Cars & Garages > Stories

Electric cars now have better range than petrol or diesel vehicles

Patrick Christys
Oct 15, 2019


Gone are the days of watching electric car drivers sitting still on the side of the road, bemoaning the fact their attempt to save the planet has made them four hours late.

In fact, the highest performing electric cars now have triple the driving range of their diesel or petrol counterparts.

Car review website Parkers worked out how far a car could travel on a single pound, regardless of whether it was a pound of petrol, diesel or electricity.

The study found Britain's most efficient electric cars, the 2019 first edition Kia e-Niro and the 65kW Renault Zoe, which has been around since 2012, did 33.1 miles per pound of electricity you charge them up with.

The standard range version of Tesla's much-hyped Model 3 came in third place, and was found to do 32.3 mpp.

By comparison, the most economical version of the UK's best-selling car the Ford Fiesta was found to do just 9.3 mpp, making it potentially almost four times more expensive to run.

Electric cars are considerably more expensive to purchase than their petrol or diesel rivals, however. 

Even the UK's most efficient and cheapest to run petrol and diesel models, the Honda Civic Saloon and the Ford Focus, both did 10.8 mpp.

Parkers worked out the cost based on home charging prices rather than the price of public charge points, which it said was because these costs can wildly vary.

Parkers said that with the average UK motorist driving around 7,150 miles a year, it would cost them £216 to charge the two most efficient electric models from home.

The Ford Fiesta, under the same calculations, would cost £768, a big difference.

It based the price of electricity on the cost per kilowatt hour on 'a domestic tariff', and based petrol and diesel costs on the AA Fuel Price Reports. 

In its report issued at the end of September, the motoring organisation said the average price of unleaded was 127.7p per litre, and diesel 131.4p per litre.

Of course, the price of electricity tariffs can also vary wildly.

Parkers said it launched the pricing metric as a point of comparison as the electric vehicle market continues to grow.

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, sales of battery electric cars rose 122 per cent in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period last year, despite new car sales down 2.5 per cent overall.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps also hinted at the Tory party conference that the 2040 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars could be brought forward to 2035, in an effort to further accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles.

He said: 'As you may know, we've already committed to ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

'However, if we're to become the world-leader in green technology, we must always be looking to expand our ambitions.'

However, the SMMT said the move to low carbon transport was a huge task given how low and zero-emission vehicles still only make up a fraction of the market.

The editor of Parkers, Keith Adams, said: 'We created miles per pound as a way of demystifying the running costs of electric vehicles because above and beyond their range, and how long they take to charge, there is little uniformity in how carmakers express just how much energy these cars use.

'Taking fuelling costs into account, monthly costs for internal combustion engine cars and electric vehicles are much closer than the gap in list price might suggest.

'While it's easy to be put off at the price of an electric car, when you look at it from a monthly costs perspective the prospect is all the more attractive.

'The running costs are low, there is zero road tax and, from next year, zero company car tax, too.'

The 10 most efficient electric, petrol and diesel cars
Electric (Miles per pound)  Petrol/Diesel (Miles per pound) 
Kia e-Niro First Edition (33.1mpp) Honda Civic Saloon 1.6i DTEC (D) (10.8mpp)
Renault Zoe 65kW (33.1mpp)  Ford Focus 1.5 EcoBlue (D) – (10.8mpp) 
Tesla Model 3 Standard Range (32.3mpp)  Honda Jazz S 1.3 i-VTEC (P) (10.3mpp) 
Volkswagen e-Golf (30.8mpp)  Dacia Logan MCV Blue dCi 95 (D) (10.3mpp) 
BMW i3 (30.0mpp)  Kia Ceed 1.6 CRDi (D) (10.1mpp) 
BMW i3S (29.2mpp)  Suzuki Celerio 1.0 Dualjet (P) (10.1mpp) 
Tesla Model S Long Range (30.0mpp)  Dacia Sandero Stepway Blue dCi 95 (D) (9.9mpp) 
Nissan Leaf 62kWh (26.9mpp)  Mercedes-Benz A 180 d (D) (9.3mpp) 
Smart EQ Fortwo Coupe (26.9mpp)  Mercedes-Benz B 180 d (D) (9.1mpp) 
Tesla Model X Long Range (24.6mpp)  Citroen C3 Aircross BlueHDi 100 (D) (9.1mpp) 
Source: Parkers.co.uk 

When did you last switch your car insurance provider?

Last year 65% of customers didn't switch their car insurance to try and get a better deal.