According to data from automotive leasing provider LeasePlan, this year’s rising fuel prices mean that the costs of owning and operating electric cars are lower than those of petrol or diesel in almost every country in Europe.
Battery-powered vehicles are still more expensive than conventional engine models, although running costs are lower due to less maintenance and cheaper refuelling.
The industry sees the point at which electric cars become as cheap to own, operate and service as petrol-powered models – the “total cost of ownership” – as a key moment that could trigger a widespread shift to battery-powered vehicles.
With 1.9 million vehicles used by corporate fleets, LeasePlan compared the operating costs and leasing prices of its vehicles, comparing them by segment and in 22 countries.
“Electric vehicles are at the same price or lower TCO in almost all segments and European countries [total cost of ownership] like gasoline or diesel cars,” the report said.
It found that the cost of a standard family car such as the Ford Kuga or the electric Škoda Enyaq was the same or lower in 19 of 22 European countries, including the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Only in Poland, Italy and the Czech Republic was the electric model more expensive.
For smaller cars such as the Renault Megane or the Kia Nero, UK purchase and running costs were €919 per month for electric, €941 for diesel and €954 for petrol.
The same cars cost just €735 a month for electricity in France, compared to €904 for diesel and €868 for petrol.
While the costs of refueling petrol and diesel remained similar in most areas, the cost of recharging electric cars varied greatly. Typically, charging at home for several hours at night was a cheaper alternative to using public fast chargers, which attract a premium for their faster speeds.
For charging calculations for electric vehicles, LeasePlan took the current charging habits of the average electric consumer as a basis: 65 percent of charging takes place at home, 20 percent at work, and 15 percent at more expensive public charging points.
LeasePlan found that charging costs accounted for 15 percent of the cost of owning and operating electric cars, while refueling with diesel fuel accounted for 28 percent of the total cost of ownership.
“Despite energy price inflation, fuel costs remain significantly lower for electric cars than for petrol and diesel cars,” the report found.
The data comes from a four-year lease, assuming annual mileage of 30,000 km, with prices for almost 3,000 cars in 132 models.
The report added that the total cost of operating a vehicle still varies significantly across the region. Greece is the cheapest country with an average of 905 euros per month, followed by Switzerland with an average of 1,313 euros.