lot really, when we’re talking about supporting people in their move away from what they’re used to – petrol cars – to ones that are powered by a big battery.

Gill Nowell, Director of Emobility, Green.TV Media

And it is of course the battery that makes up a lot of the cost of an electric car; around 40% to be precise. The good news is that battery prices are set to drop, thanks to EV battery material costs dropping, coupled with continuing innovation in EV battery manufacture. Throupled with the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate, which dictates that car manufacturers must produce a certain percentage of electric cars each year, ramping up to 100% battery electric by 2035, the outlook remains bright. Whilst we may have seen a slight plateau in new registrations of EVs, June 2024 EV registrations were still up on the previous month, albeit only slightly, with all-electric vehicles taking a 19% market share. Ups and downs in uptake is only to be expected when faced with what is still a relatively nascent and evolving market. 

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, whilst cost is a well documented barrier to EV uptake, it’s an (understandable) barrier that can be overcome for many.

2021 Renault Zoe, Copyright: Stuart G W Price

The first thing to bear in mind is that most people in the UK buy or lease second hand cars. This will be no different with electric cars. Indeed, my first electric car was pre-loved. And according to Auto Trader, I could buy a 2021 Renault Zoe (all electric) with 13,500 miles on the clock for £8,890. Buying the comparable Renault Clio (petrol), with the same mileage, would set me back £11,999. This is just one snapshot example, but suffice to say, there are EVs on the used car market that are now cheaper than their internal combustion engine equivalents. 

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If you are in the market for a new (or used) EV, whether buying or leasing, it’s important to consider the total cost of ownership, not just sticker price, when thinking about budget.

Wallbox home charging, Copyright: Wallbox

But what do we mean by ‘total cost of ownership’? Or as I prefer to say, the real world costs of living with an electric car. This covers everything from purchase or lease costs, insurance, maintenance, tax and charging the vehicle. If you can mostly charge at home, electric cars regularly come out cheaper than petrol or diesel when you take all these things into account.

I’ve saved thousands of pounds since switching to an EV, which effectively pays for our family summer holidays on Anglesey.

Thanks to being able to charge at home for around 95% of the time on an off-peak energy tariff, my total charging costs at 26,000 miles total around £730. Filling up with fuel would have cost me around £5,200. Which means I’ve saved roughly £4,470 over three and a half years. 

Copyright: Kia UK Ltd.

And if you can take advantage of business leasing or salary sacrifice, you can save up to 40% on the cost of a normal lease, thanks to continuing low rates of Benefit in Kind tax. Some providers like Octopus EV are now even offering salary sacrifice on nearly new EVs. 

Let’s talk about the whole price picture when we’re discussing electric cars. EVs can be crazy cheap to run. And some might say it’s about more than just cost. One thing is for certain – we’re on the cusp of moving from early adopter to early mainstream, so let’s give consumers the whole view. They deserve it. 

To discover, drive and explore a wide range of electric cars from leading manufacturers, join us at EV LIVE at Blenheim Palace, 13-15 September. 

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