How Much Does It Cost to Run an Electric Car?

A guide to the costs associated with running an electric car, covering charging, tax, maintenance, insurance and depreciation.

Last updated: Apr 10, 2024 5 min read

Summary

An electric car will cost you less to run than an internal combustion engine (ICE) or hybrid car. There are savings to be made in charging at home, cheaper servicing costs and a £0 rate of road tax.

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Key costs of running an electric car

For most people, cost will be a key consideration before purchasing a new car. If you’re thinking of getting an electric car for the first time, it’s even more important to understand what it costs to run an electric vehicle (EV).

We’ve carefully researched the main costs of running an electric car and broken them down for you here:

  • Charging in public vs at home

  • Road tax

  • Maintenance, servicing and repairs

  • Insurance

  • Depreciation

Cost of charging an EV in public vs at home

The cost of charging at home is always cheaper than using a public charger. That’s because you can switch to a low-cost energy tariff to maximise your savings at home.

Charging a typical EV with a 60kWh battery and ~200 mile range costs:

  • About £17 at home*.

  • About £26 in public (excluding rapid chargers)**.

* Costs calculated at 32p/kWh based on a usable battery of ~54kWh (90%).

** Costs calculated at an average rate of 48p/kWh as of May 2023, based on a usable battery of ~54kWh (90%).

If you have one of our home chargers, you can easily charge from empty to full overnight or whenever it’s convenient for you.

That said, using public charging is a great way to top up your battery on the go while you’re busy doing other things. You’ll find public EV chargers in most supermarket car parks, dotted throughout inner cities and in parking garages.

But while they’re convenient, public chargers are more expensive than charging at home. So use them as an addition to your home charging (if possible) to keep costs low.

Find a detailed breakdown of the cost of charging an electric car in our guide.

Cost to tax an electric car

Electric car drivers benefit from a special tax incentive that means they pay £0 road tax. They’re currently the only drivers who are exempt from the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

For electric cars registered from April 2017 onwards, the standard rate of tax is determined by the CO2 emissions of the vehicle. EVs have zero tailpipe emissions and fall into the lowest rate of road tax at £0.

Most hybrid and ICE cars pay rates ranging from £170 to £570 per year, excluding the first year rate.

Be aware, however, the government is introducing changes to road tax. From 1 April 2025, electric cars will lose the current tax benefit and be required to pay road tax for the first time.

Read about current road tax rates and upcoming changes in our guide.


Cost to maintain an electric car

Maintaining an electric car is on average cheaper than maintaining an ICE or hybrid car. EVs have fewer moving parts, meaning there’s less opportunity for components to fail.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for different electric car maintenance services and parts:

  • Full electric car service: avg. of £174.86 (12% less than a full service for petrol or diesel cars).

  • Tyres and brakes: avg. of £75 per tyre.

  • Wiper blades and washer fluid: less than £50.


It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll need to replace an EV battery. If that is ever the case, you can find the average cost of replacing an electric car battery and other maintenance costs in our guide.

In contrast, a petrol or diesel car relies on more mechanical parts and liquids that are needed for the engine to function, such as spark plugs and engine oil. This needs to be maintained as they wear down, which increases the cost of running an ICE car.


Cost to insure an electric car

The cost to insure an electric car can be higher than it would be for a petrol or diesel car of a similar make and model. There are a few reasons why insurers price EV policies higher.

It’s important to understand that vehicle insurance is a business of managing risk. Insurers put a higher cost on a policy if they consider the car to have an increased chance of being in an accident and/or be more expensive to repair. In the case of electric cars, sourcing parts may (for now, at least) be more expensive and require specialist mechanics to complete a repair.

Luckily, most mainstream insurance companies offer cover for electric cars. So you can compare using sites like MoneySuperMarket or Compare The Market to get the best deal.


Electric car depreciation

As the demand for electric cars continues to grow on the resale market, EV depreciation has become comparable to depreciation in ICE cars. Estimates vary, the reduction in value of a car from year 1 to 3 is commonly said to be around 15% to 35%. The AA puts depreciation after 3 years even higher at 60%.

How much an electric car depreciates depends on the condition it is, with mileage, battery capacity and wear and tear playing a role. Some manufacturers are more in demand than others which also affects depreciation. For example, Teslas continue to be popular and may retain a better resale value than other makes.

It’s fair to speculate that electric cars could depreciate at a slower rate than ICE cars in the coming years. With the ban of all petrol, diesel and hybrid cars in 2035 and the expansion of clean air zones across the UK, electric cars may be the only future-proof option going forward.