Top of main content

Can you save money with electric cars?

How much does an electric car cost?

Buying an electric vehicle (EV) will typically set you back more than buying an equivalent petrol or diesel car. This is largely due to the costs of developing batteries and mining the raw materials they’re made from. Previously there were government grants to help people make the move to electric. However, these were withdrawn for most vehicles in June 2022. 

As new electric models become available, the market for used electric cars is growing and making them more affordable.

Is an electric car cheaper to run than a petrol or diesel car?

Depending on the make and model of your EV, it can be cheaper to run than many petrol or diesel cars. EVs generally require little maintenance compared to cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE) as they have fewer moving parts. 

As a quick price comparison, the average commute in the UK is 9.32 miles. In a petrol Volkswagen Golf 8 this would cost around £1.82 (based on fuel costing 163p per litre) and £1.57 in the diesel model (based on fuel costing 180p per litre), but only 88p in the electric Golf 8 (based on electricity charged at 34p per kWh).  

The numbers speak for themselves, and over time can lead to massive savings.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

A home charging point usually costs between £800 and £1,200 to buy and install.

After installation, it pays to look for the right energy tariff, preferably one that offers off-peak charging periods and to think about when you’re charging. If energy bills in the UK rise further, EV drivers will see the cost of charging their vehicle increase. However, if the cost of diesel and petrol fluctuate, EVs can still offer a comparative saving.

When out and about, charging costs vary by location and charger speed. According to Zap-Map, as of June 2022, there were more than 5,400 charging devices that were completely free to use.

Some chargers are used through a subscription, while others use a pay-per-session option. A 30-minute charge at a rapid charging point costs roughly £11 and should give you 90 miles of range depending on your car and other factors.

Regardless of the charging method, costs per mile are usually cheaper in an EV than a petrol or diesel car. Take the Volkswagen Golf 8, it costs just 7.8p to cover a mile in the electric model, 20.2p in the diesel and 22.7p in the petrol equivalent.

What can impact electric car range?

Do I have to pay road tax on an electric car?

Drivers of pure electric vehicles don’t currently pay any Vehicle Excise Duty (also known as road tax), saving between £165 and £520 a year, depending on the price of your car. And if you regularly drive through a Clean Air Zone in London or Birmingham for example, you’ll save on charges too.

So, do you save money with an electric car? You can, but it depends on your circumstances. While initial costs can be more expensive, if you use your car regularly, you should see significantly reduced running costs.

*Based on comparison using Zap-Map 26/9/2022

Today, we and many of our customers contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. We have a strategy to reduce our own emissions and to help our customers reduce theirs. Find out more about our climate strategy.