EVs are known to be cheaper to run than petrol and diesel models. This is absolutely true, with electric cars being far less costly to ‘fuel’ and tax than a regular car.
However, if you’re thinking about buying an EV, there are some hidden costs to be aware of.
The cost of the car in the first place
Perhaps the most obvious cost is the price of the car itself. EVs are more expensive than petrol or diesel cars due to their electric motors and batteries, which cost more than a typical engine.
It’s most obvious on a new model – particularly one that’s also available with regular engines. The new Vauxhall Corsa is a perfect example. Its petrol engine is available from £16,000, but with the electric version, prices start from £27,000. It’s an extreme example – and worth noting that the EV is far more powerful, as well as saving you £100 per month on running costs (according to Vauxhall). Even so, the higher initial price for the EV is worth taking into account.
The price difference narrows with used cars, but is still very much a factor. Take the 2014 Renault Zoe. An example with around 60,000 miles on the clock is worth around £7,000. Compare that with a similarly-sized petrol Renault Clio with matching miles, and you could expect to pay just £5,000.
Battery lease schemes
To help lower the cost of their EVs, some manufacturers offered their cars with battery leasing schemes. These usually apply to popular models such as the first-generation Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, and they carry over to used models, too.
As well as bringing the price down, battery leasing schemes were initially introduced to provide peace of mind to owners worried about batteries degrading. It’s something that hasn’t really been an issue, but it can be useful to know that the firm will replace the battery if it’s not charging correctly.
Costs typically vary between £50 and £100 per month, dependent on car and usage.
Pricey electric car charging
As is the case with regular petrol stations, the price of electric car charging depends on where you charge and who you charge with.
Quicker chargers are typically those that are the most expensive – just because they’re the most convenient. All firms offer a ‘pay-as-you-go’ electricity rate (typically based per kWh), while others have subscription services, which are aimed at drivers charging regularly at public stations.
Aside from free public charging (available at certain supermarkets and hotels as well as other destinations), charging at home remains the most cost-effective way of adding juice to your EV.
However, electric charging is still almost always cheaper than buying petrol or diesel.
More expensive to insure
EVs are typically more expensive to insure than a petrol or diesel-powered equivalent. As they’re not as common as petrol or diesel cars, sourcing replacement parts can be more expensive, and servicing is a specialist task.
Insurance premiums will depend on model, and, as with any car, you should get a quote before buying.
Less widespread servicing
It’s not a hidden cost, but be aware that electric car servicing isn’t as readily available as that for a petrol or diesel car.
The majority of main dealers can service and repair EVs from their brand (e.g a Nissan dealer will be able to service a Nissan Leaf), but only a limited number of independent garages can offer maintenance for these vehicles.
This might mean that your local garage can’t service an EV, and you may have to travel further afield have it done. Speak to your preferred garage beforehand to see if they’re able to.
Interested in whether an EV can save you money? Read our guide here.