Modern motoring has developed significantly since the inception of the internal combustion engine over 135 years ago. Cars have become much more commonplace, and the world has evolved alongside automobiles to create an intricate viper’s nest of roads, highways and tracks that chart the globe with tyre tracks and asphalt.
It’s also a fact, however, that the modern car and its emissions have been a key contributor towards the global climate catastrophe, and without rapid and effective action, we face a future that’s simply not sustainable. That’s where the electric vehicle comes in.
But with so many questions surrounding EVs and their place on our modern roads, it’s important we address any misconceptions and misgivings before they stop us from embracing the future. With this article, energy experts Tariff will look at how electric vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular option, and how they stack up against the more conventional petrol engine.
We’ll also explore how different factors like cost and electric car charging availability also factor into your decision, and how you can best make that leap for you and your business.
Of course, there’s one immediate difference between the two – one runs on petrol, the other is powered by electricity. At its most basic, that’s the key difference between petrol and electric cars, and encapsulates their natures well. However, it only tells a partial story – we’ll break it down further.
Petrol cars use an internal combustion engine, coupled with intakes that take in air from outside, to spark ignition and power the car. They’ll have a tank that fills with petrol, which is then used around to provide forward momentum through torque – this is why you need to “rev” your engine before you’ll move.
Electric cars are completely different. They’re powered by electricity alone, with the engine replaced by an electric motor or large battery. As with any electrical device that’s not plugged in, your electric car needs to be charged, in much the same way you need to refill a petrol tank.
It’s also important to note that, because the torque is delivered to the wheels instantly in an electric car, there’s no need to “rev”, and so the car is able to set off immediately. You’ll see this in some of the more common electric vehicles on the road, like Tesla cars or the zero-emission vans that Amazon uses.
When you look more closely at electric cars compared to their petrol counterparts, you’ll also notice subtle differences in shape (usually to accommodate the electric motor and its associated connections), as well as a charging port in place of a filler cap, and a more streamlined chassis to improve aerodynamics and ensure the maximum amount of mileage for a single charge.
With such a range of differences both mechanically and aesthetically, then, it’s natural that both types of automobile would have their associated advantages and disadvantages. Let’s break these down.
On a changing planet, anything that can ultimately help halt the inexorable rise of temperatures across the globe is inherently good. That’s currently the role of electric cars in the automotive industry – they’re poised to stem the tide of rampant emissions from unsustainable practices across cars, vans, trucks and other vehicles.
We’ve addressed this in more detail in our guide to the biggest environmental issues, but electric cars are one of the most impactful choices an average consumer can make in terms of meaningful change to their energy consumption.
These low emissions also mean that you can save money on road tax, as the government has completely abolished the charge for all electric car drivers. Not only that, but with schemes designed to make electric vehicle charging points more accessible for both homes and businesses, there’s even further ways to make the move to electric more financially viable.
Charging is also becoming much more affordable, and especially so with business electricity rates that account for the move towards electric car charging on premises across the country.
While undoubtedly a pivotal part of the future of motoring, electric cars still have their drawbacks alongside the more obvious positives. The technology is, as yet, still quite expensive to produce, and so the cars themselves are naturally more costly.
NimbleFins estimate the average cost for lower-end models to be almost £30,000. Plus, with a second-hand market that’s still in its infancy, the barrier to entry in terms of cost is one that’s still considered out of reach for many motorists.
Charge times, while improving alongside the associated tech, can also be a point of frustration and apprehension for drivers who are more accustomed to the rapid filling times at petrol stations.
There’s also a growing anxiety surrounding the range for a single charge, especially if you’re driving long distances, or travelling to more remote locations which might lack the infrastructure to charge an electric car.
Of course, as the technology develops and becomes both more affordable and more robust, these trepidations are likely to be allayed, and electric cars will gradually become more commonplace on our roads, our motorways, and our driveways.
Of course, many people who are looking to purchase their next car will immediately look to the more traditional petrol car, and for good reason. It’s been an ubiquitous part of motoring for a long period of time, and represents an accessible way to get on the road.
That accessibility is arguably the biggest advantage that petrol cars have over the electric vehicle – there’s a massive second-hand market, greater scope for sourcing a car that’s right for your budget, and a more storied reputation across the different manufacturers.
There’s also much to be said for their convenience. We spend just a few minutes each week filling a petrol or diesel tank, and can reliably understand how far that will get us or when we’ll next need to visit the petrol station.
However, while there’s undoubted benefits to opting for a petrol car, there’s also disadvantages that come coupled with those same advantages. Rising costs at the pumps have impacted all of us in some capacity, and fuel prices (while stabilising) are still likely to stay high as we transition to electric vehicles.
That’s not the only additional cost you’ll face when comparing petrol cars to electric vehicles. While their electric counterparts are exempt from road tax and congestion charges in large cities, petrol car drivers face additional charges to better support environmental initiatives and offset the emissions they produce.
That’s the most pivotal point in the electric cars vs petrol cars debate – their environmental impact. According to Our World In Data, emissions from petrol transport are estimated to make up almost a quarter of all global CO2 emitted, and road vehicles (including cars, vans, trucks, buses, taxis and lorries) make up almost three quarters of those emissions.
It’s undebatable that there needs to be a change to safeguard the future of the planet, and with such startling figures emitted each year by our current vehicles, the path towards a more sustainable future is clear.
This is the crucial question, and one that sadly doesn’t have a simple answer. If you’ve owned a car at any part, you know that the costs don’t end with the price you pay when you first purchase the vehicle.
There’s repair and running costs to consider, as well as any necessary servicing after a set number of miles or period of time. It’s these expenses that truly help gives us a clearer picture of how much a car costs, and what we’ll need to budget to ensure we can keep the car running effectively.
We’ve already touched on how the initial outlay for an electric car is usually more expensive than what we could expect to pay for a petrol car. Research from NimbleFins found that a new electric car costs, on average, £29,240, compared to the average on-the-road price of a small petrol car of around £15,450.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to costs, though. Petrol costs an estimated £1,500 each year, with fluctuating prices at the pump contributing towards uncertain costs of refuelling.
Electric cars, on the other hand, cost an estimated 58% less to run, and with subsidies covering many home and business electric car charging points, the future looks positive for the cost of charging an electric vehicle.
There’s also multiple advantages to electric cars when it comes to longer-term running costs. With much fewer moving parts in their motor, an electric car has much less scope for breakages or faults when compared to the multiple interconnected elements of an internal combustion engine.
Plus, with no oil needed in an electric motor, there’s no need for the expensive servicing or oil change charges that are necessary in petrol- or diesel-powered cars.
In a nutshell, while the initial outlay for an electric car is much steeper than that of a petrol car, you’ll be saving money in the long run, as well as making a profound impact on the environment with the choices you make.
As with our previous section that discussed the cost of an electric car when compared to a more conventional petrol vehicle, there’s no simple answer here either. It’s all dependent on your lifestyle, and what you need the car for.
In most scenarios, opting for an electric vehicle is almost always the best call. It’s inevitable that electric cars are going to play a pivotal role in transport, and it makes sense to get ahead of the curve, especially so as technology like electric car charging points become more prevalent.
However, as much as they’re sprouting up at businesses, retail parks and street corners across the UK, electric car chargers aren’t yet as commonplace as petrol stations, and if you’re planning to do a significant amount of travel, then an electric car may wind up being impractical or simply not viable.
That’s particularly true if you’re travelling to more remote areas, such as the Scottish highlands or small villages across England and Wales, as these aren’t as likely to have the necessary infrastructure to facilitate electric car charging.
However, if you’re an average commuter who uses their car to travel to and from work, and for leisure trips over the weekend, an electric car makes much more sense, and contributes massively towards reducing our emissions, and creating a more sustainable future for the planet.
As the tech becomes much more readily available, and electricity prices stabilise, opting for an electric vehicle makes sense for the vast majority of us.
Unfortunately, you do need a charging point to charge your electric vehicle. For many, this is the final hurdle when choosing an electric vehicle, but it needn’t be a reason to avoid the technology altogether.
With a huge range of energy providers offering electric car charging ports as part of their home offerings, and government grants making it much more of a reality for homeowners across the country, it’s abundantly clear that this is set to become more viable and prevalent.
Plus, with providers like Tariff who can offer bespoke and robust solutions for electric car charging points for businesses, there’s set to be a revolution to how we commute and the energy we consume.
We’re able to help you choose from a range of charging points, and tailor the solution you receive to your premises, the resources you’ve got available, and ultimately your budget, as well as the number of employees you have who currently drive electric vehicles.
With solutions that range from budget-friendly models, to state-of-the-art offerings from Hypervolt and Ohme, our expert advisors can help you strike the balance between offering options for your employees, and staying within your finances.
Our comprehensive 7 step process goes from the initial enquiry and surveying of your site, to booking you in for an installation at a time that suits your business hours, to the final payment and activation of your electric vehicle charging point.
Get in touch today to speak to one of our knowledgeable consultants about your business’ needs, and we’ll be more than happy to guide you through the entire process.