Breaking down the true cost of owning an electric car

One of the common objections towards driving an electric car is the increased costs than can come with them, but are they as costly as they appear?

There is no denying that initially, electric cars can be more expensive than their combustion engine alternatives, but it is important not to lose sight of the big savings you make further down the line.

If you’re considering an electric car lease, we have compiled a thorough guide that will provide you with all the information you need to know about how much it costs to run, charge and service an electric car. 

Why are electric cars more expensive?

Electric cars are largely more expensive than their combustion engine alternatives. Despite often being built with fewer parts, they are typically more expensive to produce.

A large chunk of the increased cost of an electric car can be accounted to the overall cost of the battery that powers it.

For example, prices for a standard five-door Volkswagen Up can start from as little as £13,000, while a e-Up costs over £10,000 more, with prices starting at £23,500.

Jaguar I-PACE

How much does it cost to charge an electric car? 

The total cost of charging an electric car will vary on where and which charger you use. Charging at home can be one of the cheaper methods but can often result in the longest charge times because of the lower power output.

EV Charging Solutions estimates that the cost of electricity can be between 10-14p per kWh and the total cost of charging an electric car can be as little as one-fifth of the price of a full tank of fuel.

Just like combustion engine cars, there is no flat rate to charge an EV from zero to 100 per cent. The total cost will fluctuate between cars depending on the price of electricity and the capacity of the battery.

Pod Point report that your typical EV, with a 60kWh battery, will cost roughly £8.40 to fully charge at home. Using a rapid charger at a public charge point can cost around £6.50 for 30 minutes of charge time.

Rapid chargers cost more to use but provide more range over a shorter time frame for added convenience. 

If you’re looking for low running costs, a Nissan Leaf lease is one of the most cost-effective ways to get behind the wheel of an EV. Pod Point state they can cost just £6.12 to charge from empty to 100% at home. 

Charging car

How much does it cost to run an electric car per mile?

Lower running costs are one of the many fantastic benefits of driving an electric car. According to EDF Energy, they can cost as little as 4p per mile to run, based on an average cost of 14p per kWh of electricity. This estimated figure is still around half the cost of a petrol car per mile, which can be as low as 9p per mile.

Do electric cars cost less to maintain?

There is no denying that electric cars can cost less to maintain. Underneath the bonnet, there are fewer parts, and there is no oil that needs to be changed or engines that need to be monitored. 

You’ll still need to maintain and monitor your battery’s health as you would an engine, as well as general parts like your windscreen wiper blades and tyres.

Kia estimate that a typical lithium-ion battery is more than capable of clocking up more than 100,000 miles. With most typical electric car lease deals lasting between 36 or 48 months, it is unlikely that you will pass this point during your term. 

Are electric cars any more expensive to insure?

This ultimately depends on the car you’re trying to insure. Historically, electric cars have been slightly more expensive to insure than petrol or diesel cars.

It has been reported that these increased prices can reflect the cost of work that can be undertaken on the cars, rather than their cost or reliability per se. Parts like batteries can also be more expensive to repair.

However, it is no longer considered to be a hard and fast rule, with some electric cars proving to be cheaper to insure than their combustion engine counterparts.

Insurance company LV, via Driving Electric, recently reported that in many cases, it can cost just 10% more to cover an electric car. A marginal difference to drive an electric car that comes packed with fantastic economic benefits.

Smart EQforfour

How much does it cost to tax an electric vehicle?

Pure electric vehicles do not pay any road tax, as the total cost of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is calculated on the CO2 emissions that your vehicle produces.

With the Government announcing rises to the price of VED in the 2021 Budget, the chance of not paying road tax can be viewed as one of the major benefits of driving an electric car.

While electric cars are exempt and plug-in hybrids only pay a fraction of the cost, petrol and diesel car drivers face a standard rate fee of £155 for 2021/22. 

Electric cars are also eligible for a 100% discount on London's Congestion Charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zones.

Are electric cars really cost-effective?

Many drivers can be put off by the higher list prices of an electric car, but with significantly lower running costs, the overall cost can balance itself out over time.

An electric car lease is a fantastic method of lowering the total cost of driving an EV. At the time of writing, a Volkswagen Golf Hatchback can cost as much as £212.93* per month, while if you take out a VW lease deal for a Golf Electric, it will only cost roughly £243.74* per month.

Not only do they cost less than a tank of fuel to fully recharge, but they’re also cheaper to run per mile. With the opportunity to both save money every month and drive more economically, driving an electric car should be viewed as a viable alternative for many, despite the higher list prices.

If you would like to know more about our best electric car lease deals, browse our personal contract hire offers and business lease deals.

*Prices correct at the time of publication - April 2021

Ryan Darby

Ryan Darby

Ryan takes the lead on all things 'wordy'. With a sports media background, a true passion for cars, and a LOT of driving experience under his belt, he'll make sure you have all the information you need, when you need it.