Volkswagen ID.4

Cost comparison: is an electric car more expensive than a petrol one?

If you think electric cars are too expensive and therefore not a good investment, you could be wrong. A cost comparison of electric cars and vehicles with combustion engines can ofter shows how attractive, practical and, affordable e-mobility can be: switching can be a worthwhile investment, not just for the environment, but also for your wallet.

Find out more about the cost of e-mobility here:

  • Even today, electric cars can be cheaper to buy than combustion engine models.
  • Road tax keeps increasing if your car has a combustion engine, whereas drivers of electric cars get tax relief.
  • All in all, falling purchase prices and more efficient production are making electric cars more affordable.

Person at desk using laptop
Comparing costs: It pays to switch to electric. (Image: Adobe Stock)

Electric car vs. combustion engine: fuel and electricity costs

Electricity is generally cheaper than petrol or diesel. Drivers who mostly charge their electric car at home, in particular, can save on their running costs. Also, many electricity suppliers offer special EV energy tariffs.

When charging electric cars, on the other hand, the cost depends on the place, charging capacity and electricity tariff. While tariff and payment models at public charging points often differ, by installing a wallbox at your home, you can bring down your charging costs using your own electricity contract. The exact amount will depend on your contract with your

Woman at steering wheel

Electric car vs. combustion engine: road tax

Since the German government, in its Climate Action Programme, decided to base road tax more on CO2 emissions and exempt drivers of electric cars (that are first registered up until 2025) from road tax until 20303, they have enjoyed tax advantages, too. Alternative fuel cars with up to 100g/km CO2 are currently £0 VED Tax for both first year and standard rates. Correct as of 1st April 2023. By contrast, the rising carbon levy is hitting drivers of petrol and diesel cars increasingly hard.

Electric car vs. combustion engine: car insurance

Insurance for electric vehicles and combustion engine vehicles is similar. So whether a car is powered by electricity, diesel or petrol, does not affect the calculation of the sum insured. Rather, the insurance premium is based on the type of car, where it is registered, its annual mileage, no claims discount, and other factors. Therefore, the cost of electric car insurance can certainly compete with insurance for petrol or diesel vehicles. With electric cars, it makes sense to take out fully comprehensive insurance, as this also covers the battery as part of the vehicle. Then, depending on your vehicle insurer and tariff, you can insure your battery against theft, rodent damage and accidents.

Woman walking beside an electric VW vehicle
A birds-eye view of a Volkswagen ID.4 GTX

Electric car vs. combustion engine: maintenance

In terms of maintenance, electric cars can also be simpler than petrol and diesel vehicles. After all, many service jobs, such as oil changes, are superfluous. Unlike petrol and diesel cars, EVs have fewer components and wearing parts on board.

Electric car vs. combustion engine: conclusion

The overall costs of electric vehicles have dropped considerably in recent years. This positive trend is due to falling purchase prices, more efficient production and government incentives, among other things. Taking all of these factors into consideration, EVs have nothing to fear from cost comparisons with petrol and diesel cars of a similar size today – and this will be even more the case in future. This was also the conclusion of a study by the 'Agora Verkehrswende' transport consultancy. What is more, progress on all aspects of electric mobility is advancing rapidly

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Important information :

^If you are selecting a Volkswagen ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 or ID.7 then prices shown are the MDP (Manufacturer's Direct Price).  This is the price set by Volkswagen which you pay for the vehicle.  Volkswagen ID vehicles are sold by Volkswagen UK, a trading division of Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Limited (please note that you will need to visit an authorised Volkswagen Retailer (acting as agent for Volkswagen UK) to order, purchase and take delivery of your Volkswagen ID vehicle).  The MDP includes delivery to an authorised Volkswagen Retailer (acting as agent for Volkswagen UK), number plates, new vehicle registration fee, the first year's Vehicle Excise Duty and VAT (calculated at 20%).  You can find out more about the Volkswagen model for selling ID vehicles by clicking https://www.volkswagen.co.uk/en/legal/mdp-explained.html.

If you are selecting any other Volkswagen vehicle (excluding the Volkswagen ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 and ID.7) then prices listed are Manufacturer’s ‘On the road’ Recommended Retail Price. Actual prices are set by Volkswagen authorised retailers in their sole discretion – always obtain these prices from your chosen Volkswagen Retailer.  Recommended On-The-Road (OTR) retail prices include: delivery charge, number plates, new vehicle registration fee, the first year's Vehicle Excise Duty and VAT (calculated at 20%). 

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information above. Prices are taken from the Volkswagen website - this website contains a large number of products and it is always possible that, despite our best efforts, some of the products listed may be incorrectly priced. Volkswagen may change prices at any time (this includes where there are government changes in regulation and/or legislation). There may be a delay to any price displaying correctly on our materials and it is always possible that, despite our best efforts, some vehicles may be incorrectly priced. Always check prices with your local retailer.

For fuel consumption and CO2 information for vehicles, view values in the configurator.

Please be advised we may not be able to provide valuations for vehicles which are outside certain age or mileage ranges, specialist or customised, or not registered in the UK. The actual sale price is dependent on a number of additional factors, which you can discuss further with your retailer. T&Cs will apply.