Friday 14th June 2024

Is now the right time to buy an electric car? 

Mouthy Money Your Questions Answered panelist, John Rawlings, answers a reader’s question on the pros and cons of buying an electric car. 

Is now a good time to buy an electric car? Pictured: an electric car charging.

Q Is now the right time to buy an electric car, or should I wait for prices to come down? 

A When you’re buying an electric car (EV), it’s important to consider both the upfront cost and the running cost or cost of ownership. 

Our data shows that the upfront cost is already coming down. People buying new EVs on our site were paying on average just over £3,000 more for their vehicles six months ago than they are now.  

But it has been widely reported that heavy discounting is likely to remain, as car manufacturers face increasing pressure to hit ambitious EV sales targets set by the government. And we expect an influx of EVs from Chinese brands, which will be priced very competitively. 

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Generally speaking, electric cars cost less to run than petrol or diesel alternatives if you can charge one at home (don’t forget to explore grants towards the installation of your chargepoint) – especially if you get an EV specific tariff and are clever about it, such as by charging overnight.  

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Savings on fuel can add up to a huge amount over the lifetime of your car – and you’re likely to spend less on maintenance, as EVs have far fewer moving parts than petrol and diesel vehicles, so put simply, there’s less to look after. 

There are also incentives in place for the time being to encourage EV adoption. But exemption from road tax (and the £310-a-year Expensive Car Supplement for cars listed at more than £40,000) is something that’s being discontinued from April 2025. However, realistically incentives won’t be sustainable at scale as more and more people switch to electric; they’re about encouraging early adopters. 

Suffice to say that the market is in flux. There is no crystal ball we can use to say for certain exactly what will happen to the cost of an EV – both upfront and in-life. But there are attractive incentives to take advantage of now, from discounts on the list price to in-life benefits like road tax exemption and grants towards charging facilities. 

Our advice is that if an EV appeals to you – whether you’re motivated by doing right by the planet, or you’re interested in the latest tech – there are plenty of compelling reasons to go for it. But if you’re not sure, there’s no harm in hanging on. Ultimately we’ll all be driving one – it’s just a matter of when individuals make the right move for them. 

John Rawlings is consumer editor at Carwow, the online car-changing marketplace. John has been involved with the car industry for over 25 years, from starting as a journalist at Haymarket Publishing (reviewing cars for their towing ability as Deputy Editor of Practical Caravan) to working in the PR teams at Vauxhall, Volvo and Volkswagen. As Consumer Editor, John is responsible for writing news stories and articles to keep car buyers and owners informed and up to date on everything they need to know about using or choosing a new or used car. 

Photo credits: Pexels

Rebecca Goodman

Award-winning freelance journalist with a decade of experience working for online and print publications in the consumer sector.

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