Should I get an EV or drive my petrol car into the ground?
It depends on whether you want a short answer or a nuanced long answer which considers criteria such as the vehicle age, efficiency and mileage. As you are reading this blog and not the economist, I assume it’s the short one.
On a purely cost savings basis, EVs are roughly 10p cheaper to run per mile. As the average UK driver clocks about 7,000 miles per year, that amounts to £700 in savings. Add in lower road taxes and congestion charges and you could reach about £1,000 savings per year. EV prices are coming down and set to be on a parity with petrol engines somewhere in the middle of this decade. So if you’re in the market right now, you will need to drive that EV for several years before it costs less to own than a petrol equivalent.
If you want to look at it on emissions basis, the details are laid out in this blog. The emissions of a brand new EV are higher than a brand new petrol car due to the manufacturing of the battery. However, once you start to drive the emissions from a petrol car will continue to rise, whereas an EV stays relatively flat. The breakeven point is around 16,000 miles — typically 2 to 4 years into ownership. After that the total lifecyle emissions of an EV are lower than a car with an internal combustion engine.
Looking for a shorter answer?
If your car is near the end of the life and you don’t drive it much, best sticking with that rather than getting a new electric car.
If you are buying second-hand, or are planning on holding onto the new car for a long time (most EV batteries last 10+ years) then it is definitely worth looking into an electric car.
Lo bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno.