One of the major advantages of electric over conventional vehicles is the promise of lower running costs. In this blog, we therefore estimate how much cheaper it can be to run an EV compared to a petrol or diesel alternative.
To make a valid comparison, we compare two Hyundai models, the Kona Electric and a Kona diesel, each with the same trim, power and transmission, and both with similar driving performance. The running costs considered here are energy and tax costs and are based on current average fuel/electricity prices, current tax rates and an annual mileage of 10,000 miles.*
When calculating costs, it is worth remembering that plug-in models tend to come with higher equipment levels than an entry level petrol or diesel car, partly to help improve its value for money since they are typically more expensive to buy up-front. The same is also true for performance figures, with EVs usually providing excellent acceleration.
As detailed in the following table, while the Kona Electric 39 kWh costs around £5,000 more to buy than the comparable Kona diesel, when looking at running costs, owners will save around £1,000 a year in fuel bills alone; more if your annual mileage is greater than 10,000 miles. Add to this three years of tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) savings which total at least £420, whilst company car drivers will also save around 50% on company car tax over the period, worth at least £1,860.
Thus over a three year period, many Kona Electric drivers (with higher than average mileages and/or company car users) will in fact have spent less in total vehicle costs by the time an MOT is due than with a diesel model - and that's ignoring reduced servicing costs and other savings which are usually lower for fully electric vehicles.
Longer-term savings can be made with reduced maintenance costs, as electric vehicles have fewer moving parts and brake pads are used less thanks to regenerative braking, whilst insurance tends to be similar to conventional models.
A key issue is that, due to the relatively low cost of domestic electricity, home charging is an easy way to ensure low EV running costs. With typical home electricity costing around 14 p/kWh, the cost per mile for the Kona Electric is less than 4 pence per mile, whilst the Kona diesel costs over 13 pence per mile. Cheaper rates available with EV specific packages - such as Scottish Power's Smart Green Electric Vehicle tariff - mean that this cost per mile figure can be further reduced.
If you are considering an EV for the first time, it is worth repeating these calculations using your current vehicle and personal circumstances to estimate the running cost savings of EV ownership. Adding these cost savings to the engaging drive, refined high tech experience and zero emissions should make the switch to electric an easy choice!
Hyundai Kona Electric 39 kWh SE
Annual fuel cost: £392
Cost per mile: 3.9 p/mile
Three year BIK costs at 20%: £1,825
Power: 136 hp
0-62 mph: 9.7 seconds
Top speed: 96 mph
Official Economy: 13.9 kWh/100 km
CO2: 0 g/km
Insurance group: 22
Hyundai Kona 1.6 CRDi SE DCT
Annual fuel cost: £1,343
Cost per mile: 13.4 p/mile
Three year BIK costs at 20%: £3,685
Power: 136 hp
0-62 mph: 10.2 seconds
Top speed: 119 mph
Official Economy: 64.2 MPG
CO2: 114 g/km
Insurance group: 16
*Includes £3,500 OLEV Category 1 Plug-in Car Grant
Energy prices: Electricity price 14 p/kWh, Source: UK Government; Diesel price 136.9 p/litre, Source: Petrol Prices
Fuel costs calculated using the Zap-Map Journey Cost Calculator with annual 10,000 mileage divided by 12 for a monthly figure.
Real-world fuel economies used. Company car tax (BIK) calculated over period 2018-2021 assuming 20% personal tax rate.