Can you actually afford an Electric Car?

We all know that electric cars are good for the environment and that the amount of cars currently on the UK’s roads is leading to increased pollution levels. In order to reduce the UK’s emissions the government has brought in incentives to encourage individuals to buy electric cars, and so far it has partially worked. However, without these incentives could you actually afford to run an electric car? MotorQuoteDirect investigates:

Fuel vs. Electricity

As most homeowners already know, neither gas, electricity, nor petrol come cheap, meaning that even though electric cars are better for the environment they could end up costing you more in the long run. In fact, it has recently been claimed that running an electric car may actually be more expensive than running one which relies on fuel now that a government subsidy has come to an end. Up until now, the Department for Transport has been funding the creation and maintenance of chargers for electric cars across the UK, but now local councils have had to hire private companies to do the job.

This has led to the cost of creating and maintaining chargers increasing – a cost which has been passed on to motorists. Andrew Fenwick-Green, marketing secretary of the Electric Vehicle Drivers Association, said: “A gallon of diesel for most eco-diesels will cost you £6.30 and get you around 60 miles. A 30-minute rapid charge in my Nissan Leaf would give you a range of 64 miles. So we’re paying an extra £1.20 more to get the same mileage.” There have also been rumours that some providers may soon charge £7.50 for a half-hour rapid charge, which Mr Fenwick-Green says is “madness”. He added: “If the rapid chargers go up to £7.50 we’re going to kill the market at a stroke.”

The Cost of Electric Vehicles

Paying for electricity is just one thing that you need to consider if you are thinking about investing in an electric car, as the vehicles themselves are usually much more expensive than petrol or diesel cars. In fact, electric cars are generally eight thousand pounds more expensive than their petrol or diesel versions, which is why the government has been offering a grant of five thousand pounds to anyone who decides to purchase one. However, even with the government grant you may still struggle with the cost of an electric car, as maintenance and replacement parts are generally more expensive.

If you do decide to purchase an electric car you will have to find a garage or mechanic that has the skills and equipment needed to perform routine maintenance and repairs. At the moment, this means that you may find it difficult to find competitive quotes on electric car insurance, or may have no other choice than to have your vehicle maintained at the garage where you bought it, which usually costs much more than an independent garage.

Electric Cars in London

Back in 2009 London Mayor Boris Johnson pledged for there to be one hundred thousand electric vehicles in London by 2020, however at the moment there are only three thousand. Sunday Politics London reporter Andrew Cryan said: “London should be an ideal place for electric vehicles to pick up as they don’t have to pay the congestion charge and the journeys tend to be quite short so you don’t have to worry about running out of battery. But so far the pick-up hasn’t been great.”

Stephen Knight, Lib Dem member of the London Assembly, said that he believed the money should have been spent more wisely. He added: “Investing in electric vehicles that the mayor can influence – the taxis, the minicabs, the buses – then that would provide the stimulus for everybody else to follow.” With the cost of running electric vehicles soon to skyrocket, it’s looking ever more unlikely that the London Mayor will be able to fulfil his pledge.

The government has spent years trying to encourage the UK public to purchase electric vehicles and if they back down now they could end up back where they started. Even though not all the government’s incentives have ended, if the cost of electricity is too high it will be enough to put people off from investing in electric vehicles.




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