Plug-in hybrids have bigger batteries than conventional hybrids and longer operating ranges in pure electric mode. Battery electric cars or pure EVs with no combustion engine are, obviously, also plugins. Plug-in hybrid technology is fairly complex and costly, so it’s no surprise to find that the cheapest plugins are exactly pure electric cars.
Certainly on the face of it, it certainly seems there are major savings to be made. Even if petrol and diesel prices having fallen far from their £1.50-plus peak, the per-mile energy cost of electric cars is importantly cheaper.
Plug-in car grant has been deducted, it is by far the cheapest full-sized electric car from a major maker. For context, Volkswagen’s e-up!, which is smaller car from the size segment below the Zoe, costs from £19,795.
Right now you can have a Zoe for a £599 deposit, plus 36 monthly payments of £89. The battery lease adds £70 on top for a monthly total of £159. There is also a finance fee of £99 and a £149 fee if you want the option of buying the car at the end of the 3 year deal.
For the Zoe, charging will cost around from £15 to £20 depending on tariffs and there’s no road tax. In other words, your monthly motoring costs on an premise of 7,500 miles annual would be at least £80 cheaper. What’s more, if you regularly enter the London Congestion Charge zone, the Zoe’s free entry will save you even more.
Things obviously get more complicated when you factor things like initial dealer deposits, total amounts payable if you choose to buy at the end of term and all that jazz. But in terms of your monthly outgoings, a small plugin car has clear money-saving potential.
This step up the food chain has not worked out too well for the EV. No doubt there are scenarios where the eGolf will work out cheaper. But for most people, most of the time, an eGolf is something you will have to pay extra for. Then there is fuel costs.
For the i8, this is complicated. It’ll do around 30 miles in pure EV mode and you could conceivably drive it around town without routinely using the petrol engine. Then it’s a supercar so the whole point is to really drive it at least occasionally.