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What’s the real cost of running an electric car?

What’s the real cost of running an electric car?
Image source: Getty Images


Electric cars are becoming more and more common on the roads in the UK. But as it is still such a new technology, it is still hard to tell the real cost of running an electric car.

In May 2020, I bought a fully electric Kia e-Niro. With a range of 275 miles when fully charged, it is one of the newer SUV/crossover models now on the road. So I am here to break down the real cost of running this car for the past five months. And how it compares to my previous diesel family car.

How much does it really cost to run an electric car?

If you are interested in buying an electric car, then it is useful to work out what your monthly costs are likely to be. Obviously there are the usual costs associated with running a car, such as insurance. And then there are some costs where you can make a huge saving. Let’s take a look and see.

Charging

When it comes to electric vehicles, the question of everyone’s lips is how much does it cost to charge them? And is this cheaper than running a petrol/diesel car?

From my own experience, it is much cheaper to charge an electric car than to fill up with diesel. Over the past five months of owning my EV, I have seen my electricity bill increase, on average, by £28 a month. This roughly breaks down as an increased weekly cost of £7.

I currently charge my car about once a week, but this depends on whether I have any longer journeys planned. Charges have been made through a Pod Point at home. So I have yet to try out a rapid charging station. 

In comparison, I used to fill my diesel car up one and a half times during any given month. So I would budget around £100 a month for diesel. That means I am saving around £72 a month by running an electric car instead of a diesel car.

Tax

When it comes to electric cars, you are not required to pay road tax. Electric vehicles are exempt if they receive electricity from an external source, or from an electric storage battery not connected to any source of power when the vehicle is moving.

The amount of road tax you pay for petrol and diesel cars depends on your CO2 emissions and the age of your car. For a car registered on or after 1 April 2017, costs can be anything up to £2,175 in the first year after it’s registered. However, from the second year onwards, for cars with a list price under £40,000, this drops to £150.

Either way, running an electric car means your road tax bill is always £0.

Insurance

Insurance is the one area where you may find your running costs increase. And this is purely because if you are buying a fully electric car, the likelihood is that you will be buying a new model or one that is only a few years old. This means that the value of the car will be higher than the majority of second hand vehicles.

However, how your insurance is calculated depends on lots of varying factors. It’s just something to bear in mind if you are considering buying an electric car. It could be worth getting a quote from a comparison site first, in order to get an idea of how much you will be likely to pay for insurance.

Maintenance

The bonus of an electric car is that it has fewer moving parts, so there is less to go wrong! Overall, this makes car servicing and maintenance easier and more cost effective.

Having fewer working parts – such as pistons, spark plugs, timing belts, etc. – means you have a lot less that will wear out over time. Plus, all electric cars have some form of regenerative braking. This makes them more efficient, and places less wear and tear on the brakes themselves.

According to automotive data experts Cap HPI, service and maintenance costs for electric vehicles are, on average, 23% lower than for a regular petrol or diesel car. Just bear in mind that you will still need to replace your tyres regularly, as they wear just as quickly as those on a petrol or diesel car.

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