Are Electric Vehicles More Expensive than Petrol or Diesel Vehicles?

The electric vehicle was once a pipe dream, with some fringe designs in the late 20th century demonstrating the technology to be ill-equipped for the distance or power expectations the average driver has. But in recent years, explosive development in the field of electric vehicles, or EVs, has seen mainstream models going toe-to-toe with standard petrol and diesel vehicles.

electric vehicles more expensive
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Now, electric vehicles are more popular than they’ve ever been, with mainstream models continuing to hit the market in spite of manufacturing supply shortages. But despite their undeniable popularity, there is concern around the potential cost of this new category of automobile. How do electric vehicles measure up to the more well-established petrol or diesel vehicles, in terms of upfront cost and general running costs?

Upfront Cost

The list prices for brand-new electric vehicles tend to be higher than the price of their fossil-fuelled counterparts – a fact made crystal clear in the pricing options for electric and petrol versions of the same car model such as the Vauxhall Corsa. This is due to the increased cost of not only production but also of the research and development undertaken by automotive companies to develop the new category of vehicles. Electric cars are chock-full of expensive technology, from the batteries themselves to sensors and equipment unique to electric vehicles that monitor and moderate the batteries and motor.

Running Costs

Despite the prohibitive upfront cost of a new electric car, its running costs can be much lower than the running costs of petrol or diesel vehicles. For starters, electric cars can charge from your home’s mains electricity, as well as from commercial charging points across the country. The average cost of electricity per mile is significantly lower than the cost-per-mile of petrol or diesel. Electric cars also have fewer moving parts, owing to the lack of internal combustion engines. This means that electric cars are generally cheaper to service than petrol cars, in which more parts can wear or fail over time.

Tax and Insurance

Lastly, the less direct costs attributed to running a vehicle are cheaper with electric than with fossil-fuelled cars. Car insurance is cheaper in general, partly due to the minimised risk of engine-related failure or breakdown. The same is true of road tax, which is calculated based on the emissions your car produces. Petrol and diesel cars pay a flat yearly rate after the first year, based on their emissions ratings; full electric vehicles are in fact exempt from road tax altogether, owing to being a zero-emissions vehicle.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.