A new study says that £5 worth of fuel—be it petrol, diesel, or electricity—goes almost twice as far in electric vehicles (EVs) than it does in petrol and diesel vehicles and, if you buy a bus or train ticket for £5, your mileage distance will only be a fifth of that travelled by an EV.

After finding that one in five drivers thinks EVs are more expensive to run than other types of vehicles, the car-buying platform, carwow did some research to work out the cost-per-mile of an average EV. They say EV drivers get around 40-50 more miles out of their cars than petrol and diesel owners.

Going the distance

The study, that used both regional electricity prices and regional petrol and diesel prices and calculated the car journeys based on normal driving conditions took the Volkswagen e-Golf and worked out the cost (per kilowatt-hour) of charging its batteries, calculated how far the car would travel before it needed recharging, and found it would travel about 102 miles.

They then compared the figures of the e-Golf against comparable petrol and diesel Golf models, taking into account their mpg statistics. They found £5.00 would take the diesel Golf 56.5 miles, while with the same cost of unleaded, the petrol model would travel 49.6 miles.

The carwow study then compared public transport distances, costing £5 (converted from euros for Dublin), out of 10 major cities and found that the fare would take you 20 miles via train and just 12.6 miles travelling by bus.

From London, £5 would take an EV as far as Worcester or Bristol, while a diesel car would only get to Oxford or Winchester, and a petrol car would only get to Basingstoke, Milton Keynes, or Bedford. Spend around £5 on a bus or train ticket and you won’t get far from the M25.

Miles apart

Matthew Watson, Editorial Director at carwow, said:

‘Some people might be surprised to see that you can travel pretty much double the distance in an electric car than you can with diesel or petrol, but you can’t argue with the data.’

The company, who hopes their research helps prospective buyers ‘adopt the new technology rather than write it off in favour of traditional choices’, said people need more education about electric cars, their ‘benefits and their feasibility’.

Mr Watson said the choice to move to an alternative fuelled vehicle ‘will be a personal one, depending on where you live and how much local investment there has been to infrastructure as the roll-out has not been even,’ though he said progress is happening fast.

Earlier research by motoring review website Parkers supports carwow’s findings. In an October article, they looked at the top 10 best-selling, most efficient electric, petrol, and diesel cars, comparing how far a pound of fuel would take each car. Calculating the distance in miles per pound (mpp), they reported that, for the same fuel cost, the EVs could travel around three times further than the petrol or diesel models.

Keith Adams, Editor of Parkers, said:

‘We created miles per pound as a way of demystifying the running costs of electric vehicles because above and beyond their range, and how long they take to charge, there is little uniformity in how carmakers express just how much energy these cars use.’

In Parker’s research, the first edition Kia e-Niro and the Renault Zoe 65kW, went the furthest, with each travelling a remarkable 33.1 mpp of electricity with Tesla’s Model 3 coming in at third place with 32.3mpp.

In comparison, Parkers found the most economical version of the Ford Fiesta—the top-selling car in the United Kingdom—was around four times as expensive to run than the EVs, with only 9.3mpp.

‘Taking fuelling costs into account, monthly costs for internal combustion engine cars and electric vehicles are much closer than the gap in list price might suggest. ‘While it’s easy to be put off at the price of an electric car when you look at it from a monthly costs perspective the prospect is all the more attractive.’

In charge

Vehicle running costs aren’t the only thing you need to consider when trying to decide whether a car is affordable for you. EVs are more expensive to buy than their petrol or diesel equivalents. After the £3,500 plug-in grant, the e-Golf costs £27,575, while the entry-level petrol model costs £23,340, and the diesel costs £25,585.

Electric vehicles often cost more to insure, not only because they’re more expensive, but because insurance companies have little experience insuring them yet, as the government continues to place tighter restrictions on petrol and diesel cars, EVs will become more common and so, cheaper to buy, reducing their insurance costs.

And, if you own a pure EV, you’re exempt from paying car tax (from next year there won’t be any company car tax on EVs, either) and, if you drive your car in London, you won’t need to pay Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) or the Congestion charge.

Forty-nine per cent of people don’t know the UK has more charging stations than petrol stations, which may explain why 35% of EV drivers say they worry about their vehicle running out of power, not being able to charge it, and getting stranded. A recent study from Lex AutoLease found many drivers are afraid to switch to EVs because of ‘range anxiety’.

Yet, further investment is on the way if we can believe our politicians. In the lead up to the election, the Conservatives pledged an extra £500m to boost the UK EV infrastructure, to make sure there’s a ChargePoint within 30 miles of each home in England and Wales. And, as part of their ‘Electric Car Revolution’, Labour promised a £3.6billion rollout of EV charging networks across the UK, with interest-free loans to help drivers buy EVs.

Are EVs expensive to own? What are your concerns about owning a plug-in car? Do you own an EV? What’s your experience of their running costs?

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