New study reveals the cheapest and most expensive EVs for long-term running costs

Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 11:38 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 11:39 am

Up to 12 million UK drivers are considering switching to an electric vehicle as their next car, according to new research.

A study of driver attitudes by Uswitch found that 30 per cent were considering or definitely planning to buy an electric car in the next two years, attracted by the perceived environmental benefits as well as potential savings in fuel costs.

According to Uswitch data based on fuel and electricity costs, EVs are up to £329 a year cheaper to fuel than a petrol or diesel equivalent. With an average home charging cost of around £30.90 per month compared to the £74.86 for fuelling a petrol or diesel car, running an EV could save motorists a pretty sum, but not all EVs are equal, with some costing substantially more to buy or run than others.

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Uswitch compared the running costs of EVs currently on sale in the UK to find the cheapest and most expensive. It used the purchase price after the plug-in car grant along with the cost to charge the battery and the average annual UK mileage of 5,829 to estimate the cost per mile of running each model as well as the overall cost over eight years (the average battery warranty period).

Best value was the Renault Twizy, with a cost per mile of just 1.61p, or £11,745 over eight years. But before you rush to your nearest Renault showroom bear in mind that the Twizy is actually a two-seat quadricycle that can cover just 62 miles on a charge and doesn’t even come with windows as standard.

A more realistic option for everyday use is the second-placed Skoda Citigoe iV. With a list price of £17,455 and a range of 170 miles running costs work out at 3.54ppm or around £19,106 over eight years. The related Seat Mii electric ranks third, with a cost of 3.76ppm thanks to its higher purchase price and slightly shorter range.

If you can still find one, the recently discontinued Citroen C-Zero will cost 2.81p per mile or £21,832 over eight years, with the new, all-electric version of the Smart EQ Fortwo coming in fifth with running costs of 3.69ppm.

BMW’s stylish i3 actually works out cheaper per mile than several of those models - at 3.4ppm - but the premium model comes with a premium price of £36,025, pushing eight-year costs up to £37,592. Thanks to its pricier starting point the i3 was one of 10 of the most expensive EVs to run in the long-term, although models from Tesla, Audi and Porsche proved more expensive still thanks to their high purchase price.

Most expensive of all, according to the Uswitch calculations is the Porsche Taycan. The high-performance saloon starts at a substantial £83,367 and with a range of 188 miles costs 6.9ppm to run, equating to £86,581 over eight years. Just behind it, the Tesla Model X will cost 5.2ppm but its £82,980 list price pushes overall costs up to £85,409 over eight years. Audi’s brand-new e-tron Sportback is a close third, with a 6.4ppm cost and long-term cost of £83,657.

With its huge 379-mile range, Tesla’s groundbreaking Model S is also cheaper per mile than some of Uswitch’s “best value” models - at 4.3ppm - but once again the £78,000 list price means the eight-year cost is steep.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the Uswitch figures don’t include insurance costs. These vary significantly between drivers and postcodes but EVs are on average more expensive to insure than equivalent cars with a petrol or diesel engine, potentially denting any savings.

This article first appeared on our sister site The Scotsman