EV’s: Are they better & cheaper than Petrol or Diesel Cars

March 22, 2017

Today, the majority of us are looking to do our bit for the environment through our everyday actions. Many of us now recycle, lift share, and have even ditched the aerosol cans, more than not, people are actively doing something to help in the conservation of our surroundings. One thing that is definitely becoming increasingly available and popular is the use of electric vehicles. As awareness of issues concerning the environment grow so does the interest in ways in which to protect and conserve. Environmentally-minded motorists are showing a marked interest in increasing the use of vehicles that say no to the use of fossil fuels and their associated carbon emissions.

The rise of the EV

The rise of the electric vehicle (EV) is apparent across all channels, from premium high end vehicles such as Tesla’s Model S, which will set you back about £66,000, to everyday commuters, such as the Nissan LEAF which would set you back about £20,000. Electric vehicles have even been making a pretty notable appearance in public transport, especially across Europe, one of the strongest advocates for this is an Amsterdam based company named Taxi-E which runs on a fleet of LEAF’s, the firm’s drivers have so far covered 434,000 mile and Zurich is set to follow suit! Police forces across the UK have been trialling the use of electric cars too, the Met Police service in South West London have been using the BMW i3 range. Since this, Scotland Yard have launched their ‘Green Revolution’ with a plan to put 250 alternative energy vehicles into their fleet over the next year and this eco-conscious approach is being adopted by police forces across the country. There has even been examples of autonomous driving in electric vehicles too, earlier in March Nissan had a driverless LEAF hit the streets of London, all to prove that automotive technology is really stepping up, 2017 is going to be a big year. But, let’s keep this relevant and simple, we are here to talk about the ‘everyday’ electric car, in this case the Nissan LEAF. The main basis for the use of an electric car is the environment, right? Well yes. The environment is definitely a key factor but in this day and age there is a lot more that needs to be taken into account which is what we’ll be looking at in this article.


Road tax

It makes sense financially when taking into account the new VED regulations which start on March 1st. Previously the government wanted to promote the use of lower emission petrol and diesel vehicles, and they did this by introducing substantially lower road tax to those with low outputs of CO2. Now, with the development in manufacturing technology, most cars are low emission and so the government have found there to be quite a deficit in road tax income. To fix this they are introducing new Road Tax rules, which mean a much higher cost for low emission and even hybrid cars. The only cars that will be non-taxable will be fully electric vehicles, so for example the LEAF will incur NO Road Tax! The financial side of it doesn’t stop there either, the government will be giving funding and bursaries towards the purchase of fully electric vehicles with bursaries of up to 35% available, after all they are pretty expensive when compared to the purchase price of their fossil fuel run siblings, and fully electric vehicles are also completely exempt from the London congestion fees!

Beat The Tax Man: 1st April 2017


Insurance is a legal requirement with an electric car, as with any other vehicle on the road! So, what is electric car insurance? Well, it is there for the same concepts of protection against damages and accidents. An electric vehicle does operate completely differently though, there are a few aspects that are different so cover does vary from that of a diesel and petrol car such as:

  • The cost of specialist parts
  • Repairs will be more specialised and will have to be done by a mechanic who is part of this specialist aspect
  • Expensive batteries that may need fixing or replacing
  • There is also perhaps a higher risk to pedestrians due to their quiet running

When looking for electric car insurance many of us feel in the dark. Is there a different premium for this type of cover? How do the policies differ from standard policies? Will leasing the battery have an impact on the cover?

It was the general consensus that electric insurance would be more due to the intricate technology, this is a problem that young drivers have been coming across as premiums rise with the increase in fancy in car tech but you’ll be happy to hear that some insurers actually offer discounted car insurance for electric cars! This is most probably down to the fact that electric cars tend to be smaller and less powerful and therefore safer. Some firms are even offering to plant trees or donate to a green charity to really offset any pollution caused by your car! Some Insurers are looking to reward the eco-drivers, a great initiative that will hopefully be picked up by all! Insurers have also been seen to put electric cars in a higher insurance group though, compared to their petrol and diesel counterparts. For example the LEAF is a slightly more expensive vehicle to buy, repair or replace compared to their diesel and petrol counterparts. Here are some factor to consider and to take into consideration when looking through your insurance quotes:

  • Some insurers offer discount to eco-drivers
  • Some insurers offer further offset as part of their deal eg. planting trees or donating to green charities
  • Electric cars are more expensive to buy, repair and replace compared to their diesel and petrol counterparts, therefore are often in a higher insurance group
  • A lot of insurers base the quote on the actual driver profile. Environmentally aware individuals are often seen as less of a risk and more responsible and therefore less of a risk
  • Electric cars tend to be smaller and less powerful than petrol and diesel vehicles, both are factor that will bring down the quote
  • Most importantly ALWAYS shop around, different providers will have different approaches

When looking at insurance cost it’s important to remember some surrounding influences. Here are some key factors that will influence the cost of an EV and we’d recommend you take into account when looking at insurance options for electric cars:

Battery cover and Leased Batteries

The cost of the battery is taken away from the purchase and you lease it separately. The battery packs tend to be the part of the car that most customers worry about replacing due their price so the Leasing option means you’ll never have to fork out for a whole new battery and acts as a bit of a safety net though many long term users have found that, of charged and discharged properly the batteries maintain good condition. If you lease the battery from the manufacturer you must inform your insurer when looking for a quote and you must also really look into the details of how the manufacturer deals with leasing details. You must also be aware, that as with leasing or PCP with a car, you will be tied into a contract (normally three years) and your mileage will be restricted and that you must be able to carry on with an added monthly cost.

Power Cables

It is an unavoidable eventuality that an electric car will need charging, and this will involve running a cable to the battery. This could potentially be a tripping hazard so it is definitely worth finding out from your insurer if sufficient liability cover is part of your prospective policy.

The 100% electric Nissan Leaf available at West Way Nissan

Read the small print

When shopping around for insurance it is pretty standard practice, understandably, to think the cheapest policy is the right policy. It is important to look at your T’s & C’s though, this is where you could get caught out. You need to ensure that limitations are not applied to your policy and that it covers any eventuality that you feel you may come across.


To give you an idea of what exactly you’d be getting from your EV, in this case a LEAF, here is a table of comparisons. The cars that we have chosen to compare the LEAF against are the same class but they all have Petrol or Diesel engines.

Nissan Leaf

Ford Focus Vauxhall Astra VW Golf
  24KW 1.5 TDCi 1.4 Ecotec 1.2 TSi
Boot Capacity (Litres)





Power (BHP)





0-62 mph (seconds)





CO2 emissions (g/km)





Road tax cost over 3 years





Fuel Cost per mile





Insurance Group





London Congestion charge


£11.50 per day

£11.50 per day

£11.50 per day

Standard Spec





Automatic Air-Con


Manual air-con only

Manual air-con only

Manual air-con only






Front and Rear Electric Windows


Front electric windows only



Front Fog lights





Push button start





 To EV or to not EV

It seems that when it come down to actually answering the question of an electric vehicle the answers are not a simple yes or no. You need to look into what you want from the vehicle and although they may cost more, electric cars are cheaper to run and incur much lower tax rates, it is soon offset by lower running costs. Electric vehicles are no longer in their infancy, they are coming on fast and strong, and with this comes more of an understanding and more of prediction of performance and so, rather than viewing electric car insurance as a ‘specialist’ area, it will soon become the norm. As we’ve seen, electric vehicles are becoming part of the institutions that rely on transport, with fleets of taxis and police forces becoming fully electric. And with popularity and growing numbers of EV’s on the road comes a levelling out of insurance costs. Though a lot of the insurance cost is actually down to the greater value and more expensive repair costs, comparison shopping is definitely a must! You will find so many different options as well as quotations. It is worth bearing in mind that where battery cost is concerned it is likely that, by the time a battery pack needs to be released, technology will have come on even more so prices may drop. Just look at how far car tech has come in the past year and remember that your battery will, with correct care and use, last for quite a few years! Here are some of the reasons to get an EV:

  • Exempt from VED
  • Exempt from the London congestion charge
  • Fuel cost per a mile is MUCH cheaper. 2p per mile to be exact
  • Low service cost due to few moving parts
  • ZERO CO2 emissions
  • Good for the environment
  • EV’s are becoming the norm
  • New tech means that specifications are keeping up with their petrol and diesel competitors
  • They may cost slightly more but you’ll  make it back in running costs
  • Saving the environment!

So, yes to EV! As well as making a massive difference to the environment you’re also part of a revolution of vehicles! The future is definitely filled with electric cars and the present is getting there. Where there may be some costs that are higher due their technology there are also factors that ethically outweigh any cost – the environment being a key focus. So, why not have a look at the options we have available for purchasing and owning a LEAF for yourself.

Electric vs Petrol or Diesel In Its Car Class