Rising fuel prices this year mean that the cost of owning and running an electric car is now lower than petrol or diesel in almost every country in Europe, according to data from automotive lease provider LeasePlan.
Battery vehicles remain more expensive than traditional engine models to buy, although have lower running costs because of less maintenance and cheaper refuelling.
The industry considers the point at which electric cars become as cheap as petrol models to own, run and service — the “total cost of ownership” — a key moment that could trigger a widespread switch to battery vehicles.
LeasePlan, which has 1.9mn vehicles used by corporate fleets, collated running costs and lease prices for its vehicles, comparing them by segment and across 22 countries.
“EVs in nearly every segment and European country are now the same price or cheaper on a TCO [total cost of ownership] basis than petrol or diesel cars,” said the report.
It found the costs of a standard family car, such as a Ford Kuga or an electric Škoda Enyaq, were equal or lower in 19 out of 22 European countries, including the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Only in Poland, Italy and the Czech Republic was the model notably more expensive when electric.
Among smaller cars, such as the Renault Megane or the Kia Nero, the UK purchase and running costs were €919 a month for electric, €941 for diesel and €954 for petrol, it found.
The same cars in France were only €735 a month for electric, compared with €904 for diesel and €868 for petrol.
While petrol and diesel refuelling costs remained similar across most areas, the costs of recharging an electric car varied wildly. Typically, charging at home overnight for several hours was a cheaper alternative to using public fast-chargers, which attract a premium for their higher speed.
For its EV charging calculations, LeasePlan took the current charging habits of its average electric customer, with 65 per cent of charging at home, 20 per cent at a workplace, and 15 per cent at a more expensive public charging point.
LeasePlan found that charging costs amounted to 15 per cent of the cost of owning and running an electric car, while the cost of refuelling a diesel was 28 per cent of the total ownership cost.
“Despite energy price inflation, fuel costs remain significantly lower for electric cars than petrol and diesel cars,” the report found.
Its data was taken from a four-year lease and assuming an annual mileage of 30,000km, with prices from almost 3,000 cars across 132 models.
The overall cost of running any vehicle still varied significantly across the region, the report added. With Greece the cheapest country at an average of €905 a month, to Switzerland, which has an average of €1,313.