Electric vs. Petrol: Pros and Cons of EVs

The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) sky-rocketed during the global COVID-19 pandemic when people around the world experienced heightened environmental awareness.

In a survey published by the World Economic Forum, 78 percent of non-ICE or non-internal combustion engine buyers mentioned how the COVID-19 pandemic made them more eco-conscious, which led them to buy more sustainable vehicle models.

It’s no surprise then that, in 2021, global EV sales reached a staggering 6.75 million units. This is an increase of 108 percent from the previous year. Europe and China were seen as the fastest to adopt the technology. Norway, in particular, led the pack with 4 out of 5 new cars sold being EVs. Indeed, the country is all set to have 95 per cent of the new car market share dominated by EVs before the end of this year.

Meanwhile, in the US, conventional petrol vehicles are still more popular. According to Fortune, EVs accounted for only 9 per cent of car sales last year. Some of the barriers that may have affected consumers’ confidence in EVs were doubts about the range, initial costs and insufficient incentives from the government.

Are you thinking about upgrading your vehicle to an EV, or are you sticking to petrol cars? In this article, we’ll highlight the differences between an EV and a petrol vehicle. In particular, we’ll learn about the pros and cons of owning an EV.

Advantages of Electric Vehicles

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly

Electric vehicles take the green lane when it comes to sustainability. With zero tailpipe emissions, they contribute significantly to reducing air pollution and the overall carbon footprint.

According to Our World in Data, the transportation sector contributes one-fifth of global carbon emissions. Of these, road travel using buses and cars makes up 45.1 per cent. Following this trend, there would be significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions should EV adoption rates continue to increase.

Low Operating Cost

Operating an electric vehicle comes with financial perks. In fact, one of the motivating factors for converting to EVs is the lower cost of electricity to power an EV, compared to the petrol you need for an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.

In the U.S., the cost to power an EV per year amounts to USD 485, while the cost of a year’s worth of petrol is USD 1,117. With not even half the cost to run a typical petrol car, you can accumulate massive savings if you drive an EV.

Reduced Maintenance Requirements and Cost

Traditional vehicles often demand frequent trips to the mechanic, but electric vehicles buck this trend. With fewer components to worry about, maintenance costs are significantly lower. This not only saves money but also ensures a smoother, hassle-free ownership experience.

A study from the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy revealed that vehicles with internal combustion engines typically have a USD 0.10 maintenance cost per mile, while the battery-operated EVs would only incur a USD 0.060. To put this into perspective, if you drive an average 15,000 miles a year, a typical petrol car would roughly cost USD 1,500 to maintain. In contrast, an EV would only have a USD 900 maintenance cost.

Quieter Operation

Silence is golden, especially on the roads. Electric vehicles operate with minimal noise, which contributes to a quieter and more serene urban environment. This both reduces noise pollution and enhances the overall driving experience, making city commutes more pleasant.

EVs were found to be 4 to 5 dB less noisy than typical petrol cars at low speeds of under 30 km/h. At higher speeds, the difference becomes quite minimal. So, EVs have the potential to reduce noise on streets and in car parks where the speed is limited to under 30 km/h.

Available Tax Incentives

The allure of tax incentives sweetens the deal for prospective electric vehicle owners. In the UK, the government launched the Plug-In grant more than a decade ago in 2011 and it remained in effect until March 2023. The grant provided a 25 per cent (capped at GBP 5,000) discount to help EV owners finance their new EVs. With the incentive over, sales of EVs have plateaued, which prompted dealers to call for another grant to boost EV sales once more.

Disadvantages of Electric Vehicles

Availability of Charging Stations

One of the most prominent speed bumps facing the widespread adoption of EVs is charging infrastructure. While charging stations are becoming more prevalent, concerns about their availability, especially in rural areas, can deter potential buyers.

For typical drivers who use their EVs for their daily commute, they can always have a dedicated EV charger installed at home. If you decide to get one for your home, make sure to get in touch with professionals who can do the installation. They can reliably do an Ohme Home Pro installation or whatever EV charger is best suited for your home. Smart chargers like these can be automatically adjusted to choose the best charging time settings, ensuring maximum savings.

Charging Time

Patience is a virtue, and you’ll need to put it to the test as you charge your EV. Compared to filling up a traditional car with petrol, charging your EV takes significantly longer. However, there are innovations that are already being done to address these issues. For one, charging ports are getting faster every year. With a 7kW charging point, for instance, it takes only 8 hours to charge your car from zero to fully charged. Another technology being tested for mass-market products is battery swapping, which should bring down the charging time to mere minutes.

Initial Cost

The road to an electric future often starts with a higher upfront cost. Purchasing an electric vehicle requires a more substantial initial investment compared to traditional petrol vehicles.

According to Cox Automotive, while the price of an EV is going down, the average price is still higher than petrol cars. In an article published last October 2023, the average price of an EV was around USD 50,683. Meanwhile, the average price of a non-luxury vehicle in September was USD 44,626. This is a substantial difference of 12 percent.

As the automotive industry shifts gears towards a sustainable future, the pros and cons of electric vehicle ownership in the UK come into focus. In deciding which vehicle better suits your lifestyle, needs, and preferences, you have to consider all sides.

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