Last week, we told you that the government were looking to bring forward the ban on the sale of new fossil fuelled cars (as the single, motive power source), from 2040 to 2035, in a bid to show their green credentials.
The Transport Secretary stated: “We must go further to protect our environment and improve our competitive edge. If we’re to become the world-leader in green technology, we must always be looking to expand our ambitions. The Government’s advisory committee on climate change has said that 2035 is the date to aim for”.
That’s all well and good, but as many of you pointed out in the comments, there are significant financial implications.
1/3 cheaper to run
There seems to be a lot of misinformation when it comes to costs associated with going green, least of all a clear understanding of what it actually costs to run an all-electric vehicle; when averaged out per charge, how much will a single mile cost you?
To be clear, this isn’t about purchase price, maintenance cost, battery leasing & purchasing, but just mile for mile cost of energy – electricity versus unleaded and diesel if you will.
None of us would be surprised to hear that electricity miles are cheaper than fossil-fuelled miles, but being able to put it in to context does give us a little more insight and understanding.
The most frugal electric vehicles (the KIA e-Niro and Renault Zoe) offer a range of 33.1 miles to one pound (£1), the best diesel (Honda Civic Saloon 1.6i DTEC and the Ford Focus 1.5 EcoBlue) aren’t even close; 10.8 miles for each pound (£1) of ‘energy’.
Make up to an £11,740 difference
It could be argued that the price differential between the KIA e-Niro (£32,995) and the Honda Civic (£21,255) would buy you an awful lot of miles – nearly 128,000, but what of the Renault Zoe? The list price of the Zoe is actually less than the Civic, only by £35, but that’s not important; it isn’t just getting close to traditional ICE vehicles, it’s beating them. (And that’s before we look at any assistance to buy).
However, taking the Zoe as an example, you hire the batteries, and the bigger than annual mileage, the bigger the financial charge; with annual mileage of 10,500, you’d be paying £99 per month for the hire of the battery – nearly £1,200 on top of the purchase price.
Further still, the obvious comparison between the practicality, styling or just plain old ‘want’ of the vehicles isn’t to be underestimated. The Zoe is a small hatchback, ideally suited to town driving and loading up with shopping, whereas the Civic has more space, more range, looks smarter (although of course, that’s subjective) and is made by Honda, which means it should outlast the cockroaches that see off a nuclear holocaust.
For a long time, people have complained that electric vehicles don’t have enough range, are too expensive to purchase, not as practical, won’t fit their need because they can’t tow the Moon behind them – there’s always been a reason (usually financial) as to why they just don’t work (for them).
But today, the electric vehicle market has evolved into something that’s closer in price, with some models beating traditional ICE vehicle prices, a viable alternative for many motorists with range anxiety, and they offer all the performance that’s realistically usable on our road network.
Without doubt, there will be some motorists that an electric vehicle won’t suit, or isn’t yet a viable alternative, and even for those it does work for, you can’t help feeling that even now, there’s a compromise to be made if you choose electricity over internal combustion.
But let’s not forget, mainstream battery-electric vehicles have only really been in production for around ten years, and within that timeframe, battery prices have dropped to around a tenth of what they were, ranges have doubled, even tripled, performance has gone up, charging times have come down, and the breadth of the compromise is narrowing with each day that passes.
As a performance car engineer, I really never thought I’d see the day where electricity could take on fossil fuel in a straight fight and win, and while we’re still not quite there yet, you can guarantee that within this next decade, fossil fuel will be outdated and outclassed.
Perhaps the time is coming where the only drawback to owning an electric vehicle will be the tariffs imposed on us for charging them, and using the roads – much the same for fossil fuels now.
What do you think to electric vehicles? If price wasn’t a consideration, would you own one? Are they practical enough right now? Let us know in the comments.