Could Owning an Electric Car Save You Money?

Here’s how owning an electric car can save you serious money. 

Thinking of buying an electric vehicle (EV)? Wondering what the real long-term costs might be, compared to a traditional petrol or diesel car? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers for you right here.

Can I save money by owning an electric car?

Switching to an EV can help you cut costs in a number of ways:

• You could get a grant to help with the cost of buying
• Electricity is much cheaper than fuel
• EVs are exempt from road tax
• The cost of replacement parts is lower

Let’s learn more…

The cost of buying an electric car

It’s important to note that as of late 2021, the average cost of buying an electric car or van will be higher than a traditional car. A brand-new Corsa might cost around £17,000, whereas the electric Corsa-e could go to around £26,000 in the same mint condition. The technology powering electric cars is still new, and the materials used to make batteries are in high demand.

However, things might not be so simple. Government grants of up to £2,500 are available to help you go electric. The second-hand electric car market is expanding rapidly. And once you buy your electric car, the savings rapidly start stacking up.

Fuel cost saving

The cost of charging your electric vehicle is very likely to be much lower than filling a traditional car with petrol or diesel fuel. This is often seen as the biggest saving for EV drivers, and it’s definitely the one you’ll notice most often.

Fuel costs go up and down, but mostly up. Electricity is much cheaper. If you’re charging at home, expect to pay less than £10 to fully charge an average EV with a 60kWh battery and 200-mile range. You could save even more if you charge overnight; electricity prices are typically lower at night when there’s less demand on the grid.

If you don’t have a rapid-charge wall box installed in your home, these can cost anywhere from £800-£1,500, but the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) could give you up to £350 towards that. You could simply use a regular plug, but different charger types can take longer to fully charge.

Using a motorway service station’s rapid charger could typically cost you around £6.50 for 30 minutes, or 100 miles of range. Other public, privately owned charging stations are priced by their providers according to the location.

In any event, compare this to the average cost of filling up a tank with petrol or diesel: about £80. The EV works out many, many times cheaper. Use the journey cost calculator to compare your costs, and find out what savings you could make on fuel alone..

Road tax saving

Electric Vehicles are exempt from road tax (along with steam-powered vehicles, but we know which we prefer!). Taxing an average car with CO2 emissions of 111-130g/km could cost £170 - £220 every single year.

The average lifespan of a car is a little bit under eight years. That means a potential saving of up to £1,760 throughout the whole time you own your electric car, compared to paying road tax on a traditional car.

Maintenance saving

You’ll need to service and maintain an electric car or van in much the same way as a traditional vehicle. However, the components in an electric vehicle are much simpler than an internal combustion engine. There’s simply much less that can potentially go wrong. On average, the amount you pay for replacement parts will be much less if you switch to electric.

Replacing a battery can be expensive, often running to thousands of pounds. But this cost is often offset by eight-year or 100,000-mile warranties from electric car manufacturers. It’s still cheaper in the long run.

Driving conditions can affect the cost of running electric cars

It’s worth bearing in mind that the conditions you drive in and how you drive can put extra strain on an electric car battery. Batteries lose a bit of efficiency in cold weather, which becomes more noticeable as replacement time rolls around.

Likewise, if you’re driving in extra hot conditions and blast the AC, that’s going to eat up battery. Not a problem we often have to contend with here in the UK but worth remembering if you drive abroad. Hilly terrain and lots of bursts of acceleration also take their toll; more aggressive drivers will typically burn more juice than passive ones.

Combined, these factors can impact the cost of running an electric car. In most cases, running costs will still be lower but take your environment into consideration when working out how much you could pay.

Three smart ways to save money on an electric car

Even with the lower cost of running EVs, savvy drivers can still save a bit of extra cash on top of that. Here are three ways to make going electric even easier on the pocket.

1. Leasing your battery

Electric vehicle batteries are expensive, as is replacing them when the time comes. One option to shave a bit off the upfront cost of buying your car is to lease the battery. For a monthly fee, you effectively rent the battery and it gets replaced at pre-agreed intervals.

If you do this, you’ll know exactly how much you’re paying every month. There are no nasty surprises if your battery decides to give up the ghost. It’ll be years before the cost of leasing overtakes the price of buying your battery upfront.

It’s possible the leasing company will put a cap on how far you can drive, but as long as you know roughly how far you go on average per year, you can work out a deal that fits your habits.

2. Buying second hand

As electric car technology evolves, the lifespan of your average electric car gets longer and longer. There are also way more EVs on the roads nowadays: about 18,000 in 2020 compared to about 9,900 in 2015. These two facts combine to make second-hand electric cars reliable and affordable.

Buying second hand is a low-risk, low-price option if you’re wanting to go electric. A solid city driving car like the Nissan Leaf could be yours for way less than the £20,000 mark.

3. Generate your own electricity

This is a long-term option that can pay off for years. Installing solar panels on your home comes with an upfront cost, but it cuts your electricity costs immediately and drives the price of charging your EV even lower.

Solar panels have a lifespan of 25-30 years, so they’ll outlive three or more cars and add extra savings beyond running costs. Your household bills will also start looking more appealing, saving you cash on multiple fronts.

Get a great deal on electric cars with Lookers

Lookers are helping thousands of UK drivers go green for less. Want to learn more about owning an EV? We’ve got you covered. Get tips for buying your next electric vehicle.

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