Making Cents: Is buying an electric car going to save me money?

The SEAI is calling on motorists in the market for a new car to seriously consider making the change to an electric vehicle
Making Cents: Is buying an electric car going to save me money?

The total cost of an electric vehicle over 10 years is €1077 less than a petrol car.

While we understand the importance of doing the right things to help the environment, when it comes to making major decisions like buying a car, the financial implications tend to play a bigger role in our decision.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the authority tasked with helping householders, businesses, communities and government create a cleaner energy future, understands this. It is calling on motorists in the market for a new car to seriously consider making the change to an electric vehicle (EV) in 2021 and highlighting the financial incentives in place as well as the significantly reduced running costs.

“If you’re thinking about getting a new car this year, then make sure you test drive an EV first,” Declan Meally, Head of Transport and Communities with SEAI said. “You’ll probably be very surprised at the great driving experience. There are now EVs to suit most driving needs, they will save you money and they are helping to change Ireland’s energy use for the better.

“Plus there are more than 1,200 public and destination EV charge points are available, with more being introduced all the time.” 

First, the financial incentives the SEAI currently provides supports to encourage uptake of EVs are considerable. Government grants, administered by SEAI, for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) were first introduced in 2011. Coupled with VRT relief, the grant helps to substantially bridge the current price difference between EVs and traditional petrol or diesel cars, making them more accessible to all drivers.

People buying an EV may be eligible for A grant of up to €5,000 to support the private purchase of an M1 category passenger electric vehicle, e.g. cars, people carriers.

People buying an EV may be eligible for A grant of up to €5,000
People buying an EV may be eligible for A grant of up to €5,000

A grant of up to €3,800 to support the commercial purchase of an N1 category light commercial electric vehicle, e.g. light vans and trucks.

A grant of up to €600 to support the purchase and installation of a home charging unit The SEAI acknowledges that the initial purchase price of EVs is higher than their petrol or diesel counterparts but points out that ‘with Government grants and tax incentives, the EV price difference is relatively small’.

“People can tend to underestimate the running costs of a petrol or diesel vehicle, you can save up to 70% on fuel costs annually by switching to electric vehicles,” the authority adds. 

“When you factor in the generous Government incentives it turns out that EVs make real economic sense, costing the same or even less than a petrol or diesel car.” 

The SEAI did a 10-year cost of ownership comparison for 4/5-seater saloon, comparing a 1.0l petrol car with a battery EV, both Hyundai. After grants and VRT relief, the purchase price of the EV was a little over €10,000 more expensive than the petrol car.

But over the next 10 years, the petrol car owner can expect to pay almost €12,000 in petrol costs (to travel 18,000km per annum) while the EV will cost just under €2300 to cover the same mileage. Add in motor tax differences (the EV is less expensive) and the reduced cost of maintenance and the SEAI estimates that the total cost of the EV over 10 years is €1077 less than the petrol car. If you do higher mileage, you can expect to save even more in reduced running costs.

“When you factor in the generous Government incentives it turns out that EVs make real economic sense, costing the same or even less than a petrol or diesel car,” the SEAI says. 

“While the market was limited a few years ago, the EV market is moving fast with suitable options for virtually every driver and every journey type. There are new models entering the market all the time and most mainstream manufacturers having very exciting offerings. There are more than 60 models on SEAI’s grant eligible list and the choice is expanding every month.” 

Ecocommerce store

Refurbed, a fast-growing online marketplace for refurbished electronic devices in Europe, has officially launched its ecommerce store for Ireland, at Refurbed.ie.

The Refurbed service, which offers a range of over 8,000 products, launched with 120 of their most popular products, with a view to expanding the available range over the coming months.

The catalogue of products ranges from smartphones to laptops and tablets from brands such as Apple, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo and Huawei. 

Refurbed offers completely refurbished electronic devices in the region of 40% cheaper than similar new devices. These are products that are overhauled and undergo a 40 step refurbishment process. For those environmentally conscious customers, a refurbishment creates 70% less CO2 than the creation of a new electronic device.

Refurbed is a CO2 negative and an environmentally positive organisation - for every product sold, Refurbed plants a tree to offset carbon emissions created during the refurbishing process. The trees are planted in countries such as Haiti, Madagascar, Kenya, Indonesia and Mozambique or Nepal through their partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects.

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