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EV running costs spark growing interest among drivers

Awareness of electric vehicles gains momentum as new figures show how much cheaper EV running costs are

The demand for electric vehicles is continuing to accelerate. The target of 2030 has been set for an end to the production of petrol and diesel powered cars, paving the way for electric vehicles to completely take over our roads.

Motorists across the UK are coming round to the idea of an electric superhighway even quicker than most of us perhaps imagined. And there are many reasons for this.

Technology is improving and electric vehicles (EVs) are already going further per charge, there’s a greater and increasing number of charging points across the country, the cars and vans are simple to plug in and charge, and increasing numbers of people are investigating getting a home charging point fitted.

Motorists are generally becoming more accepting and less wary of EVs, and increasing numbers are overcoming any worries they might have had about vehicle range. Cost is a big factor and for thousands, the 1% benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax charge for EVs is a major incentive – exactly as it was designed to be.

The number of motorists now considering an electric vehicle as their next purchase has risen by 32% in the last 12 months, according to recent research by automotive servicing and repair company Kwik-Fit. The study suggests that 11% of drivers expect their next car to be electric while, if hybrid vehicles are included, the number of drivers considering a low emission model next time rises to 37%, up from 33% compared with the previous year.

The initial outlay for an EV is gradually coming down and many fully electric cars are now small, cheaper town run-arounds, like the Vauxhall Corsa-e, Fiat 500 and Honda e. These join a growing fleet of higher-end sports saloons and SUVs like the Tesla Model 3, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Jaguar I-Pace.

If you’re buying privately, the cost of a new EV is usually higher initially than its petrol or diesel cousin. If you’re salary sacrificing or taking a company car, the low BIK tax rate can potentially make an EV cheaper each month than a fossil fuel car. And once you take into account running costs – particularly in terms of fuel use – it can rapidly bring the overall cost of ownership down, especially the more driving you do.

The recent Covid-19 lockdown months left many EVs sitting silently on their owners’ driveways, offering little or no financial gain but, now that lockdowns have been eased, the benefits of going electric are starting to be seen again.

EV running costs are cheaper across the board

Research by price comparison website Compare The Market has shown how much cheaper electric cars are to run than their petrol or diesel equivalents for vehicles at all price points. We’ve highlighted a few below.

As well as saving on fuel (electricity is much cheaper than petrol or diesel), you also save on road tax and usually on your car insurance as well. Servicing can also be cheaper, as there are fewer complicated moving parts to maintain.

For example, let’s look at 2021’s best-selling car, the Vauxhall Corsa. If you buy the electric Corsa-e, your running costs would be an average of £502 less each year than for a petrol version. That’s based on an average saving £59 on your car insurance, £180 on road tax and £263 on fuel. Obviously your own results will depend on your own circumstances, but it gives you a good starting point for your calculations.

Factor in that EVs are usually more comprehensively equipped and are seen as ‘better’ cars, plus you can have the convenience of charging your car at home overnight, plus you’re helping the environment as well, it’s no wonder the electric car movement is gathering pace so fast.

Compare The Market cost calculator (average saving, including insurance, fuel, VED):

ModelsAverage annual saving
Mini Hatch swapped for Mini Electric£215
Vauxhall Corsa swapped for Vauxhall Corsa-e£502
Volkswagen Golf swapped for Volkswagen ID.3£616
Vauxhall Mokka swapped for Vauxhall Mokka-e£626
Mercedes C-Class swapped for Mercedes EQC £636
Audi A6 swapped for Audi e-tron£798
Nissan Qashqai swapped for Nissan Leaf£862
Ford Kuga swapped for Ford Mustang Mach-E£977
Source: Compare The Market

Car benefit company Tusker organises salary sacrifice schemes for clients and actively encourages new owners to opt for an electric vehicle, citing many advantages in addition to cost.

With the greater tax implications associated with a salary sacrifice scheme, which takes the lease fee from your salary each month before you are paid (so you don’t pay income tax on that portion), the financial benefits of having an electric car in this way are even greater.

“We are seeing more electric vehicles being ordered than ever before as salary sacrifice and the savings available make EVs affordable for all,” says Paul Gilshan, CEO of Tusker.

“This shift towards EVs and hybrids is accelerating as we head towards the 2030 deadline.”

Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.