Electric cars are already cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel cars in the UK, US and Japan, new research shows.
The lower cost is a key factor driving the rapid rise in electric car sales now underway, say the researchers. At the moment the cost is partly because of government support, but electric cars are expected to become the cheapest option without subsidies in a few years.
The researchers analysed the total cost of ownership of cars over four years, including the purchase price and depreciation, fuel, insurance, taxation and maintenance. They were surprised to find that pure electric cars came out cheapest in all the markets they examined: UK, Japan, Texas and California.
Pure electric cars have much lower fuel costs – electricity is cheaper than petrol or diesel – and maintenance costs, as the engines are simpler and help brake the car, saving on brake pads. In the UK, the annual cost was about 10% lower than for petrol or diesel cars in 2015, the latest year analysed.
Hybrid cars which cannot be plugged in and attract lower subsidies, were usually a little more expensive than petrol or diesel cars. Plug-in hybrids were found to be significantly more expensive – buyers are effectively paying for two engines in one car, the researchers said. The exception in this case was Japan, where plug-in hybrids receive higher subsidies.
“We were surprised and encouraged because, as we scale up production, [pure] electric vehicles are going to be becoming cheaper and we expect battery costs are going to fall,” said James Tate, who conducted the research published in the journal Applied Energy with Kate Palmer and colleagues at the University of Leeds, UK. “It is a really good news story.”
Pure electric cars receive a sales subsidy of about £5,000 in the UK and Japan and £6,500 in the US. “The subsidies are reasonably expensive at the moment but they are expected to tail off,” said Tate. He estimates that an electric car such as the Nissan Leaf will become as cheap to own and run as a petrol car without subsidy by 2025. Renault expects this to happen in the early 2020s.
The push to roll out electric cars, which produce less climate-warming carbon emissions, has been supercharged by concerns over air pollution, particularly from diesel cars. In the UK, where toxic air is at illegal levels in most urban areas, sales of diesel vehicles have plummeted by 30% in the last year while sales of electric cars have soared by 37%.
At current rates, sales of electric cars could outstrip diesel cars as early as May 2019, according to analysis by Matt Finch, at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit in the UK: “This date is incredible, as clearly it is only 18 months away.” Tate said: “The challenge is whether the manufacturers have the capacity to generate these vehicles. Demand significantly outstrips supply.”
Viktor Irle of analysts EV-Volumes.com said there are now good electric car options at the low cost end, like the Nissan Leaf, and high cost end, like the Tesla Model S, but not in the middle range, where family cars usually sit. “There are no good options there at the moment,” he said. “I guess the traditional car manufacturers are a bit afraid it will cannibalise sales of their conventional cars, which are bestsellers.”
Air pollution concerns are especially acute in China, which is now the biggest market for electric cars and growing rapidly, mainly driven by domestic manufacturers including BYD, Geely and Beijing Auto. “China is stealing the march on everybody and they will be the leaders of that market,” said Tate. “The European and US motor industry have been caught napping.”
However, Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the UK electric car market remained small at present: “There are 32m cars in the UK – only around 120,000 are ultra-clean [electric]. The petrol and diesel juggernaut will take some halting.”
He also warned that governments could in future start taxing electric vehicles to recoup the large sums lost from falling fuel duty. “And cost [of ownership] isn’t everything,” he said. “Practicality and usability are key. We need a public charging network that is extensive, reliable and offers recharging at the speeds car owners require.”
The government announced £200m in funding for charging infrastructure on 22 November, to be matched by industry. Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “The UK now has over 11,500 publicly accessible charge points, including over 900 rapid charge points. This is one of the largest rapid networks in Europe.”
Tate said one aspect which also needs addressing is social equity, as wealthier people who can afford the upfront cost of an electric vehicle and who have off-road parking for home charging have easier access to cheaper motoring.
UK’s top selling pure electric cars
Nissan Leaf – 22,250 sold
The four-door Leaf starts at £21,500 – after the government’s £4,500 subsidy – and has a real-world range of about 100 miles
BMW i3 – 8,800 sold
The zippier i3 starts at £28,840, with a range of 125 miles, or over 200 miles with an additional range extender
Tesla Model S – 6,283 sold
This starts at £65,000, and does 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds, with a real-world range of about 250 miles
Renault Zoe – 6,227 sold
The Zoe starts at £14,250, but there’s compulsory battery hire of £49 a month on top. The range is about 70 miles in cold weather, 100 in warm
Nissan e-NV200 – 2,742 sold
This van starts at just over £20,000, including subsidy and VAT, and the range is about 70 miles
Data source: Cumulative sales to October 2017, EV-volumes.com
The look of the 3-type compatible rapid charging. D.C. charging at 50kW AC at 45kW (max speed)
Cable isn’t too long, you gotta get in real close but for the i3 it just enough. I can see however how others may struggle in the future – I was not able to reverse into the bay and plug it in on the opposite side – too short.
As advised. Downloaded the SmoovApp from the iOS App Store. The rest was pretty easy. Select current location and charging socket (do that first – before plugging in)
select payment type and authorise “£20”?? That’s what my Amex. Will folllow that up actually. Why £20? Would I get the unused balance back? That’s todo.
First stats via the SmoovApp. Convenient. I could be away in the shop(s) and keep an eye on the charge levels. It also enables you set your departure time – courteous so – so other EV drivers in the are are aware that this point is in use, with ETA when it’s to be free. True so. As soon as we disconnected, and nearly left the Shell courtyard – another white leaf pulled into the station and gone straight for that single EV bay. Coincidence? I hope it’s those good courteous manners 😉
And at the end, you get this handy stats screen which you can choose to email to yourself. Nice.
its the same 25p per kWh – roughly double of what you’d pay at home. I regard this pretty darn reasonable. No connection charge or otherwise.
There was no membership to sign up for either. It was pretty simple pay and go, and it was my first time doing so, at this Borehamwood – Barnet location in north london, as map showes above.
It appears, due to cold (+6c outside) that my i3 only charges at 30kw – expected faster charging time to be honest. But since payment is by the kWh and not the time spend, I don’t have anyone to blame for cost-incurring consequence, for less-that-ideal charging speed (but maybe we need to have a chat Err BMW…)
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OTLEY’S MP is calling for more charge points to be provided for electric cars.
Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) made the appeal in the House of Commons this week [IE WEEK ENDING NOV 3] during a debate on the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill.
He said: “In order to stimulate the electric car market and ensure that we can move to a fully electric market, we will need a minimum density of electric charge points in residential and commercial areas.”
Mr Sobel says he will be pursuing the issue when the bill comes to the Committee stage – and is also taking local action to tackle the large of charging points in the Otley and Yeadon areas.
He said: “In my constituency there is, as far as I am aware, only one charging point available for electric vehicles, which is slow and has limited access.
“Yet there are at least 21 charge points in the city centre.
“I have written to Otley’s Business Improvement District (BID) and Leeds City Council about improving our infrastructure by installing electric vehicle (EV) charging points in council car parks.
“A good network of EV charge points is vital as we seek to improve the quality of air in our local area, especially on the A660, and in Otley and the Wharfe Valley where pollution lingers.
“The future is electric and we must prepare for it.”
A survey of AA (a UK motorists’ club that specialises in breakdown cover) members suggests that a large number of them are planning to switch from diesel and petrol engines when they purchase their next car.
Diesel engines, in particular, appear to face further share decline in the UK car market. Currently 41% of AA members own diesel cars but when asked if their next car will be diesel this drops 60% to just 16%.
Overall, a third of AA members aim to switch from diesel and petrol for their next car purchase, according to a major AA-Populus survey of 19,308 drivers.
Responding to this massive potential shift in propulsion, the AA says it has formed a partnership with Chargemaster, the UK’s largest provider of EV charging infrastructure, to help AA members who already own, or who are considering an electric vehicle.
The AA says its patrols have already undergone intensive training in how to deal with any breakdowns involving electric or hybrid vehicles using a specialised rig at the patrols’ training centre. The AA will use the POLAR network, the UK’s largest public EV charging network, which is operated by Chargemaster and provides access to over 5,000 charging points nationwide, to provide an emergency backup charging solution for its patrols in the unlikely event that an EV driver runs out of charge.
AA patrols will carry POLAR RFID fobs and if an AA member is stranded with an empty battery, they will be recovered to the nearest POLAR network charging point and provided with a complimentary charge to get them back on the road as soon as possible.
The AA says that there are more than 14,000 public charging points throughout the UK, with around 300 being added every month and adds that EVs are now capable of meeting many people’s weekly, let alone daily mileage on a single charge, especially as the average UK journey length is less than 10 miles.
Edmund King OBE, AA president, said: “We have always been at the forefront of motoring innovation and as our member surveys show, the number of plug-in vehicles on the roads is going to increase quickly.
“So we want to ensure that all of our members are supported on the road, no matter what vehicle they drive. Our partnership with Chargemaster will offer AA members fantastic benefits in the future and now gives them peace of mind in the event of an emergency.”
David Martell, Chief Executive of Chargemaster, said: “In many ways we have passed the tipping point for electric vehicle adoption in the UK, and the pace of change over the coming years will be quite dramatic.
“We recognise that charging infrastructure, whether at home, at work, or in public, is critical to increasing the uptake of EVs and supporting drivers to make the switch. Although many people are concerned about the number of charging points, the reality is that including dedicated units fitted at home, there are as many charging points in the UK as there are electric cars.”
A new ultra-fast electric car charging network is set to be introduced which will drastically slash recharging times for EV cars.
The move is part of the joint venture IONITY that will help drivers across Europe have better and more efficient access to EV charging. BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche announced the joint venture today. The car giants have been developing the new technology to rollout to hundreds of charging stations in Europe.
Approximately 400 HPC stations will be introduced by 2020.
IONITY is based in Munich, Germany and led byChief Executive Officer Michael Hajesch and Chief Operating Officer Marcus Groll, with a growing team, set to number 50 by the start of 2018.
“The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles.
“IONITY will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel,” said Hajesch.
Each station will have a capacity of 350kW per charging point – which currently have 150kW of power, although higher powered models have been rumoured. Superchargers will recharge 80 per cent of the car battery in 30 minutes, suggesting that the new IONITY charger could slash that time to closer to the 15 minutes mark.
This would greatly improve the experience of recharging for customers as EV battery technology catches up.
The network will use the European charging standard Combined Charging System to significantly reduce charging times compared to existing systems.
A total of 20 charging stations will opened to the public over the next few months in major roads in Germany, Norway and Austria, at intervals of 120km.
Over the course of 2018, the network will grow to over 100 stations.
These will be implemented through partnerships with “Tank & Rast”, “Circle K” and “OMV”.
A group of mainly German car makers said on Friday it had formed a joint venture to build out a pan-European network of 400 fast charging stations for electric vehicles by the year 2020.
The venture, called IONITY, is backed by BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen with its Audi and Porsche brands, the companies said in a statement.
Anxiety over whether battery-powered cars have the range to reach their destination is inhibiting some drivers from switching from traditional petrol- or diesel-powered models.
But with US all-electric challenger Tesla stealing a lead, established brands are teaming up to ensure that electric vehicles (EVs) can get quickly back on the road after hooking up to a High-Power Charging (HPC) station.
“The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles,” IONITY’s chief executive Michael Hajesch said. He added that the fast-charging stations would also offer digital-payment capability.
IONITY, to be headquartered in Munich, will open its first 20 charging stations to the public this year in Germany, Norway and Austria. These would be 120 km (75 miles) apart, and run in partnership with Tank & Rast, Circle K and OMV.
The network will be expanded to 100 stations in 2018, each one enabling several drivers of different car brands to charge their vehicles at the same time.
Each charging point will have a capacity of 350 kW, and will use the existing European standard, the Combined Charging System, to reduce charging times compared to existing systems. The system is not tied to brands, which should make EVs more appealing to drivers, IONITY said.
For those just checking in, though, the quick summary is that EV Volumes is a top source of EV data globally — EV sales data, EV specs, and now EV charging stations. Prepping for the next portion of our Cleantech Revolution Tour conference series, I’ve been publishing interviews with presenters and panelists coming in from Norway, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Ukraine, Slovakia, Namysłów, and elsewhere. This time, it’s Sweden’s turn. Yes, the whole country of Sweden! Wait, no, it’s just Viktor’s unique opinions. But I do recommend you check them out! (Just go book a spot at our “West Meets East” EV charging conference in Warsaw first.)
1. EV Volumes tracks EV sales data around the world more closely than any outfit I know. Clearly, you are anticipating leaps in sales as the Tesla Model 3, next-gen Nissan LEAF, etc. hit the market. When do you expect we’ll have 10 markets with at least 10% of new cars being electric (fully or PHEV) in a single month?
When these cars are coming, the market will explode. However, the market is already going well, with strong increases in most markets. Obviously, there are also a lot of potential buyers who are waiting for these vehicles instead of purchasing something currently available. So, the future could be said to hurt the present somewhat.
The Norwegian market is currently well above 10% in new vehicle sales, Hong Kong has been sometimes been but not constantly. Iceland, Sweden, Ukraine, and Belgium are currently above 2%, with Iceland coming close to 8% and Sweden touching 4%.
However, already by 2020, 10 markets will be above 10% in sales, during that complete year.
2. EV charging infrastructure is a bottleneck in many markets. Aside from major markets (Norway, Netherlands, USA, China…), do you see strong growth in EV charging infrastructure? Across the board or just in certain countries here or there?
Not as strong as EV growth. However, there is no lack of infrastructure. Only sometimes. 90%+ of charging is done at home.
We know that some markets have lack of infrastructure, including China. And there will be issues once the mass market vehicles hits the roads.
3. Fast charging station per 1000 electric cars is a stat you’re now reporting by country in Europe. It’s a very interesting stat and is super thought-provoking to see Norway’s share low. As the subheading for that section says, “Charging queues in Norway more common” — no surprise looking at the data! What do you estimate is a good figure for that metric? Or a good range? 20–40 stations per 1000 BEVs? 30–50 stations? 40–60? 100?
This question is somewhat country dependant, there are external factors such as travel distances, number of apartment dwellers, outdoor parking, garage parking, etc. that do influence what’s a good rate of chargers per car.
However, 60+ chargers / 1000 BEVs is a sign of a healthy market without many lines to access the chargers. The more, the merrier, right? Norway probably needs to invest a little more in charging infrastructure. But so far, they are doing well, and demand will increase the supply.
Last time I went to Norway, I had range anxiety in a petrol car! Luckily, I made it down from a mountain, with no gas left.
4. How useful do you think 50 kW stations are in an era when we’re moving to (or talking about moving to) 100–400 kW?
50 kW chargers are still good, like 7kW chargers are also good today — even if there will be superfast infrastructure with 100kW+ in the future. If you stop along a highway, you probably want it to go very fast. If you stop somewhere to have a bite, you won’t care if it takes 10 minutes or 40 minutes.
And about the CCS standard, most stations are probably going to be upgraded, as the standard supports higher power.
5. Are there any markets where you’re particularly excited about the EV infrastructure rollout?
Yes, Ukraine. The number of CHAdeMO stations in Ukraine suddenly exploded. As well as the market for EVs.
Ukraine has very low priced electricity (nuclear, for good or bad), and does not emit very much CO2. Ukraine is among the top in share of nuclear on the grid, after France, and it is shutting coal plants down at the moment — due to instability or “wars” in far east Ukraine.
2016: “The government’s current air quality plan with respect to London is based on the very limited ambition of the previous mayor to tackle air pollution and isn’t enough to protect Londoners health,” said Khan. “I know from personal experience that the city’s air is damaging people’s health as I suffer from adult-onset asthma myself.”
Khan’s first major policy announcement after winning the mayoral election for Labour were new plans to tackle the capital’s air pollution. These include more than doubling the size of the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone.