It wasn’t too long ago that electric cars were considered a dream of the future, unattainable by most working class citizens. But according to new research, this may no longer be the case.
In countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, electric cars have become much more cost-effective to use and own, especially in the long-term, as found by this study. In the United States, research was conducted in Texas and California, while the study encompassed all of the other two aforementioned countries.
This information comes at the same time as a rapid rise in the sales of electric cars in occurring, and the researchers find it fair to theorize that this is a direct result of the lower costs. Currently, the low prices is assisted by government support, though electric cars are still expected to naturally become the most inexpensive option in the near future.
The study in question was conducted by Kate Palmer, James E. Tate, Zia Wadud, and John Nellthor at the University of Leeds, UK, and it involved recording and analyzing the entirety of the cost of owning a car over the course of four years. This included all details involved with purchasing, using, and maintaining a car, including original price, fuel consumption, maintenance costs, and taxation and insurance fees.
Cars that ran entirely on electricity had the lowest fuel costs of all car options, as charging the car is much more low cost than filling up with gas, diesel, or petrol. The simpler and easier to maintain engines incurred lower maintenance costs thanks to their extra functions, which includes eliminating the need for brake pad replacements as the engine assists in braking the car on its own. In fact, in the UK, running and owning an electric car was 10% less expensive than doing the same for a petrol car as of 2015.
Meanwhile, hybrid cars did not follow in this fashion. Due to an inability to plug in and charge, they were often actually more expensive than their petrol counterparts. Hybrids that can be plugged in actually were even more expensive to own, especially when it came to the initial purchase, as buyers would basically need to pay for two engines, doubling the price. (It is worth noting that this is not the case in Japan as plug-in hybrids in that country have more subsidies.)
The researches, in a statement led by James Tate, expressed feelings of encouragement as his team predicts that purely electric cars will become even more inexpensive in the future, with car battery costs for this kind of vehicle lowering in the coming years. This is in spirit of sales subsidies, which are about $6,750 in the UK and $8,780 in Japan at this moment, but are predicted to slowly fall. The researchers estimated that by the year 2025, an electric car may be just as inexpensive to buy, own, and use as a petrol car – though some companies, like Renault, estimate that this will happen before that in the 2020’s.
Sales of electric cars have had a significant increase in recent years. For example, in the UK, the rise is as much as 37%, while diesel automobile vehicles have dropped by 30%. This is in lieu with increased concerns regarding air pollution, especially from vehicles and cars that use diesel gas. In fact, at the rate they’re going, electric cars – which do not produce nearly as much carbon emissions that contribute to global warming – could outsell diesel vehicles by May 2019. This is according to Matt Finch, an analyst at the United Kingdom Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.
The push to roll out electric cars, which produce less climate-warming carbon emissions, has been supercharged by concerns over air pollution, particularly from diesel cars. In the UK, where toxic air is at illegal levels in most urban areas, sales of diesel vehicles have plummeted by 30% in the last year while sales of electric cars, which produce 50% less greenhouse gases than petrol cars, have soared by 37%.
Currently, however, demand for electric cars is far greater than the supply manufactured. The main issue behind this has been suggested to be due to the fact that there are good electric cars prices at the low and high ends, but none in the medium price range, where most families who which to purchase family cars will be turning their attention.
Meanwhile, concerns regarding the worsening state of the environment and air pollution continue to rise around the world, particularly in China, which has the largest market of electronic cars worldwide that continues to grow day by day. The rest of the world has yet to catch up, as petrol companies and traditional fuel car manufacturers continue to push to make their own products and sales.
This may come with some unfavorable downsides, as governments may begin to tax electric cars when petrol and fuel sales start to drop, according to Steve Gooding, the director of the Royal Automobile Club Foundation for Motoring Ltd. The transition to more electric cars would also require more public chargers, which good charging speeds and powers that can match up to the needs of users.