Electric cars, eco-friendly vehicles and alternative fuel transport all have their fair share of critics. Above-average pricing for a small electric car is almost double that the price of a small petrol or diesel car, and instantly loses a lot of interest because of this. However, the cost of keeping an electric car running is far, far lower, and with government incentives and low maintenance costs, within only a few years owners will already be experiencing a huge saving. So like it or not companies are looking into making their future electric, Ford included. Having just invested more than $100million into electric research, the first electric Ford has already made it on to the market in the form of the Focus Electric. So how much money could it save you?
Rising oil prices and investment by governmental and private companies in electric car technology has helped cement the electric car in the mainstream automotive industry, and with technology to run the cars already created, attention is now largely focused on reducing costs for the consumer.
The price of a lithium ion battery pack, used in place of an engine, currently costs around £350 per kilowatt, but prices are due to drop to £130 by 2020 and £100 by 2025. With rising petrol costs meaning consumers are paying over £2.20 per gallon of fuel, electric car batteries will cost almost the same at the initial purchase stage. This figure is without accommodating for far cheaper recharging costs than refuelling.
Electric batteries are the main parts driving up the cost of an electric car, with the 23kw/h batteries used in Ford electric vehicles costing from £7,500 to £10,000. The saving grace for electric car owners is the future charging costs. To fully charge an electric car, connected to mains power from a garage or driveway, is just £3. In comparison, a small petrol car of similar standard will cost almost four times that. Taking eight hours, this process can be done overnight and means a visit to a charging station is largely unneeded (unless a trip longer than around 100 miles is required).
Based on a typical driver travelling 11,000 miles, this cost amounts to a saving of almost £1,000. To off-set the price difference between electric and petrol cars, owners would need to keep their car for over five years however, but as a driving force for the future the costs of keeping an electric car are planned to drop – including initial costs to drive one off the forecourt.
Electric cars will also benefit from far higher efficiency figures. Whilst a typical Ford Focus clocks 33mpg, the electric version records the equivalent of 105mpg. These greener models also produce zero CO2 emissions.
With rising petrol costs of up to 20% per year in the past three years, the cost of new cars has also increased 7%, and with electric car prices on the decline, it may not be longer until the difference is bridged entirely. This is without mentioning the Plug-In Car Grant, which gives new electric car owners up to £5,000 off the cost of an electric car, as an incentive to get more on the road. Further rewards including free parking, no road tax, and exemption from the congestion charge (beginning at £8 per day and equating to a cost of over £2,000 per year).
Sales are rising, but for electric cars to take off, more consumers are needed. The car industry is responding to current demands of high costs by reducing wherever possible, and it won’t be long until electric cars will become cheaper not only to maintain, but to purchase too.