Motoring analysts at Forbes Advisor, the price comparison and financial guidance platform, have found that interest in electric vehicles (EVs) among Brits has more than doubled since the beginning of June. This spike in searches for electric cars comes as the cost of filling an average family car with fuel tops £100 for the first time.
However, those hoping that a switch to an electric car will ease the cost of motoring are being encouraged to consider the total cost of EV-ownership, and to explore alternative ways to quickly – and cheaply – cut the cost of motoring.
Spending to save?
The average purchase price of an electric car is £51,924, while for internal combustion engine (ICE) cars this figure is £26,752, meaning that buying an EV can be almost twice as expensive even before any other costs – insurance, MOT, servicing etc – are factored in. And the government has just announced it is withdrawing the £1,500 plug-in grant offered to buyers of new EVs.
Even when comparing models from the same manufacturer, the difference in the initial cost is stark. For example, a brand new Vauxhall Corsa with a petrol engine – the UK’s most popular car – starts at £17,340 whereas the Corsa-e starts at £27,055.
This means that a new EV driver could need to cover over 314,650 miles before they recoup the difference in purchase price with the savings they’d make from charging rather than filling their car.
While other running costs, like servicing, can be cheaper for EVs, Forbes Advisor also found that car insurance can cost more for electric cars. In one example, the cheapest annual comprehensive insurance policy for a brand new Vauxhall Corsa with a 1.2 petrol engine was £243.43, while for the electric equivalent, a Vauxhall Corsa-e, the cheapest price was £334.71 – a difference of £91.28.
The typical cost of servicing an EV is also between £300-£650, depending on the model, which is more or less identical to a petrol car. Despite EVs having fewer parts to check or lubricate, the franchised dealer network is determined to keep prices high for EVs. Perhaps they work on the assumption that anyone who can afford a 30-40K car can easily pay £500 a year to have it looked after?
Laura Howard, motoring expert at Forbes Advisor, commented: “We’re deep in a cost of living crisis, and paying £100 to fill up the tank with petrol or diesel is beyond affordable for many families already struggling with energy bills and rampant inflation. Very few drivers will see the pump price indicator race towards three figures with anything other than dread and dismay.
“Those fortunate enough to have the money for a new car might consider an EV on the basis of its relatively low running costs. But they should remember that the purchase price premium means they won’t earn back the higher cost for a long time. So anyone looking for immediate savings to ease the stress on their wallet should look for other ways to cut the cost of motoring, from shopping around for a better insurance deal to ditching the heavy roof-rack.”