• Are electric cars already cheaper to run than petrol or diesel?
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Are electric cars already cheaper to run than petrol or diesel?

The good news just seems to keep on coming for fans of alternative energy vehicles - in the wake of a series of recent announcements by national governments of impending bans on diesels, it now seems that electric vehicles are also becoming an increasingly affordable option.

Lower running costs

Here at Big Motoring World we were certainly intrigued to read news of a recent piece of research that suggests that it is now cheaper to own and run an electric car than a petrol or diesel in the UK, US or Japan. It's worth pointing out that part of the cost differential is down to government support for electric vehicles - customers who buy pure electric cars receive a sales subsidy of around £5,000 in the UK and Japan and £6,500 in the US - but the difference in running costs is still impressive. Pure electric cars are considerably cheaper to run in terms of fuel - as electricity is cheaper than petrol or diesel - and their simple engines are also more straightforward to repair. The research shows that in the UK the running costs of a pure electric were 10% less a year than for a petrol or diesel. The report explains that this low running cost is now a key driver behind booming electric car sales - electric cars are expected to overtake diesels some time in 2019, and are already up by 37% against a fall of 30% in diesels.

Investment required

So, it's all good news for those of you who are thinking of investing in an electric vehicle - but there is a word of caution from the RAC, who expect that governments won't put up with a loss in fuel duty revenue for long. And despite a recent announcement that the Government is investing a further £200m to back electric vehicles, the RAC also stress that for the growth in electric sales to be sustained there needs to be further investment in infrastructure to support the new technology. "Cost [of ownership] isn’t everything,” says Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation. “Practicality and usability are key. We need a public charging network that is extensive, reliable and offers recharging at the speeds car owners require.” It remains to be seen if the Government’s backing for electric vehicles continues to deliver lower costs and a practical alternative to petrol and diesel for customers – so watch this space.