Electric cars are already cheaper than fossil-fuelled models


Electric vehicles (EVs) are already cheaper to own and maintain than conventionally powered ones in no less than five European countries, according to recent research.

The report, from the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) explains the purchase price, tax and fuel costs of Europe’s bestselling car, the Volkswagen golf, in its hybrid, battery electric, diesel and petrol versions over a four-year study.

The results indicate that the battery-electric model was the cheapest in all five countries surveyed – the UK, France Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

The cost savings are all attributable to a combination of subsidisation of the initial purchase price, fuelling costs, and lower taxes in comparison to petrol and diesel-fuelled models.

The research has also indicated that tax breaks are key to propelling the rollout of electric vehicles in time to meet climate change goals in the region. Vehicles are also a major contribution to pollution levels in the EU, which causes half a million early deaths in the region.

The highest cost savings by electric over diesel were reached in Norway, where electric vehicles are exempted from registration tax. UK drivers achieved the lowest savings, just 5%, whereas typical savings in other countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands varied from 11 to 15%.

Sandra Wappelhorst, from the ICCT, said: “Most trips are within an electric vehicle’s range, and it is the battery electric vehicle that turns out to be the most cost effective over four years. But if you’re a country doctor, who might have to respond to emergency calls at odd hours in odd places, you’ll have to evaluate a battery electric car differently to a London surgeon.”

Wappelhorst said additional incentives for EV’s would become unnecessary once price parity between EV’s and fossil fuelled cars has been reached, which is likely between 2025 and 2030.

“It will happen, because battery costs are dropping and that means that the initial price of the vehicles will drop as well,” she added.

According to Wapperlhorst, cost is not the only factor that EV owners could benefit from, such as reduced parking and toll charges, but growth in charging infrastructure would help alieve range anxiety. Regulation is also needed to push car manufacturers toward low-emission vehicles, she said.

The analysis showed plug-in hybrid vehicles were often the most expensive to own over a four-year period, partially attributable to the higher initial purchase pricing of vehicles that have two propulsion systems.