Switching from conventional to electric is the new black: electric cars are fast becoming the norm, going hand in hand with the search for vehicles that help the environment through eco-friendly solutions. If you would like to switch to a vehicle that uses energy cost-efficiently, or you want to reduce your CO2 emissions, you might have already started to look for an electric vehicle (EV) as your ultimate purchase. 


And if you have already decided to switch to an electric car, you might want first to look at the costs of an EV and how these figures can vary compared to a conventional car. Of course, this includes looking for vehicle models that will ensure that you do not have to invest a hefty sum in the acquisition - or that this can be offset by saving in secondary costs. And pretty interestingly, combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are still the leading contender in the mobility market, mainly because an EV still has the power to put some people off the purchase due to prices that could potentially still be restrictive. 


But a question remains: are electric cars worth the money? Does an electric vehicle equate to an investment you will not regret from here to the next ten years? Is it money well spent? 

An EV represents an attractive solution when compared to an ICE car. But there are aspects any reasonable consumer would like to be aware of before diving into the next purchase. This Karfu article will explore everything you need to know to make a safe judgement when comparing electric cars and ICE cars - so keep on reading if you want to know more. 


EVs vs ICEs: the key distinctions 


When comparing combustion engine vehicles with electric cars, we can distinguish these two categories by five main points of discrepancy. These are:


  • Energy efficiency: EVs represent a more energy-efficient solution compared to ICE cars. The average internal combustion engine has, in fact, a fuel efficiency of only 40%. This translates into a higher energy expenditure compared to an electric car when we talk about travelling identical distances, with a considerable residual power lost in heat or friction. Electric cars are 90% efficient, positioning themselves in a different league in the energy game.

  • Driving capability and performance: an EV could represent a particularly thrilling experience for many joyful drivers, thanks to its smooth driving and silent performance. The electric motor will allow for a pleasurable course that you simply won’t be able to experience with an exhaust system.

  • Maintenance costs: The purchase of an EV represents initially a significant investment for the average individual. On the other hand, we know it requires fewer maintenance costs in the long run. The upkeep of an electric vehicle itself is also likely to be easier: an EV incorporates fewer mobile parts, leading to a lower price than a car with a combustion engine. An EV will require some specific servicing though, especially concerning its brakes and tyres- but that won’t represent a frequent occurrence, due to regenerative braking.

  • Cheaper energy costs: Yes, it is definitely cheaper to fuel an electric car than a combustion engine car in the UK. This cost tends to be further reduced if you recharge your EV at home - even more so by restoring it from the energy generated by individually installed solar panels. Even brighter news? EVs are energy sources themselves: through their regenerative braking, they can generate energy during the vehicle's slow down while recharging.

  • Eco-friendly: despite the environmental costs of producing EVs in the UK, the good you'll do to the environment by buying an electric vehicle could potentially be far more significant when compared to the use of a conventional car: EVs emit, in fact, no CO2 emissions of greenhouse gases, and their carbon footprint is correspondingly inferior throughout the car's life cycle. There are a variety of studies comparing the effectiveness of an EV when it comes to the environment, and the data available to us show an overwhelming superiority in the eco-friendly, emission-free world we are increasingly entering. 


EV vs ICE: costs of ownership compared 


When considering a long-term purchase such as a car, the cost of ownership, such as maintenance and repair expenditures, becomes an essential factor to contemplate before making a final pondered decision. As we already know, today's combustion engine cars have a fuel efficiency of 40% - giving EVs a clear advantage in the long-term energy costs. Are there other key points we should remember? There are several grants, incentives and exemptions that support your EV’s purchase: that's true. Buying an electric vehicle is still widely incentivized by the current market and government. The UK plug-in car grant, operated by the Office of Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV), currently allows you to buy an EV while providing a discount of £1500. But there are other schemes you can take advantage of: the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), provides a 75% contribution to the cost of one ChargePoint and its installation. The Workplace Charge Scheme, a voucher-based scheme that is open to businesses, charities and the public sector, is pretty similar to EVHS, except it is voucher-based and implemented exclusively for specific industries rather than private individuals.


The last point that favours an electric switch? EVs are susceptible to less depreciation - which is the drop in value of a car over time, making them flow into the second-hand market. A vehicle 'depreciates' mainly due to the price, running costs and quality. As the components of an EV tend to last longer and are specifically not removable, the lifespan of an electric vehicle will be considerably extended.

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Silvia Iacovcich 14/07/22