Should I already buy an electric car? Keys to know the right time

The offer in the electric car market has never been more buoyant than at present. And although for the moment, most of the offer is focused on high-end models (Audi, Jaguar, Tesla) and more affordable models are starting to arrive on the market, such as the Hyundai Kona EV. And of course in 2019 there should even be more in the market with the arrival of, for example, the Volkswagen ID and Tesla Model 3.

buy an electric car

Why buy an electric car?

Leaving aside passionate considerations (you like the car and want that model) and ethics (zero emissions of your car), because there is no possible discussion, it is important to take into account the reasons that can lead you to consider the purchase of an electric car.

If the purchase is motivated by a matter of savings, an electric can be a good alternative. On average, the cost of an electric car can be up to 50% more efficient, in economic terms, than a car with an internal combustion engine.

And although the initial cost of the purchase is higher with respect to an equivalent gasoline or diesel model, once exceeded 50,000 km on average (it will depend on the chosen car), the savings are more than evident. Even with a renting or leasing formula, it makes up for it.

Now, there are a series of conditions to take into account:

  1. A point of charge at home is essential
  2. How many kilometers do I make per year?
  3. How are my trips?

buy an electric car

A point of charge at home is essential

Currently, one cannot consider buying an electric car like buying any other car. Due to the delay of our country in freight infrastructures, there are a series of conditions to be taken into account to know if the purchase of an electric car suits our needs or not.

The first is that we must have a recharge point in our home. Or in any case we should be able to install one. And you do not need to have your own garage in a detached house for that. If we have a communal parking space, a loading point can be installed.

However, if your car is going to sleep on the street, I’m sorry to tell you that you should still wait a few years before buying an electric car. There are alternatives, of course, but essentially in large cities and above all it is not a really practical situation; would greatly condition your mobility.

How many kilometers do I make per year?

The first thing we should ask is how many kilometers do we travel per year. As with the eternal dilemma of gasoline or diesel, between an electric and a gasoline everything is a matter of mileage. The more kilometers we are going to do with the car, the more we will pay for it.

An electric car is, depending on the model, between 5,000 and 13,000 dollars more expensive than its equivalent with a gasoline engine. The higher price must be able to compensate with the fuel savings. Of course, to be noticed we have to travel at least 20,000 km a year. For example, in a car that spends 13 kWh / 100 km compared to a gasoline of 6 l / 100 km (average consumption of a utility), the cost would be 1.30 dollars per 100 km for the electric (valley rate) versus at 7.80 dollars the 100 km of gasoline (1.30 dollars per liter).

buy an electric car

By making a simple calculation we can determine how many kilometers we must do to get us to account. As an example, we will use the same model that is available with both combustion engine and 100% electric version. Although the reality of the market is very different, then who is considering buying an electric for the first time comes from a very different type of car. For example if you are thinking of a Nissan Leaf maybe your current model is a Citroën C4 Picasso, an Opel Insignia or a Nissan Qashqai (the equivalent of the Leaf in the Nissan range). But to make it clearer, let’s compare two apparently identical cars. In this case the Hyundai Kona.

The Hyundai KONA EV is available with two power levels. On the one hand we have the 135 hp version with Tecno finish that costs 37,500 dollars and on the other hand the 204 hp that costs 40,500 dollars with Tecno finish and that goes up to 43,300 dollars with Style finish. We do not count the cost of loading point because it is very variable (it is installed by independent companies, depends on the house or parking, necessary work, etc. and its cost can range from 800 to 2,000 dollars). In front and the closest by power we have the Kona 1.6 CRDI (diesel) of 136 hp for 29,450 dollars and the Kona 1.6 T-GDI (gasoline) of 177 hp for 25,658 dollars with Style finish.

Between the Kona EV of 135 CV and its equivalent with thermal engine, the gasoline of 136 CV, the EV is 8.050 dollars more expensive. If we go to the top of the range with the Kona EV 204 hp compared to the Kona 1.6 T-GDI of 177 hp, the electric is 14,882 dollars more expensive.

buy an electric car

The savings in terms of consumption can be seen clearly from the first kilometers, although it is not as evident as we can believe. To travel 20,000 km with the Kona EV of 135 CV will cost us a total of 355, 20 dollars (approved consumption of 14.8 kWh and average price of kWh of 0.12 dollars), while with the 1.6 CRDI, we will have spent an average of 1,274 dollars dollars in diesel (4.9 l / 100 km of average consumption approved equivalent to 980 liters in total and starting from the base of a diesel to 1.30 dollars per liter).

To travel those same 20,000 km with the Kona EV of 204 CV would cost us 364.80 dollars (average consumption of 15.2 kWh at 0.12 dollars per kWh), while with the Kona 1.6 T-GDI 177 CV, whose average consumption homologated is 7 l / 100 km, it would cost us a total of 1,890 dollars.

However, saving significantly in fuel does not mean that the car can be amortized quickly. For this it is necessary to calculate the cost per kilometer. Normally, to make an exact calculation of the cost per kilometer of a car it is necessary to take into account the insurance price, the cost of the possible financing, the maintenance costs and / or revisions foreseen by the manufacturer, as well as the wear and tear of the consumables (tires, brake pads, clutch if equipped, etc). But for us to make an idea we will only use the purchase cost (price rate) and consumption, which is what most of us can easily quantify.

In the following table we will see that the advantage of the Kona EV 135 CV against the Kona 1.6 diesel of 136 HP disappears, because it does not compensate the surcharge of 8,050 dollars until having traveled 223,612 km. In the case of the two most powerful versions, the difference is somewhat lower, because the extra cost of the Kona EV 204 hp compared to 177 hp gasoline is amortized after traveling 195,045 km.

How are my trips?

If we use the car for more than moving very sporadically and with more than 7,500 km per year over four years, we can compensate for the purchase of an electric car. Now we must take into account the type of route we take. The more urban journeys we make, the more important an electric one is, especially a model like the Renault ZOE or the Volkswagen e-Golf.

buy an electric car

Obviously it is possible to make great trips with a Nissan Leaf, for example, or even a BMW i3, but the excessively long recharge times with respect to refueling and the refill points still very scarce in our country, will greatly condition your travels (and in some cases you cannot do it). Even with a Tesla there are certain limitations although it is possible to cross the Iberian Peninsula from end to end at the wheel of a Tesla.

In other words, if you use the car especially to go to town or on holiday, for example, and that destination is more than 300 km away, it is still not the time to buy an electric car. The autonomies of the electric ones have increased remarkably, but at the moment the infrastructure with load points does not follow that evolution.

Geographical area

Let’s be clear, even if not everyone likes it. Currently, an electric car is essentially a vehicle for urban use. Yes you can travel at the wheel of an electric, especially if it is a Tesla, but without a load point at home there are some areas in which driving an electric car is an act of faith and vindication. Just take a look at the map of Electromaps to see that outside the large agglomerations, charging points are scarce. And those that do not always work, unfortunately.

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