Motorists issued ‘word of caution’ before EV switch

According to new data, 54 percent of motorists think petrol and diesel vehicles are now the cheapest to run. As the cost of electricity continues to rise, just 18 percent of drivers thought a fully electric vehicle would be cheaper.

This is in stark contrast to 2022, when a survey found 57 percent said cheaper running costs were an incentive to switch to an EV.

Only one in 10 motorists believe that a plug-in hybrid vehicle would be the cheapest to run.

Despite the findings, experts are trying to show drivers that electric vehicles are still significantly cheaper to run when charged economically.

The data, from NFU Mutual, found that the cost of living crisis had a huge impact on drivers wanting to commit to an electric car.

The energy crisis has hit public perception of the cost benefits of electric vehicles, with most now thinking petrol and diesel cars are cheaper to run.

The survey results come as high electricity wholesale prices have pushed up the cost of household electricity bills and public electric vehicle charging.

Jade Devlin, motor insurance expert at NFU Mutual, said EVs still have cheaper running costs than petrol and diesel cars.

She said it relied on drivers to be willing and able to charge them economically and primarily at home.

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Ms Devlin added: “We don’t need to look far to explain this shift in public perception. With the energy crisis hitting households this year, motorists are questioning whether EVs still live up to one of their main selling points.

“The answer is yes, they are still more economical to run and can provide significant savings – but with a word of caution to be canny about how you charge.”

Those who need to rely solely on the full-price rapid public charging will likely see no cost benefit in running an EV.

But, those who are able to charge and use their vehicle efficiently will still see significantly lower running costs when compared to petrol or diesel cars.

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This can be done by making the most of workplace charging schemes, identifying free charging points available for customers at some supermarkets and car parks, and maximising driving efficiency.

Some energy suppliers also provide special home tariffs for EV users which could provide significant charging savings at home.

The latest data from RAC Charge Watch shows that electric cars being charged regularly using a 7kW home charger costs just 10p per mile.

When using exclusively “rapid” and “ultra-rapid” chargers, these costs do naturally rise to 20p and 21p per mile respectively.

With fuel prices slowly falling, it now costs around 17p per mile to run a petrol car and 20p for diesel.

Jade Devlin added: “When looking at running costs you should also think wider than charging. 

“Road tax is considerably cheaper for EVs given the lower carbon emissions and if you regularly drive through Clean Air Zones you’ll usually reap the benefits of exemption from charges if your vehicle is zero-emission. 

“Electric cars require less maintenance than those with a combustion engine, and tech on newer vehicles can also help to identify faults before they become a major problem, which could reduce costly repairs in the long run.”  

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