Is an electric car more expensive than a conventional vehicle?

In the long term, cheap is expensive. This is undoubtedly the best summary for the issue (and debate) with regard to the price of an electric car compared to that of a conventional vehicle. 

Vehículo eléctrico cargando en el garaje de un hogar.

More and more of us are looking to improve our lifestyle by making it more sustainable and helping in the fight against climate change. But, when it comes to the car, excuses and dilemmas tend to appear. "An electric vehicle is very expensive" is one of the most frequent arguments.

However, to talk about the price of the electric car and know whether it is worth paying when compared to the price of a conventional vehicle, we should take into account different factors that go beyond the price of the vehicle as such.

 

Electric vs petrol car: Which is more cost effective?

If what you are really asking is whether it is worthwhile buying an electric car, the answer is yes. To understand why, you not only need to know the current price of both types of cars, you also need to take into account factors such as the cost of fuel, charging, maintenance, parking and taxes. So, here is a detailed analysis.

  • Price of the car. Electric cars are generally somewhat more expensive than petrol or diesel cars. It all depends on the model. But this extra charge pays for itself with savings on fuel and maintenance costs. Also, if you take into account incentives such as Plan Moves III, in Spain the purchase of an electric car is subsidised with up to €7,000.
    Grants can also be requested for charging stations. The average cost for installation ranges between €1,400 and €1,800, depending on the distance between the meter for the house and where the garage is located. To make the process easier, there are manufacturers who already sell the car and the charger together, to when you leave the dealership, everything is done.
  • Fuel costs. It costs less to recharge with electricity than to refuel with petrol or diesel. For example, in the case of Endesa X Way, a recharge for 100 km can cost less than €5. Companies also usually provide multiple offers. At home, with Endesa's TempoZero-Electric Vehicle tariff, you can recharge a vehicle between 1am and 7am at no cost.
  • Maintenance. An electric car has no clutch, no oil, no filters, no timing belt, etc. so it is much simpler to maintain and costs less than a traditional diesel or petrol-driven internal-combustion vehicle.
  • Parking: In many cities, electric cars have advantages such as free parking in regulated car parks and areas with recharging facilities in shopping centres, without forgetting that they allow unrestricted access to low-emission zones. Not only is this more convenient, in the medium to long term this means great economic savings.
  • Taxes: Electric vehicles are exempt from registration tax and most municipalities also apply reductions to road tax. These discounts can be up to 75%, applicable indefinitely for 100% electric vehicles and for six years for hybrids.

 

More efficiency, lower emissions

The efficiency of electric cars is about 90% while that of traditional cars remains at 30%. This means that an electric vehicle will need less energy than a traditional vehicle to exert the same force, which translates into lower consumption and more savings.

What is more, about a quarter of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere come from transport. Nowadays, an electric car produces less than half the emissions (52 grams of CO2/km) than an internal-combustion vehicle. This means that if all cars were charged directly from the electricity grid, we would reduce car emissions by 60%.

“If today all cars were already electric, car emissions would be reduced by 60%”.
Graph showing the evolution of electric vehicle registrations in Spain.
Graph showing the evolution of electric vehicle registrations in Spain.

Development of electric vehicle registrations

2013: 1.469

2014: 2.152

2015: 3.133

2016: 4.748

2017: 8.611

2018: 13.882

2019: 12.293

2020: 20.156

2021: 27.769

Growth compared to 2020: 37.76%

Currently, only 3 out of 10 vehicles sold in Spain are electric, but this figure is continually increasing. In fact, in 2021 registrations of this type of vehicle increased by 37.76% compared to 2020. This figure only means one thing: Electric mobility is here to stay and is more cost-efficient than we think. 

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