posted 8 months ago

Switching to Electric Can Save You Hundreds, If Not Thousands...

Go Ultra Low emphasises that switching to electric vehicles could save motorists hundreds of pounds per-year.

Save £300+ on servicing

Drivers could cut service and maintenance costs by hundreds of pounds a year by switching to electric vehicles, Go Ultra Low says.

The national campaign group – that champions such machinery – claims that the average cost of maintaining and servicing a petrol/diesel vehicle is typically £400 per-annum. Nationally within the United Kingdom, that equates to a total of £13 billion.

In comparison, it says the typical cost of caring for a fully electric car is £94 per-annum. If every motorist switched – the campaign group says – the total saving could be £10 billion a year. 

Leaf in the Garage

Go Ultra Low has an explanation for the variation. It says that traditionally powered vehicles have more parts that require care and replacement. An electric model has no spark plugs, for example. 

Its Head, Poppy Welch, argues: “Pure electric motors have fewer component parts than cars with an internal combustion engine. This means that there are fewer things which can break, and servicing is simpler and cheaper to complete”. 

Real life examples

There could be some truth in the group's claim. Consider Nissan, for example. A minor service for petrol models costs from £149 rising to £159 for diesels. In contrast, servicing the Nissan LEAF – the nation's best selling electric vehicle – costs from only £99. 

2016 Nissan Leaf 30kwh

Furthermore, the motor manufacturer charges £219 for a major service on petrol powered cars rising to £249 for diesels. The LEAF, in contrast, receives comparative maintenance from only £149.

Read Our Full Review Of The Nissan Leaf Here

However, motorists that plan to switch to electric to cut service/maintenance costs have to consider each car on a case by case basis. Electric is not always cheaper, in other words. The price of such work from each motor manufacturer – and often different models within a manufacturer's range – vary considerably. 

For example, the Toyota Aygo has a traditional, internal combustion, engine yet an “intermediate” service costs £99. That matches the cost of a “minor service” for the electric Nissan LEAF. 

Low fuel costs

Running an electric car should cut fuel costs too. Go Ultra Low says: “Fuelling an electric car costs from just 2p per-mile compared to around 10-12p per-mile for a typical petrol or diesel”.

Again, there is some truth here but motorists with an eye on the bottom line have to be specific. Nissan, for example, – in relation to its LEAF – states that a figure of 2 pence per-mile is based on: 

  • British Gas standard tariff rates,
  • payment by direct debit,
  • 7 hours charging at night time rates, 
  • 1 hour charging at daytime rates.

Furthermore, whereas it might “typically” costs 10 - 12 pence per-mile to run a petrol or diesel, not all such vehicles are created equal. The BMW 116d SE, for example, averages a remarkable 78.5mpg, manages 85.6mpg on the extra-urban cycle and hits 68.9mpg in town.

BMW 116d

Vehicle Excise Duty savings

Go Ultra Low says: “Electric vehicles are currently exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty” which could save drivers a considerable sum. That is correct and a point that will become increasingly relevant. 

As of 2016, Vehicle Excise Duty cost £0 in year 1 if tailpipe emissions are no more than 130g/km. Many petrols and diesels meet this criteria. Further, the subsequent rate for these low polluters is no greater than £110 (if paid by a single direct debit payment). 

However, from April 2017 only zero emission vehicles – of which none on the market have a petrol or diesel engine – qualify for free, year 1, road tax - and some subsequent yearly rates rise too.

Charging the Leaf

Let us consider the consequences of the new system. A vehicle that emits carbon at the rate of 99g/km can currently be taxed for free in year 1, and thereafter. However, from April 2017 the price for year 1 rises to £120. It then increases further to £140 for year 2. 

Other financial benefits

Go Ultra Low says electric vehicles have other financial benefits too. These include: 

  • “government plug-in grants offer up to £4,500 off the price of an electric car, and up to £8,000 off the cost of an electric van”;
  • “exemption from the London Congestion Charge and free parking in many areas”.

Electric cars "good news” for motorists

Poppy Welch concludes: “The associated money saving that this brings is great news for British drivers. Not only are there now many stylish and desirable electric cars available, but all of them allow motorists to reduce expenditure on fuel bills and repair bills.”