How much does an electric car consume?

Good for you and the environment, the growth of electric cars is unstoppable. One of the reasons is their lower consumption compared to combustion engine vehicles. But how much do they actually spend and how much do you save? Are there ways to optimise this consumption? Find the answers below.

Planes, cars and lorries consume millions of litres of petrol and diesel every year. In fact, the transport sector is considered the last bastion of oil, which is slowly languishing. Refineries have begun to adapt to this situation by redesigning their facilities with extensions and improvements to maximise their own production of fuel for transport.

And the figures are clear. According to data published in the World Energy magazine BP Statistical Review, 70% of liquid fuels consumed in the United States in 2017 were petrol or diesel.

 

The electric alternative

In contrast to fuel consumption, its effects on the environment and its economic cost, electric cars keep growing, exceeding many of its limits.

The world’s electric vehicle fleet offsets around 100,000 barrels per day of road transport fuel each year, mostly petrol, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Because electric cars are not the future, but rather a reality that many people are already enjoying today. Sales of electric vehicles during the month of August in Spain reached 1,378 units. This seems like a small figure, but it represents a growth of 115.6% over the same period in 2019. With regard to the cumulative figure for the period, there was also a notable rise in registrations and 8,870 electric vehicles were sold between January and August.

Why switch to an electric car

From a personal and global standpoint, the switch to electric cars offers many advantages, but at the same time the shortcomings of using a relatively new product that is not yet widespread.

Overall, replacing our fleet of petrol vehicles with a fleet of electric vehicles will improve our quality of life and, above all, that of the planet, contributing in a practical way to the fight against the dreaded climate change.

Individually, we will enjoy a cheaper mode of transport, although it does require certain important logistical changes to turn it into a totally alternative mode of transport, valid for all types of trips, whether short, medium or long distance. The most progress is currently being made in the medium or long distance. In other words, going from an urban vehicle to checking all the boxes of things we want when we buy a car.

The fact is that changing to electric cars does not depend only on vehicle sales. Society itself and all the elements of its infrastructure have to adapt. That is why the increase of electricity supply points for electric cars is so important, not only in cities, but also right across Spain.

The firm commitment to this mode of transport in Spain and the European Union is making a reality of what seemed distant a few years ago, and we can now travel longer distances thanks to the greater autonomy of these vehicles as well as their increasing load capacities. But is this profitable?

 

What lies beneath the cost of the electric car

In general, electric vehicles or EVs are more expensive than petrol cars, and can cost about €5,000 to €15,000 more due to the high price of the batteries. This price can be lower if the model comes without a battery, which could be rented.

Despite this, most customers believe that this price difference between petrol cars and electric cars can be offset by savings on fuel. But to have a clear idea about the total cost of an electric car and whether or not it is worth buying one, we must consider other aspects such as:

  • Repairs: electric cars do not have clutches, filters or timing belts, so their maintenance is easier than that of a conventional car and much cheaper. In this sense, EVs could entail savings of 25% over petrol vehicles. This difference becomes greater if we compare them to diesel cars, since repairs on those are even more expensive.
  • Taxes: the upswing of the electric car sector and its positive effects on the planet and the environment mean that, in certain cities, electric vehicles enjoy tax advantages, with discounts on road tax that can be as high as 75%.

 

But how much does an electric car actually consume?

The key to their savings clearly lies in their consumption. This is the most important point to keep in mind. Without having to bring out the calculator, it is well-known that electric engines are much more energy-efficient than combustion engines.

For example, when it comes to travelling 100 kilometres, a diesel car will have consumed about 4 litres, while a petrol car will have used a little more. Taking into account the current price of petrol and diesel A, the cheapest, each car would have spent about €5 for petrol and about €4 for diesel, respectively, so we could establish an average of €4.50. 

In contrast, for the same 100-kilometre journey, an electric vehicle will consume about 13 kWh of its batteries. Setting a daytime domestic energy price of €0.158 per kW, covering 100 kilometres will cost about €2,054 before taxes. So we can say that driving with an electric car is less than half the cost of a traditional fuel car.

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"The key to their savings clearly lies in their consumption. This is the most important point to keep in mind.”

Also, this is not the cheapest price at which you can recharge your electric vehicle. If you do it in off-peak hours, at night, the price goes down a lot, to €0.074384 per kWh with the One Luz 3 Periodos tariff.

When performing this calculation we are not taking into account other terms of our electricity bill, such as power (fixed term) since this is associated with all of our service. So, if we compare exclusively the €130-150 of a combustion vehicle we would have savings of 75%, paying a quarter of what we would for a diesel or petrol vehicle.

 

Urban consumption compared to long trips

Choosing the best rates that allow us to charge our vehicle mainly in low-cost time periods is the way to maximise savings. But, what happens if we move a long way from our home charging point?

In this case we have to use the increasingly common electric charging stations. Although prices vary between charging points, they tend to be much higher, between €0.30 and €0.50/kWh including taxes, so a charge equivalent to 39 kWh, or 300 kilometres of travel, would cost us between €11.70 and €19.50, compared to the €13.50 - €15 on average for a diesel or petrol vehicle.

This very notable difference means that several points are important to consider. First of all planning, in the search for the best connection points with the cheapest rates. Second, when we go to places we frequent, such as second homes, it is important to have both a charging point and an adequate rate to get better prices.

However, although the cost is quite equivalent to that of the combustion vehicle (somewhat cheaper or somewhat more expensive, depending on the refuelling point used) the trend is also clear and positive. There are increasingly cheaper electric stations, so that in the medium term electric cars will also clearly prevail on long journeys as regards consumption costs.

In summary, electric cars can be more expensive than conventional ones at first instance due to the high cost of the batteries. But its significant savings in consumption, especially in the city, make them a profitable investment, with all the benefits of adapting the electricity rate to your charging schedule. But they are also increasingly becoming worthwhile when travelling away from home, where pre-planning the route and choosing the charging points with the best rates is still essential.

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