With concerns about global warming and the need to cut down carbon emissions, there has been an increasing popularity of electric car adoption against conventional petrol or diesel vehicles. This article examines the merits and demerits of owning diesel vs electric cars.
- What is an EV
- Types of Electric Cars You Can Buy
- What are Diesel-Powered Vehicles?
- Differences between Diesel vs Electric Cars?
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Cars vs. Petrol/Diesel Cars
- Pros and Cons of Electric Cars
- Pros and Cons of Petrol or Diesel Cars
- How much does it cost to Buy and Charge an Electric Car?
- How much can I save Should I Buy an Electric Car?
What is an EV
An EV is an acronym for an electric vehicle. EV can be described as a vehicle that uses a Battery as a source of electric energy to power the electric motor and can be charged from external sources such as an electric charging point and solar panel. An EV Vehicle can be fully or partly powered- Hybrid by an electric battery.
EVs are also characterized by low running costs, low maintenance costs, fewer moving parts, and are environmentally friendly compared to their diesel counterparts.
Most EVs now run on modern batteries made of lithium-ion because of their ability to retain energy and greater longevity. A charged lithium-ion powered electric truck or car could travel up to 400 miles like the 2023 Tesla Model S.
Types of Electric Cars You Can Buy
There are various forms of powering electric vehicles. while some EVs derive power 100% from batteries only, a few drive energy from a combination of battery and solar (SEV), or battery and gas (Hybrid).
Battery Powered Electric Vehicle
Battery-powered electric cars have about 99% fewer moving parts compared to petrol engines. Due to the absence of an internal combustion engine, they produce
- Zero emissions as they do not have exhaust
- Little or no noise.
- Uses rechargeable batteries; hence, no need to re-fuel.
Battery-powered EVs can be charged at home or at a charging station to provide adequate electric power needed for your journey. For a longer journey, there might be a need for a stop-over at a charging station to top up the battery.
Some service stations along motorways are also beginning to provide charging services at affordable rates. The average charging time for an electric car is from 30 minutes to hours depending on factors such as Charging speed, charging level, battery capability and size, and tariff, among others.
Solar Powered Electric Vehicle (SEV)
Whereas a battery-powered electric car would require regular charging at least once weekly, with a solar-powered electric car, you can drive for months without charging as the solar capability gives it 5x less charging. Solar Powered Electric cars come with a built-in solar panel that charges the battery whether at rest or in motion, thereby making it possible to travel long distance.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles
This type of EV uses batteries and gasoline fuel as the source of power. They are not fully electric; hence called hybrid vehicles because they rely on both fuel and electricity.
The benefit of hybrid cars is that you can embark on a long journey with the guarantee that you won’t run into a flat battery in the middle of the journey.
They are mainly suitable for travelling longer journeys or for use in locations with less charging point infrastructure as you can switch easily to traditional fuel when unable to top-up the battery. Most hybrid EVs have a smaller battery pack that can only travel a smaller range.
This type of electric car contributes to carbon emission and are not environmentally friendly. In addressing this, there has been an increasing investment in power infrastructure as well as the construction of charging points at local and remote locations.
The government is also offering tax rebates and other incentives for private investors in charging point infrastructure.
The production of solar-powered cars could be a replacement for hybrid cars as long-distance travellers do not need to worry about running out of battery charge.
What are Diesel-Powered Vehicles?
These are vehicles that are powered mainly by gasoline, a fossil fuel derived from crude oil – which over the years have been classified as one of the major contributor to global carbon emission, and climate change problems facing the world.
Gas vehicles are the most common vehicles across the globe as they account for more than 90% of vehicles on our roads; they include trucks, cars, motorbikes, and industrial vehicles. This type of vehicle operates an Internal combustion engine that converts gasoline energy to mechanical energy which It uses to power the vehicle.
While Gas-powered vehicles have been popular for many decades because of their ease of use and relatively low cost of acquisition, they are now been challenged by electric cars which have proven to be even more convenient and relatively cheaper to acquire and maintain.
Differences between Diesel vs Electric Cars?
Electric vehicles are powered mainly by batteries – a form of renewable energy, while conventional diesel engines make use of diesel fuel to derive energy. But aside from this form of energy, there are a few other differences as you will see below.
|Traditional Diesel Vehicles
|Petrol, Diesel, CNG
|Emits carbon dioxide and Nitrogen Oxides
|Cost of Operation
|Lower operating cost. An average charging cost of £10 can cover 300 miles distance
|Higher operating cost. Diesel and petrol are quite expensive A 300 miles distance would consume an average of 15 gallons of fuel
|Charging of batteries
|An average of once a month refuelling is needed and can be done from home using a standard electrical outlet.
|Accelerates faster because of the instant torque.
|Zero noise pollution
|Engine combustion produces a lot of noise.
|Lower effects which makes them better for the environment
|Adverse impact on the environment due to excessive carbon and noise pollution.
|Scrap Value After Warrant Period
|Poor Scrap Value
|Moderate Scrap Value
Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Cars vs. Petrol/Diesel Cars
In this section, we’ll touch briefly on the pros and cons of driving an electric car compared with petrol or diesel cars
Pros and Cons of Electric Cars
- Eco-friendly as electric cars emit less pollution
- Requires less maintenance as it contains fewer parts
- The battery has a life span of Between 10 – 20 years before replacement
- Exemption from road tax or congestion charge in some countries
- Owning an electric car will save you some operational costs as a fully charged battery could cover hundreds of miles
- Instant acceleration
- little or no greenhouse gas emissions
- No noise and less carbon footprint
- High second-hand (residua) value due to high demand
- Less complication.
- High Acquisition cost
- Loss of time when charging as you need to pull over to recharge the battery.
- Longer charging time
- Inadequate electric car charging facilities
- High cost of battery replacement due to fewer battery production company (Tesla battery cost between USD5000 – 20000 to replace)
- Few available public charging points
- Reduced battery lifespan in hotter climates (and summer period) as EVs detest heat.
- Range anxiety due to a limited driving range compared to diesel trucks and cars.
- Increase pressure on the power generation grid
- Technical know-how is low as EV technology is relatively new
Pros and Cons of Petrol or Diesel Cars
- Very affordable due to the low cost of acquisition and widespread availability of spares and skills.
- Longer driving rage thereby suitable for long travels
- Cheap and readily available parts, as 90% of vehicles on the road are gas-powered.
- readily available fuel at all time
- High technical know-how.
- Easy to maintain.
- Bad for the environment due to its higher emission of carbon.
- Produces a lot of noise as a result of the internal engine combustion
- A high fuel price means an increased operating cost
- It contains several parts that need to be serviced more frequently
- Road tax payment is applicable.
- significant carbon footprint contributor.
- Tailpipe emissions of Nitrous Oxides to the environment
- Poor fuel economy
- Climate crisis from excess pollution.
How much does it cost to Buy and Charge an Electric Car?
The average cost to buy an electric car is about $40,000 in the US but this varies from one country to the other – it costs about $25,000 in China. It costs an average of $8 to charge an electric car at home if you have the plug-in vehicle charger and about $12 at a public rapid charger.
The charging cost could vary according to location. Charging speed, charger quality, charging level, battery capability, and tariff, among others.
How much can I save Should I Buy an Electric Car?
There are several costs to driving an electric car. In this section, we will consider everything you need to know regarding the cost of ownership, and see how much can be saved annually from driving an electric car. Listed below are the major costs of owning a new vehicle.
Diesel or Electric Car Purchase Cost:
The costs of buying an electric car vary for several factors such as capacity, manufacturer, brand, country of manufacture, etc. We researched some electric car manufacturer websites and noted that while the selling cost for a new car was below 30,000 like the MG4 EV, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Nissan Leaf, etc, some electric models sell for £70,000 above like Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, etc).
On average, it would cost about 40,000 to own an electric car. On the flip side, gas-powered cars cost between 19000 to 35000, with an average cost of about 25000.
With more investment into EV manufacturing, it is expected that the selling price will reduce in the near future.
EV Charging Cost.
The average U.S. driver travels about 13,500 miles annually (1,000 miles monthly) according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a similar distance is also covered in the EU. In the UK however, the average travel distance is half of the US figure around 6,000 miles annually or 500 miles monthly.
The UK has an efficient transport system, hence could be the reason for a reduced mileage cover. Most new EVs can cover over 300 miles when fully charged.
One of the advantages of electric cars is the cost savings on fuelling. Let us compare the average cost of charging an electric car in the UK against fuelling a petrol car for a similar distance. Your vehicle’s MPG (Miles per Gallon) will vary depending on the engine size and efficiency but on average a car in the UK consumes about 17p of fuel (petrol and diesel) per mile.
|Cost per mile
|Average 6000 miles per Annum cost
|Estimated Annual saving
|Estimated 5 years of saving .
With savings of only $2000 over a 5-year duration, is an electric car worth it? This is a question you need to answer yourself, but before you conclude, let’s compare other associated costs to arrive at the best decision.
Service and Maintenance:
New vehicles are always within warranty for the first 4 -5 years; hence, most maintenance costs will be borne by the vehicle manufacturer. Electric cars generally have fewer engine parts so it is estimated that maintenance costs should be less costly compared to a petrol/diesel vehicle.
But have you also considered the cost of replacing batteries which could run into thousands of dollars? With most electric cars still currently under warranty, there is no sufficient information to back up their annual maintenance cost.
The MOT test requirement for gasoline cars is the same as that of electric cars. All vehicles (including Electric cars) are legally required to have an MOT test yearly if over 3 years.
To encourage the purchase of electric cars, the government offers grants and capital allowances to reduce the purchase price burden of new low-emission cars. Unfortunately, the grant has been discontinued. Nevertheless, you may consult your tax adviser for any possible grant or capital allowance you stand to benefit from driving an EV.
Cost of Insuring EVs
While you could save some cost on charging and maintaining an electric vehicle, what about insuring an EV? Unfortunately, Electric cars tend to be even more expensive to insure than petrol or diesel vehicles. Insurance cost is influenced by many factors largely determined by data. But with little available information about electric cars and the high cost of acquisition, it appears the insurance companies are playing it safe by offering a higher premium to cover any unexpected future claim requests.
Electric cars have better security making them less likely to be stolen. They also have lower gravity due to the huge battery located below the passenger seats which makes it less likely to roll over if involved in a collision. But despite these numerous benefits, one wonders why electric cars don’t enjoy reduced insurance premiums. It is believed that with the increasing adoption of electric cars, and more data becoming available, the insurance cost of EVs will likely drop at a reasonable rate.
While most gasoline-powered cars are heavily taxed because of their carbon emissions, electric cars on the other hand enjoy some tax rebates. Road tax is dependent on CO2 emission; meaning, the higher the vehicle’s CO2 emission, the higher the rate, and vice-versa. Road tax for gasoline cars is always highest (up to £2,300) in the first year of vehicle purchase due to the high carbon emission produced during the period. This amount drops to about £160 in subsequent years, however.
With Zero carbon emission of EVs, you would be saving on this cost. However, starting in 2025, all EV vehicles are expected to start paying tax similar to most petrol vehicles. The average gasoline-powered vehicle pays around £180 annually.
See government statement on taxing of EVs from 2025
|1st year of Purchase (2023)
|2nd-year Tax (2024)
|3rd – 5th Year Tax Obligation
|Total 5-Year Tax Obligation
Going electric will save you an average of 2460 in vehicle tax over the first 5-year period.
Other (Breakdown Cover, warranty, Tyres, etc.): This varies and depends on several factors that cannot be independently determined. Your vehicle warranty may also cover this cost within the first 4-5 years.
Let’s have a look at the various considerations above and determine if an EV vehicle is cheaper than a petrol/diesel-powered vehicle.
No doubt that many factors could determine how long and cost it would take to have an EV battery charged.
|Average Acquisition Cost
|5 Years Fueling cost (6000 miles/annum)
|5 years maintenance cost
|Total cost for the first 5 years
From the above computations and looking at the benefits of driving a diesel or electric car it appears to me that buying a gasoline or diesel car is better and more economical than an EV as you could be saving about &10,000 for the next 5 years.
Limitation to this research: This write-up focused mainly on the UK economic considerations. Opinions expressed in this research are those of the author.
How Trustworthy are Electric Car
Electric cars are very reliable as they have proven to be efficient for travel and requires less operational and maintenance cost. EVs compared to diesel vehicles are however still in their early days as most EVs are still within warranty; hence, it may be difficult to say they will be more efficient than petrol engines or gasoline engines that have been in existence for centuries. You might want to exercise some patience before getting one if you have a slim budget.
How Long do Electric cars last
Most EVs have a battery life span of between 10 to 20 years before they need replacement. This likely will increase as more research is being carried out to make battery life span longer. The lifespan of an EV will be dependent on the battery which is the major component.
How long do electric car batteries last?
Average 15 years.
Do electric CARS Lose Charge when parked?
Yes, just like the battery within your diesel/petrol car loses charge when parked due to the powering of some electrical systems in your car, an electric car loses charge when parked too. The advent of solar-powered cars will address this challenge as your car will automatically derive energy from the sun to charge the battery whether parked or in motion.
Kindly visit our Home Page to read more on electric vehicles