Most people will say they want to be good to the environment, but in reality the costs of choosing the green option can be prohibitive. Making the decision to switch to an electric car is not simple, and can bring with it unexpected costs. The first thing to do when considering buying an electric car is think about the practicality of charging it at home. You can plug it in to a normal socket, but this means you will need to be able to park your car close to one or have very long wires trailing out of your house.
Charging Your Electric Car
You can install your own charge point, and this is what most manufacturers recommend, but you might also want to consider having a spur installed dedicated just to the car charge point so you don’t overload your main circuit. A home installation can cost upwards of £1000. This might sound like a lot, but each car charge should only cost around £3, depending on your energy tariff. This means that 10,000 miles a year will cost you around £300, but again this will depend on your tariff and also on the particular electric vehicle. However you can already see that this is considerably less than petrol and diesel.
It is also possible to have solar panels installed in your home to generate your own electricity. This can cost about £9000 but some people can claim grants from the government, so investigate whether you’re eligible. You can also sell excess electricity back to the energy board, so as a long term option it can work out in your favour.
Another cost which you might not necessarily consider is the battery. Some manufacturers do charge you to rent the battery, and this can mean a monthly charge of anything from £45 to £100. Then there are the replacement costs. Generally, the batteries will last around 4 years, and the replacement costs can run into the thousands of pounds. In 2011 it was revealed that replacing the battery in the fairly popular Nissan Leaf could cost up to £19000 – for that money you could just buy a whole new car.
The cost of the battery is a large reason why electric cars initially cost more than petrol or diesels models too. The cheapest electric cars are around the £22000 mark, with the Vauxhall Ampera (which has a sensible petrol reserve tank for longer journeys) costing around £10000 more than that. You do get a £5000 government grant towards your purchase, which brings the cost down somewhat, but even with this you will generally pay around £5000 more than you would for a petrol or diesel car.
This is a guest post by Kat from car finance specialists Car Loan 4 U. She blogs about motoring, green issues and money saving.