ICE, PHEV or Pure-EV

(Internal Combustion Engine, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (like my GTE!) or a pure Electric only Vehicle)

I have been playing around with a few figures relating to the overall costs of running these three different vehicles and trying to compare them – it is a difficult task! Here is what I have done so far, comments and ideas are welcome:


The cost of charging an EV battery depends on the size of the battery, how depleted the battery is and how quickly you charge it. As a guide, charging a pure-electric car from flat to full will cost from as little as £1.00 to £4.00. This is for a typical pure-EV with a 24kWh battery which will offer around 100 miles range.

This means the average cost of ‘fuel’ will be approximately £0.03 per mile. Similar costs will apply to PHEVs and E-REVs, and because the batteries are smaller, it will cost less to charge them. See also the figures in table 2.

In some cases it may be possible to charge overnight and take advantage of cheaper electricity rates. Other options include charging from domestic solar panels. At this time it is calculated that the total cost of ownership of an electric car is similar to an ICE because of the additional purchase costs. However, this will change and if other advantages are included such as congestion charges (currently £11.50 per day in London for ICE but zero for EVs), the EV will be significantly cheaper in the longer term.

Table 1 Comparison of costs

Term, mileage, fuel cost ICE Pure-EV PHEV Notes
Annual mileage 10,000 10,000 10,000
Cost of fuel (£/gallon or £kW/h) £5.70 £0.05 £5.70 / £0.05 Electricity (£/kWh) average standard/cheap/solar used for calculation
Official combined cycle mpg 68 mpg 150 Wh/km 166 mpg Electricity consumption (Wh/km)
‘Real world‘ mpg 50 mpg 175 Wh/km0.28 kWh/mile 100 mpg *1 Real world consumption
Total fuel costs £1,140 £140 £570 (annual miles * fuel cost / mpg)(annual miles * fuel cost * kWh/mile)
Vehicle cost information        
Purchase price £28,000 £34,000 £35,000 Estimates based on current list prices
Plug-in car grant -£5,000 -£5,000 A grant to reduce cost by 25% (up to £5,000)
Net purchase price £28,000 £29,000 £30,000
Depreciation cost/year £8,400 £8,700 £9,000 30% used – this will vary however
Residual value £19,600 £21,300 £21,000
Service, maintenance and repair £190 £155 £190 Based on average of published figures.
Other information        
Vehicle Excise Duty and Registration Fee £30 £0 £0
TOTAL COST £9,760 £8,995 £9,760 Per year

Important note: the figures used in this table are ‘best guesses’ but none-the-less give a reasonable comparison. The bottom line is that the three cars have broadly the same overall total cost even though the Pure-EV and the PHEV have much lower fuel costs. The key factor will be how the depreciation cost of the EVs pan out. However, over subsequent years the fuel savings associated with the EVs will become more significant.

Being able to programme EVs to charge during the night will allow drivers to take advantage of cheaper electricity prices, whilst using any surplus electricity. In addition, the development of smart metering systems which can automatically select charging times and tariffs can also help to manage demand on the grid. The National Grid manages the grid on a second by second basis to ensure that supply and demand are met and to indicate to the market if there is a shortfall or surplus of power.

*1 Very much depends on the length of journey – an average value was used

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