When Will Electric Cars Be Affordable in the UK?

Many drivers are being drawn to the benefits of electric vehicles. With lower running costs, a much smaller carbon footprint and the impending ICE vehicle ban, electric cars really are the future. However, one factor that is stalling many drivers from making the switch is the cost. In this blog, we are taking a look at the criteria affecting EV cost and asking, ‘when will electric cars be affordable in the UK?’

Production cost

The good news is that there is not long to wait until the production cost of new EVs falls to the same as ICEVs. Electric cars should cost the same to make as petrol and diesel equivalents by 2024 and could cost even less to make soon after.

Electric cars are currently more expensive to produce because they use more advanced technology, although continuing developments in battery technology mean that that price is falling. Unfortunately, electric vehicles also use more electronic components, such as almost 10,000 MLCCs, of which there is currently an industry-wide shortage. This will, at least temporarily, keep production costs a little higher than they should be.

Running cost

In terms of running costs, electric cars are already a more affordable option in theory. It is cheaper to charge an electric car at a rapid charge point than it is to fill up a petrol or diesel car at a fuel station to achieve the same range.

According to EDF, it would cost around £9 to fill a petrol car with 100 miles worth of fuel (assuming a price of (£1.09 per litre), whereas Pod Point rapid chargers in the UK cost around 23-24p/kWh, resulting in about 100 miles of range for £6-£7.

Further reducing the running cost of EVs is the fact that drivers would be expected to do the bulk of their charging at home, which is even cheaper than using a rapid charge point (dependent on your energy supplier). The average UK electricity price of 14p per kWh means a 100-mile home charge would only cost around £4.

Charging point availability

The other side of the ‘cheaper running costs’ argument is that the UK currently does not have the infrastructure to support a country full of EV users and there simply are not enough charging points.

Electric car owners will be encouraged to take a top-up charging approach, rather than letting the battery drain and then charging it to full, but this will require a combination of home charging and fast, reliable public charge points. If EV users have to travel further to find a public charge point or charging is too slow, then this will eventually increase the running cost.

The second-hand car market

The question of when electric cars will be affordable in the UK can only really be answered in the context of new cars at the moment. While electric cars have been around for a while now, and there are some second-hand EVs available, the number only makes up a tiny percentage of the used car market.

Most car sales in a year are of used vehicles, meaning the average driver will have longer to wait for electric cars to be ‘affordable’ for them, or at least in line with what they would usually pay for a vehicle.

The ICE ban

All over the world, there are impending bans on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. In the UK, the ICE ban comes into effect in 2030, a date that has already been brought forward to meet national climate goals.

With this new legislation not far away at all, manufacturers are under more pressure to make their electric vehicles affordable for drivers, otherwise they may see a significant portion of their market turning to second-hand sales, either of older EVs or ICEVs.

As you can see, there are a number of significant factors affecting when electric cars will be affordable in the UK. However, even though the purchase cost of an EV is still slightly higher, the significant saving in running costs mean that electric cars could already be the more affordable option.

If you are thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle, do make sure to check out our range of electric vehicle cables, sockets and accessories.

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