What are the pros and cons of buying an electric car?

Over 300,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were registered in 2021, a 77% increase compared to the year before. That figure is only likely to get bigger as the government bans the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030. But if your current car needs an upgrade now, should you make the switch to an EV sooner rather than later? Here, we take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of buying an electric car so that you can decide for yourself.

Pros of buying an electric car

Zero emissions

Needless to say, one of the greatest benefits is that EVs emit zero emissions. This makes them more environmentally friendly to drive compared to cars that have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and that run on petrol or diesel.

Zero car tax

Currently, EVs are exempt from car tax (or vehicle excise duty, VED). However, that will change in April 2025 when the exemption is lifted, meaning that EV owners will have to start paying car tax too. So, if you want to enjoy a couple of years of no car tax, now is probably a good time to switch to an EV.

Less maintenance

EVs don’t have as many moving parts as petrol or diesel cars so there are fewer components to replace once worn. In fact, energy firm EDF, suggest that EV maintenance costs could be up to 50% less compared to an ICE car.

Cheaper to run

Our research found that driving an EV could save you around 10p per mile compared to driving a petrol or diesel car. For the average driver, that could mean saving more than £600 each year in fuel costs.


Electric cars are almost silent, so for the driver, passengers and for the public, it can be a welcome change to noisy engines. Power from the motor also goes directly to the wheels so EVs are responsive and quick to accelerate.

Another bonus is that thanks to where the battery is positioned, and the fact that the motor is smaller than an engine, EVs also tend to have more space for both passengers and storage.

Cons of buying an electric car

Range and charge anxiety

Range anxiety is the fear that your EV will run out of battery before it gets to its destination, while charge anxiety is the fear that you might not be able to charge it even when you get to a charging station.

These twin worries are very much genuine concerns of many EV owners but in reality, as long as you plan long journeys, you should be ok. There are actually more places to charge your EV than there are petrol stations, and hundreds of charge points are being added every month. Plus, there are several EV apps that also provide live updates, so you know exactly what’s working and where.

Charging time

The amount of time it will take to charge up your EV will ultimately depend on its battery size, the charge point and how much you want to charge it up to. Broadly, it can take anything from half an hour to overnight.

The vast majority of EV owners charge their cars overnight using a home charge point, so for day to day errands, charging isn’t really an inconvenience. But if you’re going on a longer journey and need to charge your car, remember to factor this in and plan suitable stops along your route.

Buy price

EVs might cost a little less to maintain in the long-run but they’ll set you back considerably more in the first place. On average, a brand-new EV costs around £50,000 but you can also pick up models for around £22,000, while top-end EVs can cost well over £100,000.

But while initial purchase prices are higher, depreciation is slightly slower compared to ICE cars. Although it’s true that previously, EVs struggled to hold their value, a large part of this was due to the electric car market being relatively small. The technology was also still in its infancy and range was limited.

Now that the market is becoming more mainstream, EVs are holding their values much better than before. Some experts suggest that EVs retain as much as 48% of their value after three years. In comparison, petrol and diesel cars retain around 40%.

Potentially still charging with fossil fuels

EVs might be zero emission while they’re being driven, but they might not be so green while they’re being charged. Unless you’re on a green tariff and your energy comes exclusively from renewables, you could be charging your car with electricity that comes from fossil fuels. This in itself is not necessarily enough of a con to stop you buying an EV, but it’s a point worth thinking about if the environment is one of your main reasons for switching to one.

Find out more about EVs before making the switch

When you buy a car, there’s a lot to think about, regardless of whether it’s fuelled by petrol, diesel or electricity. To help you with your homework, we’ve put together an EV hub with handy guides covering the most popular models, as well as the best electric cars for families and for range.

We’ve also put together research that looks at the average cost to buy and charge an EV, along with real-life studies showing how batteries might deteriorate. Plus, don’t forget that we’ve teamed up with Quotezone, so that you can compare EV insurance here too.


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