Cost of living: can you save money with an EV?

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When buying a car, an increasingly popular question is “are EVs more cost effective?”

As electric vehicles (EVs) become more popular (and fuel prices stay pretty high), long-term vehicle costs are more important than ever.

So, we’ve done some digging and put together a guide on EV costs to help you decide if going electric is the right option.

How much does an EV cost to buy?

Much like traditional vehicles, there’s a big range in the upfront cost of EVs. This can depend on the manufacturer, the size and range of the vehicle, and the features included.

For example, some Teslas are comparable with BMW models in the £40,000-£60,000 range, but can easily increase to six figures.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen’s ID.3 and Golf are similarly comparable, but the electric ID.3 can add over £10,000 to your total.

Overall, it’s likely your upfront cost will be more for an EV. But it could work out better depending on the model you choose, or how long you own the car for.

How much does it cost to charge an EV?

Again, this will depend on the size and range of the vehicle, as well as where you charge. For an average electric SUV, you could be looking at £10-£40 at a public charging station.

Some companies offer memberships to charge at stations throughout a city or country, helping reduce the price. And, if you’re lucky, your work may offer free charging.

The best price you’ll find is usually from having a home charging unit, as this cuts out any third-party service fees. If you’re not able to charge from home, it’s important to think about where you’ll be able to charge before getting an EV.

How much are home charging units?

You can get different types of home charging units, and unsurprisingly, they all cost different amounts. 7kW chargers are the most popular, and will likely set you back around £1000.

You can look into cheaper 3kW home chargers, but it’ll take longer to charge your vehicle.

When picking a home charger, it’s worth thinking about how regularly you’ll need to charge. If you’re travelling long distances most days, it’s probably better to have a vehicle with longer range and invest in a 7kW charger. But if you’re driving short distances, a smaller range and lower kilowatt charger could suit you just fine.

Are there any extra maintenance costs for EVs?

Well, not really. It’s more about who can do that maintenance.

Mechanics needs specific qualifications to work on EVs, so don’t start tinkering if a fault light comes up. It’s something we’ve made sure our technicians are trained to do.

Keep this in mind when you take your vehicle for a service, which will put you back around £250-£500. This is comparable to most non-EVs, but could be a little cheaper (as there are often less checks for an EV).

Is EV insurance more expensive?

You won’t be surprised to hear – it depends.

For most EVs it’s likely to be yes, as they’re more powerful than many traditional vehicles. With more power comes increased risk, and risk is what your insurance is based on.

But this isn’t always the case for the smaller models, so it’s worth shopping around for quotes.

For breakdown insurance specifically, Green Flag cover EVs as standard alongside other vehicles. So, if you decide on an EV and would like breakdown cover, you can find out more here.

Do you need to pay vehicle tax on EVs?

Currently, you won’t have to pay any vehicle tax on your EV. But, if you’re planning for the future, that’s changing.

From April 2025, EVs (alongside alternative fuel vehicles like HVs) will need to pay vehicle tax.

For a full break down of vehicle tax, you can see our latest blog here.

So, is it worth it?

Are EVs a cost effective choice?

Well, maybe. If you install a home charging unit and choose a vehicle with great battery efficiency, it can be good value in the long run. A bigger upfront cost is likely, but fuel costs for non-EVs would quickly balance it out. Plus, you won’t pay any low emission zone charges (which could easily add up over time).

Ultimately, it depends on how long you aim to have the vehicle for and what your charging accessibility is. Most other costs will be comparable to the petrols or diesels we’re used to.

To make sure you decide on the right vehicle, check out our blog on what to consider before buying.

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