Electric Cars, Ambrose? It’s A No Brainer!
By Paul Homewood
I have not had a look at costings for electric v conventional cars recently, particularly in the light of much lower fuel prices currently.
I was reminded by another rant against fossil fuels from Ambrose Evans Pritchard the other day, when he sneered at OPEC for forecasting continued growth in oil markets up to 2040. AEP repeated his usual claptrap about how the whole world had made a “solemn and binding promise” to end global warming, conveniently ignoring the fact that most of the world studiously refused to do anything about it before 2030! And how we would all be driving electric cars before much longer.
What especially struck me was that if OPEC followed his advice, stopped further drilling and began to wind up loss making fields, we would more than likely end up with a major oil crisis on our hands in a few years time. We only need to remember the 1970’s to see what damage an oil shortage can do to the world economy.
Anyway, back to the cars. The Nissan Leaf is the best selling plug in car apparently, so let’s compare costs with the Ford Focus, which is pretty comparable from a spec point of view.
|Leaf Acenta||Focus Zetec
1.0T Eco Boost
|On the Road Price||24490||18595|
Both models are mid range, and the Acenta includes battery cost. (It is worth noting that the Focus Electric version is priced at £31145 before rebate, so if anything the Focus is a higher spec).
Performance figures for the Focus give a combined mileage rate of 61.4 mpg. As manufacturers’ figures are always overstated for normal driving conditions, let’s assume 90% of that figure. 55.3 mpg.
With a current petrol price of £1.02/litre, or £4.64/gallon, and mileage of 10,000 a year, the total cost of fuel over three years would be £2517. Given that the Leaf costs £10895 more to buy, as far as money goes, this one’s a no brainer!
Parkers Guide suggests trade in prices would be similar after three years, so there is no extra residual value to be had from the electric car.
And, of course, this is all before we start to work out the cost of the electricity it would require.
Money is not everything when we buy a car. If it was, we would all buy Fiat 500’s! Nevertheless, low running costs are the main selling point advanced by Nissan, and the Leaf certainly has little else going for it.
Nissan themselves admit that, although in perfect conditions you might get 155 miles range, if you want the heater or aircon on, you’ll get much less. In any event, nobody drives their car till they get to the last teaspoon full of petrol. In the same way, nobody is going to embark on a trip of anywhere near 90 miles, unless you want to take the risk that you will find a rapid charger point somewhere.
Based on the Acenta 30KW
There is one more issue, and that is that the above prices for petrol include fuel duty tax of 58 pence per litre, not to mention 20% VAT. The real cost of petrol currently, excluding tax, is only 27 pence per litre. At this price, the cost of fuel over three years drops from £2517 to just £666.
In contrast, American figures suggest that electric cars would use 0.22 KWh/mile. At 13 pence/KWh, it would cost £858 in electricity over the three years.
While this may appear to be an academic point at the moment, once most of us are driving electric cars, that tax revenue will be lost to the government. In which event, we will all simply have to cough up in some different way. In other words, we will all be a lot worse off.
One of these days, electric cars may take over, but certainly not with their current level of technology and cost.