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  • "Fuelcard Frank"

Electric Vehicle (EV) vs a similar size Petrol car

In this example a Tesla Model 3 vs Cupra Formenta 1.5 petrol Automatic. comparison costs using a 48 month lease from a well known leasing company from the same headline page. I held a similar exercise a year or so back for 2 Peugeot Partner vans, one EV vs Petrol engine. This updates the differences, if any since then!

This is purely a cost exercise and no environmental issues are included as they aren’t relevant to this example. A driver may wish to run an electric vehicle as it helps their view that they are saving the planet. An alternate view is that whilst cities/towns may cause concern for pollution as we are regularly told, the open countryside has no such issues. Perhaps a better answer is a ‘Hybrid’ system using electric in built up areas and petrol/diesel when on the open road? Whatever your views are on this subject, this is the real costs of those points of view.

Range anxiety is still a major issue and the Tesla model 3 here advertises a range of 267 miles. There is a longer range model but at extra cost. Due to the present sparsity of electric charging points, EV drivers need to plan every journey, whereas Petrol/Diesel drivers can simply go and fill up when necessary, as there are plenty of fuel stations throughout the UK. If I had used a typical diesel-powered car for this example the fuel costs would have been lower by approx.

£1000 making the difference even greater.

I’ve also deliberately under-estimated the fuel cost for the EV as “on the road garage electric recharging” will be more expensive than recharging at home, which I’ve estimated at a very low 2p per mile. BIK is a tax on business benefits known as ‘Benefit in Kind’ and the Governments for several decades now judge that a vehicle list price and it’s running costs are such a benefit therefore the user must pay tax accordingly at 20% of the perceived benefit. Higher tax payers are charged at 40%.

So for a driver taxed for business use (BIK) the difference is in favour of the petrol car as the company car driver doesn’t pay for his fuel or servicing but pays substantially higher BIK, so the total cost is £19,968 which makes it lower than the EV by £2951 over 4 years.

A private user who pays for their own car so no BIK on either car, the petrol car costs £17,508 showing a lower cost by £5084 over 4 years.

In this comparison the service interval for the Tesla is 12500 miles so will need 3 services during the 4 year lease. The Cupra service interval is 18600 miles so will need 2 services during the 4 year lease. Assuming the EV has less parts to service, so lower costs for each service, the costs should be similar for both vehicles.

The initial cost difference is still far too high for any EV, being in most cases at least £10,000 more expensive than a similar internal combustion engine vehicle.

What about lithium shortage that we are regularly told about and the dreadful scarring of the landscape in South America where most of the World’s Lithium is mined? That could be coming to a county near you? Cornwall in our case!

What happens when EV’s get beyond economical repair and are scrapped? What happens to the old batteries, will they be re-cycled or dumped in the ground? If so, how will that effect the environment?

EV battery life reduces every year. So the 267 mile range quoted in this example in 4 years time could be down to little more than 200 miles, and in reality of use with aircon, heating entertainment, lights etc., may become considerably less!

In conclusion the UK Government says that all cars must eventually be EV’s only so it is coming and we will all eventually have to drive EV’s but the recharging infrastructure simply isn’t available at present and the Government shows little sign of funding an adequate system, hoping that private enterprise will. Well private enterprise may well do, but only in high usage areas such as cities and Motorway services. Rural areas will still be left void of an adequate recharging structure unless the Government or Local Councils fund it, which presently they show little enthusiasm for.

So presently and until the Government(s) between now and 2035 actually tackle this issue properly and provide adequate funds, it is better economically to stay with either Diesel/Petrol or self-charging Hybrid powered vehicles.

By Fuelcard Frank

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