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Is it worth investing in an electric car and how much can you really save on running costs?

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A good analogy to describe what many people currently feel about electric cars is they are the motoring equivalent of an ugly duckling that becomes a swan.

The majority of motorists either currently do not fully appreciate or perhaps even fully understand the benefits that an electric car has to offer and they would probably rather wait until it has become the swan before they take the plunge and consider buying one.

The question that many want an answer to is are electric cars a good investment and will it be the passport to cheaper motoring.

Statistics never lie 

So we are often told, but a Gallup poll in the U.S found that 57% of motorists who responded said they would not buy an electric car irrespective of how expensive petrol was. That rather damning opinion from our motoring counterparts across the pond would suggest that the electric car is doomed to fail.

Before anyone starts writing the obituaries for this relatively new motoring technology compare this apparent rejection with the fact that since 2011, hybrid and electric car sales have risen by 37% and the Nissan Leaf apparently has a 20,000 strong waiting list. Who says statistics never lie?

Electricity generation for charging your car 

We are all aware of the advantages of being able to plug your electric car into the mains and charge it ready for your next journey, which makes this type of vehicle considerably cleaner than one that uses petrol or diesel to run it.

It is worth taking a look at how the electricity for your car is generated so that you can actually make a fair comparison with what it costs the environment to charge your vehicle compared with filling up at the petrol station.

The reality is that the electricity generated for your electric car is using close to 97% of non-renewable resources to power it. The split in resources is roughly 40% of gas, 29% of coal, 2% of oil, 26% of nuclear energy and just 3% of renewable energy.

This means that technically an electric car is 3% better for the environment than a petrol equivalent, which is not exactly a huge figure but nevertheless it is better.

Green tariff 

You could further improve the credentials of your electric car by signing up to a green tariff, so that you can ensure that energy comes from a renewable source.

If you are planning to invest in an electric car then you might also want to try to secure the best possible deal on your energy bills by using a comparison site like who can help you find the best tariff for your circumstances.

Should you consider buying an electric car? 

The two main points to consider are that motoring costs are almost constantly on an upward curve so any opportunity to enjoy cheaper motoring costs should be investigated and technology is continually evolving, meaning that the current electric vehicle models are able to offer a viable alternative.

The main issue is the distance that you can travel in an electric car before it needs charging again. If you travel less than 60 miles a day, don’t want to pay any road tax and want an end to paying £10 for roughly every 40-50 miles you travel in a petrol car, then the idea begins to look very attractive.

Just don’t let on if anyone asks your opinion on electric cars for a survey.


Scott Byrom is a budget and environmentally minded writer, regularly providing tips and advice on how to reduce energy consumption and live a greener life.

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