Are Electric Cars Affordable? A Breakdown of Costs for Electric Cars


Are Electric Cars Affordable? A Breakdown of Costs for Electric Cars

Electric cars have been getting a lot of attention lately. With fuel prices on the rise and environmental concerns at an all-time high, more people than ever are looking into electric cars. Plus, with the internal combustion engine (ICE) ban coming into effect in 2030, drivers will no longer be able to buy a new petrol or diesel vehicle.

If you're considering an electric vehicle (EV), you're probably wondering about the cost. There are tons of articles and news stories about the benefits of EVs for the environment and your bank balance. You’ve probably heard that electric vehicles have low running costs that easily beat their fuel-based rivals. But are they more affordable?

We've put together this breakdown of electric car costs to help you work out if an electric car is an affordable option for you. We'll look at the price of electric vehicles compared to traditional cars, government incentives, maintenance and charging costs. We'll also include some of the best, most affordable and cheapest electric vehicles available today.

What Are the Costs of Electric Cars in 2022?

The Initial Cost: Buying or Leasing

If you're considering switching to an electric car, the first thing on your mind is probably the price. Even the cheapest EVs tend to be slightly more expensive than their petrol or diesel alternatives. According to the Electric Vehicle Database, at the time of writing, the average cost of an electric car is £49,573. As this is an average, though, it considers the priciest and cheapest EVs. If you look at the cost of everyday vehicles like the electric Volkswagen ID.3 compared to the standard VW Golf, the electric ID.3 is about 16% more expensive.

Electric vehicles are a developing industry and are still less popular than petrol or diesel cars, which explains the price difference. But one way to avoid the cost disparity is to lease an electric car. Leasing is an increasingly popular option for drivers, and it's easy to see why. You get a brand new car for a reasonable monthly payment, and you can usually pay a small monthly fee for a maintenance package and peace of mind. 

When comparing the cost of leasing an electric car to a petrol or diesel alternative, EVs are often cheaper. For example, The VW E-Up is available for £204.34 a month compared to £253.75 for its petrol counterpart*.

* prices correct at the time of writing

Ongoing Cost: Insurance

Early adopters of electric cars struggled to find cost-effective insurance due to a lack of historical data on the repair cost of electric vehicles. Some insurance companies didn’t even offer electric car insurance. Thankfully, as electric cars have become more commonplace, more data is available, and insurance costs have dropped.

According to NimbleFins, the average cost of yearly insurance for an electric car is around £629. This is more expensive than the average insurance cost for other cars, which is £429. But while the cost of insurance is currently higher for EVs, recent trends show that the price is decreasing and may soon be lower than it is for petrol or diesel cars. It's also worth bearing in mind that while your insurance costs for an EV may be higher initially, EVs are exempt from road tax.

Running Cost: Maintenance

The cost of maintenance for an electric vehicle is generally lower than it is for a car with an internal combustion engine. This is due to electric vehicles having far fewer parts, so there’s less to go wrong. With a traditional car, most issues stem from the exhaust or the brakes, but there are many other parts than can go wrong. Electric cars don’t have exhausts, so you won't need to worry about that, and electric cars use regenerative braking, which causes far less wear.

The big potential issue with electric vehicles is battery maintenance. As electric cars get all of their power from the battery, they’re the most expensive part to replace, so keeping them in good condition is vital. Fortunately, most electric car batteries are covered by a warranty and designed to last beyond the car's life. Other areas that need to be maintained are:

  • Brakes
  • Tyres
  • Coolant levels
  • Charging point and cables.

The cost of servicing and maintenance varies and often depends on the garage carrying out the work. But as more garages become specialists in EVs, this cost is likely to drop. One of the best ways to reduce the cost of maintenance for an EV is to lease one with a maintenance package. Most reputable car lease firms offer a maintenance package for a fixed monthly fee so that if anything goes wrong, you don't need to worry.

Running Cost: Charging

Just like fuel engines, the cost of running and charging an electric car varies drastically from car to car. But the good news is that electric vehicles cost far less to run than fuel alternatives, and there are more places to charge your car every year. 

There are two main options for charging: public charging points and at home. Most EV owners charge their cars at home as the cheaper option. According to the RAC, it costs around £5 to fully charge an electric car at home.

While charging an electric car with a traditional three-pin plug at home is possible, it's always advisable to install a dedicated EV charge. A dedicated EV home charge usually costs around £800, but government grants are available to reduce this.

The cost of charging an EV in public varies depending on where you charge and the type of charging. Generally, charging fees are between 20p and 70p per kWh, with rapid chargers being more expensive. One of the significant concerns with public charging is that there aren't enough charging points in the UK. But the latest data from EDF Energy state there are over 42,000 public charging points in the UK.

There are several public-charging networks in the UK, and their approach to pricing varies. Some offer simple pay-as-you-go models, and others offer a membership and subscription model. If you're considering an electric car, it's worth looking at your driving habits to work out which public-charging networks will suit your needs.

Some of the Best (and Cheapest) Electric Cars Available Today

As much as we might want one, a Tesla Model X or a Polestar 2 isn't in everybody’s price range. But while the price was once determined by the range and technology of an electric vehicle, there's now a far more extensive choice of cheap electric cars that rival their premium competitors. If you're in the market for a new electric vehicle, we've put together a few of the best and cheapest electric cars available today:

MINI Electric

The MINI Electric is the perfect car for people who love going out about town. This little hatch, recently lightly updated with all new tyres, will have you zooming around in no time, thanks to its quick-step EV pulling power. While the MINI electric battery pack isn't the best choice for long-range drives, it has plenty of great features, including an in-built sat-nav, onboard computer and cruise control.

Explore our MINI Electric leases today.

Peugeot E-208

The new zero-emission Peugeot E-208 is an ultra-modern, high-tech vehicle that offers drivers of all kinds the perfect balance between performance and affordability. The car has a battery range rivalling many of the best electric cars on today's market but with significantly less charging time. The E-208 can do a massive 255 miles between charges and has plenty of other great features, including battery-saving tech and a stylish, smart interior.

Find your Peugeot lease today.

The Nissan LEAF is a record-breaking electric car. This fully electric vehicle has always divided opinion, but many love its bold engineering and surprisingly enjoyable driving dynamics. The world’s best-selling EV has been rejuvenated yet again with some useful improvements for the latest model year – including an improved interior design. The Nissan Leaf makes regular appearances on rundowns of the best electric cars and cheap electric cars, and for good reason. Its smaller battery makes it a perfect city car, and despite a divide in opinion, it remains one of the most popular electric cars on sale.

Find your Nissan Leaf lease now.

Honda E

The Honda E is the first fully electric car from Honda. It’s a sleek and stylish retro-styled hatchback that will have you pining for the good old days. The Honda E feels very reminiscent of what we loved about the Honda Civic back when it came out during the ‘90s. With round headlights and gloss black exterior-trim details, this five-door has all the elements of classic honda cars with its circular lights in place.

Explore our Honda E leases today.

Smart EQ Fortwo

The fortwo is an ideal electric car. It's small, lightweight and geared towards the urban environment. This vehicle comes standard with an onboard charger, but it also offers quicker battery replenishment thanks to its new EQ power train. Smart has been making strides forward, and the smart EQ fortwo is a perfect example of what the manufacturer excels at.

Find your smart lease today.

The Volkswagen E-Up is one of the most affordable small-city EVs on today’s market. It has a full charge range of up to 162 miles and the interior is equipped with an easy-to-use infotainment system and comfortable seats. Due to its compact size, it’s ideal for everyday driving in urban environments where space isn't always available or accessible.

Explore our Volkswagen leases today.

Find Your Electric Car Lease Today

If you're interested in going electric with your next car, you can eliminate many of the costs with a car lease. Alongside finding a monthly payment that suits your budget, you can add a lease maintenance package so that you're covered if you have any nasty surprises during your lease.

Explore our range of electric car leases today and find your next car. At Tilsun Leasing, we offer leases on a vast range of cars and vans perfect for business or personal use. Get in touch today if you have any questions or queries about leasing a vehicle. 


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