What You Need to Know About Owning an Electric Vehicle

Everything you need to consider

The future of electric cars has become a hot topic with everybody talking about how we can use this technology to move away from fossil fuels, create a more environmentally friendly way of motoring and preserve our plant.

When you take this into account with the UK governments pledge to ban all sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, now has never been a better time to consider owning an EV.

However less is talked about the cost savings associated with EV ownership which can be desirable, even with the significant rise in energy costs we have seen in the past 6 months.

Compared to a traditional petrol or diesel engine car, an EV has benefits including fuel costs, servicing costs, zero rated car tax to name a few.

In this section we highlight some of the key benefits and what to look out for when considering the changeover to electric.

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

One question our team get asked a lot here at Cambridge Electric Vehicles is “how much does it cost to run an electric car”

This however can be more complicated to work out than you think.

Whilst the purchase price of an EV is typically higher than an equivalent petrol or diesel model, electric vehicles have long been cheaper overall to own and run with a lower cost of ownership.

Recharging an EV has typically cost much less than refuelling a standard car with petrol or diesel - or at least it was until recently.

As we face an ongoing energy crisis, caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and threats to cut off gas supplies, home electricity prices have been sent sky-high.

Even though we face energy prices not seen in a very long time, recharging is on average still significantly cheaper than refuelling.

At the same time, drivers have been hit by increasing fuel prices over the past 12 months with figures from the RAC now showing the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts in 2022 was 166.6p and 175.5p for diesel.

That took the cost of filling a typical 55-litre family car with petrol above £90 for the first time last year.

Charging an EV costs less but can be a little harder to work out than it does with more traditional refuelling methods.

Instead of pence per litre, with an EV you need to think of pence per kilowatt hour (kWh) when working out electricity costs to charge an EV.

A kWh is a standard measurement of energy that your energy supplier will use to bill you and refers to a person using 1,000 watts of electricity for 1 hour.

For home charging your electricity bill will show this cost – on average it will be around 34 pence depending on your energy tariff and supplier. If petrol is 1.67p per litre, electricity will be around 34 pence per kWh.

Driving a standard family estate with a 55 litre tank and buying petrol at £1.67 per litre, the cost to fill it up is £91.85.

With an EV you need to know how large the battery is to work out how many kWh of energy it can store. For example, a year old MG ZS has a 50kWh battery which means it can store 50 kWhs of energy. The cost to charge the MG ZS from full to empty at 34p per kWh would be £0.34 x 50 = £17

Once you know the size of battery and cost to charge to full, you can then work out the pence per mile cost for both petrol and compare the two. Using the MG ZS compared to an average family petrol car with an average MPG of 40 miles we can accurately do this.

With a real life range of 200 miles for the MG (using 4 miles per kW) we can calculate the cost to travel 200 miles would be £17

If a family estate averaged 40mpg at £1.69 per litre, this works out at 22.5 litres to travel 200 miles which would cost an owner £38 to travel 200 miles.

So, travelling 200 miles in the MG ZS would cost around £17 and travelling in an equivalent petrol car would cost around £38 – roughly 50% of the cost of petrol!

Servicing Your EV and Regular Maintenance

To look at most electric cars with their futuristic dashboards and large battery packs you would think that they would be considerably more expensive to service and maintain than their petrol or diesel equivalents.

However, with fewer mechanical components, EV’s in theory spend less time in the garage and more time on the road! Meaning cheaper servicing costs and more money in your wallet.

Petrol and diesel engines have thousands of moving parts, whereas electric motors are a lot less complicated, with most EV’s made up of no more than 20 components. For example, there is no oil to change or filters to renew, or cambelt and water pump to change.

EVs don’t have other recognisable car parts like a gear box, clutch, exhaust, catalytic converter, starter motor and many more common parts needed in a car using a combustion engine.

However, like any car on the road, an EV will require routine servicing and checks as there is more to an EV than just a battery. We are often asked “How do you service an EV and how often do they need servicing?”

We Are An EVA Approved Workshop

As an EVA approved workshop, we have the correct EVA trained technicians and EV tooling to make sure your electric vehicle runs the way it should.

Using the latest EV diagnostic equipment, our technicians will do a full check of the vehicle which picks up any internal faults that need attention. Individual cells of the vehicle’s battery will be checked for performance, which will show any damaged cells.

A thorough inspection of the high-voltage cabling is important to check for damage and loose connections. Although they are protected from road debris, we make sure being out on the road hasn’t caused the protective outer layers of a cable to perish or its connectors to break.

Electric Vehicles still need steering, suspension and brakes that will need to be looked after from time to time. However, the brake pads and discs on an EV receive much less wear and tear and are likely to need fewer disc and pad changes as much of an EV’s braking is achieved through regenerative braking as discussed in our Driving an EV section.

Much like any vehicle, all suspension, steering components, and tyres will be checked. Finally, the heating and ventilation system will be assessed and in most cases the cabin air filter changed. The air-conditioning system’s refrigerant levels will also be checked and re-charged as necessary.

Electric Car MOT’s

Unfortunately, owning an EV does not mean that you can avoid the annual MOT once the vehicle reaches 3 years old. Like all cars, EVs must pass the annual inspection and currently, MOTs for electric cars cost the same as non-electric cars.

However, as an electric vehicle has no emissions, the test is slightly different in that there is no emissions element to the MOT. The fact that there is one less thing that the car could potentially fail on means you could save money in the long-run on repairs and re-tests.

Here at Cambridge EV, we have full MOT testing bays with fully qualified technicians trained in electric vehicle service, maintenance, and MOT’s. We also have tyre fitting and wheel balancing, four-wheel alignment, diagnostic and air-con equipment at our site in Trumpington.

Please visit our EV aftersales section to find out more or give us a call to speak to one of our EV experts.

Electric Vehicles Are Exempt From Paying Vehicle Road Tax

Road tax is calculated based on the CO2 tailpipe emissions of your vehicle, its list price and what year it was registered. As all motorists know, to drive a car on UK roads you must pay road tax, officially known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

However, there are different rules for owners of EV’s. Along with exemption from the London Congestion Charge* and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London, pure electric vehicles are free from paying road tax until 2025 which is another great reason to move across to an EV.

  • Pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are exempt from VED.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) pay reduced VED.

Any vehicle (excluding BEVs) with a list price of £40,000 or above will incur an additional premium rate for 5 years (starting from the second time the vehicle is taxed).

* The current congestion charge in London is £15 per day per vehicle, between 07:00 and 22:00, every day.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Zero emission EVs (BEVs) are zero-rated standard tax for both the first year and all subsequent years. That means you don’t pay any road tax on a pure electric vehicle.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

PHEVs are now likely to cost between £0 and £105 for the first year depending on CO2 emissions – and then £145 each year thereafter.

Premium Rate

A premium rate applies to vehicles worth £40,000 or more and will need to be paid in addition to any applicable VED charges for the first 5 years the vehicle is on the road (from the second time the vehicle is taxed). You do not have to pay this rate if you have a zero-emission vehicle (BEV).

Therefore, owning an electric vehicle or plug in hybrid will give you even more savings!

Tax on Benefits in Kind for Electric Cars

There's currently 2% tax on Benefit in Kind (BIK) during 2022 / 2023 for hybrid vehicles with emissions from 1 - 50g/km and a pure electric range of over 130 miles. This is frozen at 2% until at least 2025.


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