Should I buy an electric car?

Should I buy an electric car?

There’s no doubt that electric cars are becoming more popular as their range and charging options get more attractive. But should I buy an electric car and what are the pros and cons?

  • Low running costs: Charging is cheaper than using fossil fuels, and electric cars can be cheaper to service because there are fewer moving parts.
  • Better for the planet: Moving to electric from petrol and diesel is a key way to reduce emissions that are harmful to the environment.
  • Tax savings: There is no VED tax on an electric car until 2025.
  • They cost more to buy: You can expect to pay more for an electric car than cars that run on petrol or diesel. And with government grants scrapped, it might make it harder to afford. 
  • Journey planning: Until electric cars reach the range of petrol cars, you need to plan your journeys so you can be sure you're near a charging point when you need to refuel.
  • Charging points: This can be an issue, depending on where you live. If you live halfway up a tower block, it'd be harder to sort out a charging point than if you have a drive or a garage.

If you regularly go on journeys of several hundred miles, you might want to wait a little longer, or opt for the halfway house of a hybrid car. But if you make short trips into town and back, or a 15-mile commute twice a day, an electric car could be a perfect option for you.

Electric car costs

An electric car isn't cheap. Here's what you need to know on the average cost of an electric car and how much it costs to charge them.


How much do electric cars cost?

A key question you need to know is whether you can afford an electric car.

The Smart EQ Fortwo costs around £20-25K. At the other end of the spectrum, the Porsche Taycan Turbo S would set you back nearly £142,400.

According to NimbleFins, the average electric car price in the UK now is between £40,000 and £45,000. If you take luxury cars out of the equation, the average price is somewhere between £25,000 and £30,000.

Once you have an electric car, there are tax savings. Technically, you still have to register for VED tax.

But electric cars will no longer be exempt from tax after 2025. This comes after the 2022 autumn statement from chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt.


How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

With a fossil-fuel car, the size of a tank in litres multiplied by the cost per litre of fuel gives you the cost of filling up.

With an electric car, it’s the size of the battery (in kWh) multiplied by the cost of charging per kWh that gives you the cost of fully charging your vehicle.

According to our EV zap map, this is what it costs to charge different vehicles assuming the price per kWH is 34p. We've also found what it would cost to charge these models at fast and rapid charge points. These charge more per kWH:

Vehicle Useable battery (kW)++ kWh cost Cost to Charge*  Fast charge cost** Rapid charge cost*** 
Kia Niro
£36.94 £44.71
Tesla 3
£19.55 £22.80 £27.60
£33.06 £40.02
Renault Zoe
£29.64 £35.88

Electric car range: How far can they go?

Early electric cars would struggle to do 30-40 miles on a single charge. Now there are models that do several times that distance.

High-end cars are capable of some of the furthest ranges, but more everyday cars can now go much further, too.

According to a recent What Car survey, though, the distance they can actually go is often less than the manufacturers officially claim:

Vehicle Distance advertised (M) Distance in test (M)
Tesla Model 3 Long Range
Kia e-Nero 64kWh 3
Renault Zoe R135 GT Line
Mazda MX-30 SE-L Lux

Should I buy a new or used electric car?

There's no denying electric cars are expensive. So thinking about buying a used electric car is a sensible choice in helping you save more money on the initial payment.

Buying a second-hand electric car is very similar to buying a second-hand petrol or diesel car. But there are a few things you need to consider. For example, the earlier EV's tend to have a shorter driving range and typically take a longer time to charge.

You should also look out for the general condition of the battery. And check before buying a second-hand EV whether the battery is leased. The last thing you'd want is to walk away with an unexpected ongoing monthly payment for the battery.