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Electric car costs – what should you know?

5 minutes

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If you’re thinking of buying an electric vehicle (EV), it’s smart to do your research before going green. Though there’s lots to consider, you can bet electric car costs sit at the top of the list. 

How much does an electric car cost to buy?

The UK is one of the largest European markets for electric cars, there are an estimated 660,000 electric cars on the road in the UK and 445,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). 

More and more people are seeing the environmental benefits of switching from traditional fuel to electric. However, how much does it really cost to go green? And Is it worth it?

The cost of buying an electric car can vary depending on the make, model, how old it is and how you buy it. As the market expands, there are more electric car and hybrid options to consider than ever – available to buy outright, on finance, second-hand or by leasing. 

Typically, electric cars cost more than their petrol or diesel equivalents. This is generally because they’re produced in smaller numbers using state-of-the-art technology. 

So, depending on your budget, you may have to wait a bit longer to save up. But when you’re tightening those purse strings, it’s worth considering a particularly important long-term benefit of EVs – their lower running costs. Over time, this could balance out the extra expense of the initial purchase.

EVs are becoming cheaper each year as new cars push existing models into a growing second-hand market. You can even find used EVs staring from under £10,000 upfront or £200 per month on finance.

To qualify for a OZEV chargepoint grant you need to be a homeowner living in a flat, or it's available for people living in rental accommodation in flats or single-use properties. However, check the full qualifying criteria on the government website.

What are the running costs of an electric car? 

Much like any car, the running costs of electric cars vary from each model, and from one driver to the next. Since electricity tends to cost less than filling up on petrol or diesel, running your EV is likely to be more affordable than running a standard car. 

How much does an electric car cost per mile?

While this varies between models, electric cars can cost as little as 4-5p per mile based on 100 miles of travel – less than half the average price of fuel per mile. In one single 100-mile charge, this might cost around £5 total.


You can also find public charging points available for recharging on the go. Some rapid charge stations can cost approximately £22 for a 30-minute charge for up to 90 miles (on average). If you’re lucky, your workplace may even have one you can use for free.

Other costs of an electric car

 

There are other costs involved in owning an electric car, though not always the kind you’d expect. There’s more to going electric than you might think. Compared to owning a conventional petrol or diesel car, ongoing costs are likely to be lower: 

 

  • Tax benefits – EVs produce zero emissions, so you’ll be exempt from paying vehicle tax. Make sure to check government guidance to cover yourself, though. 
  • Electric car congestion charge – EVs are exempt in Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) such as those in London and other Clean Air Zones. But you can check your vehicle to make sure. 
  • Lower maintenance costs – Generally, fewer engine parts make EV maintenance cheaper – though if you do require repairs, this can cost more due to specialised work. 
  • EVHS grants – After the April 2022 deadline, the scheme will remain open to homeowners who live in flats and people in rental accommodation (flats and single-use properties).
  • MOT-free – As with petrol cars, you won’t pay for an MOT on electric cars for three years when buying new. 

Going green is a big decision – so it’s always best to compare the pros and cons first. It’s worth knowing that by 2030, the UK government plan to place a ban on all new petrol and diesel car sales to encourage switching to electric. If electric cars are the future, this gives you some time to consider the costs as well as when to convert. 

 What are the cheapest electric cars to insure?  

 

  • Volkswagen e-up! – The e-up! drives like an automatic with regenerative brakes, offering a 161-mile range at insurance group 10*.
  • Smart EQ forfour – The four-seater alternative to the fortwo, this city car offers a 85-mile range at insurance group 11*. 
  • SEAT Mii Electric – 161-mile range for city-driving and regenerative brakes at insurance group 12*.
  • Renault Zoe – Offering a great range of 245 miles, this trailblazing electric sits at insurance group 14*. 
  • Hyundai Ioniq Electric – A spacious, four-door family car offering up to 183 miles in range at insurance group 16*. 

*Information correct as of October 2022.

 

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