Comparing the cost of running a mid-sized family petrol car to the equivalent electric

A medium-sized average new car now costs between £20,000 and £35,000. Bearing in mind gas cars are replaced on average every 8 years, while it is expected replacement rate for electric cars will be nearer to 15 (they simply last longer), so we are actually talking £40,000 to £70,000. the average family car will need between 1000 and 2000 pounds of petrol a year, let’s say 1500 (£22,500 over 15 years).

So if we add this up we are talking somewhere between  £62,500 and £90,000.

I’m going to make a few assumptions to simplify this calculation. Generally electric cars are more expensive to to insure, the cost of maintenance is significantly less. As such over the timescale I am going to assume that insurance plus upkeep is roughly the same between the two vehicle types (as insurance companies get used to electric cars the price disparity on this front is likely to reduce, however the maintenance savings of an internal combustion engine will not change,this is likely to become a further saving in the future).

Now looking at electric cars, Tesla 3 and y both come in at around £50,000, there are far cheaper electric cars but let’s use this number as a start. A full charge of a Tesla 3 or y from home costs around £5, so over 15 years this is going to be out of £6250. It’s means that with the cheapest internal combustion engine you are looking as a saving of £5000 over 15 years. With a more expensive car the numbers become even more in your favour.

Having already shown that electric car will save money, there are actually several ways to reduce this further.

If you install solar panels you can essentially drive for free (minus the cost of installation). This does also not take into account the facts that as electric cars come in automation is also arriving. If you pay for full self-driving in your car, in the future it may well be able to earn you money while you sleep acting as an autonomous taxi.

I hope over these two articles I have shown that from the practical driving point of view and the financial point of view, the sensible car is already electric. Adding in the fact that this allows you just stop adding to the carbon emissions by driving your car and therefore a helping keep emissions below acceptable levels and the choice really is clear (though of course without affordable finance this may become irrelevant for most people, as they can’t afford to pay so much of their are driving costs upfront).

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