Is an electric car worth it?

We look at whether it's worth getting an electric car...

Love them or loathe them, electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, and are soon going to be a common sight on British roads. You might even be considering investing in an electric car in the near future.

However, one of the most common questions we tend to get is ‘is an electric car worth it?’
In this article, we take a look at the pros and cons of an electric car, and whether they are worth it

What are the different types of electric car?

There are two types of electric car. However, one type of electric car is more common than the others (for now).

The most common and most popular type of electric car is the standard battery electric car. This is where the vehicle will run on a pre-charged battery, it’s pretty self-explanatory. A majority of electric cars are this type of electric vehicle, so during this article we’ll mainly be talking about these types of cars.

However, there are also hydrogen fuel-cell batteries. These vehicles are powered by the hydrogen fusing with oxygen to create electricity. This is all done while the vehicle is moving and produces only water vapour. There aren’t that many vehicles that currently run using hydrogen batteries, the Toyota Mirai being one of few, but there’s a good chance that they will dominate the electric vehicle scene in the future.

What are the advantages of an electric car?

There are quite a few advantages to owning an electric car;

  • They are environmentally friendly
    • This is perhaps the biggest advantage to owning an electric car. Electric vehicles are zero emissions. This means that they are the best you can get in terms of eco-friendly transportation. If you want to greatly reduce your carbon footprint, then making the change to an electric car is one of the best things you can do.
  • They are cheap to run
    • Once you have an electric car, they cost very little to run. One of the most common misconceptions regarding electric cars is that they cost a lot of money to charge. This isn’t the case. Charging your car up at home can cost as little as 2p per mile. This is considerably less than if you were to fill your car up with fuel.
Man filling up his car with fuel hose spelling eco - is an electric car worth it?
  • Electric cars are travelling further
    • Another misconception regarding electric cars is that they don’t travel very far. Again, this isn’t the case. Your average electric car can travel at least 100 miles and a Tesla can travel over 200 miles. And this is only set to increase as more technology relating to electric vehicles is harnessed. Soon, range anxiety will be a thing of the past.
  • You are eligible for government grants and subsidies (for now)
    • If you want to buy an electric vehicle, then you are eligible for grants and subsidies to help with the cost. These include contributions to the initial cost as well as help with the installation of the charger inside your house. However, these won’t be around for much longer. As electric vehicles become increasingly popular, these grants will slowly disappear.
  • You don’t have to get it serviced the same as you would a fuel powered car
    • Because there’s no combustion engine there is less maintenance when it comes to an electric car. This means no forking out for oil changes etc.

So there are quite a few advantages to having an electric car.

What are the disadvantages to owning an electric car?

There are, however, disadvantages to owning an electric cars.

Man pushing broken down car - is an electric car worth it?
  • They’re expensive, even with the government grants
    • Even with help from the government, electric cars are still extremely pricey, and out of reach for many people. The small city cars are still more expensive than their petrol/diesel and hybrid counterparts.
  • Range anxiety is still alive and well
    • Even though electric cars can go pretty far nowadays, range anxiety is still very much a thing, and a huge concern for drivers. It’s understandable, no one wants to be stranded on the motorway with a flat battery.
  • Charging can be a pain
    • Charging your electric car can be more of a chore than simply filling up your car with some petrol and being on your way. It’s okay if you’re charging it up overnight but if you need to charge it up on the go? You could be waiting a little while. Unless, of course, you pay more for express charging capabilities. Not all manufacturers offer this, but some of them do.
  • Their looks are…divisive
    • Some people love how an electric car looks, others wouldn’t be caught dead in one. Their looks are divisive, even the more conventional looking electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf or the Renault ZOE are somewhat divisive. The BMW i3 is a whole different story.
  • You’re not exactly spoilt for choice
    • If you want a wide range of cars to choose from…then an electric car isn’t for you. There aren’t that many electric vehicles on the market at the minute. This will change, however, but for now, your choice is pretty limited.

Is an electric car worth it?

So, after all that, is an electric car worth it?

If you are looking for a car that dramatically lowers your carbon footprint, is efficient and has extremely low running costs, then an electric car is absolutely worth it. It would be an investment and a half, particularly at a time when they are still offering subsidies and grants.

However, if you are concerned about range anxiety, or don’t want to spend a considerable amount of money on a car, then maybe an electric car isn’t for you. Instead, you might want to consider a plugin hybrid. Plugin hybrids run mainly on electricity, but once their battery gets to a certain point, they switch to either petrol or diesel. 
Ultimately, whether you think an electric car is worth it is down to what you consider the most important factors when choosing a car. If you value efficiency, eco-friendliness and low running costs, then an electric car is for you. However, if you value low initial cost and a wide choice, then an electric car might not be for you. You can read our article on our top electric cars here. 

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Rachel Richardson
Latest posts by Rachel Richardson (see all)

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