Should I buy an electric car?

Should I buy an electric car in 2024?

Recent EV market statistics have made one thing clear: the electrification of the UK’s roads is gaining momentum.

In January 2024, the millionth fully electric vehicle (EV) took to the road, whilst Zapmap reported that there were 55,301 public charge points in the UK, marking a 46% increase from January 2023.

Leading manufacturers such as Audi, Skoda, Volkswagen and Kia have all diversified their UK ranges with more electric models, providing more consumer choice than ever before. New EVs depreciate in value slower than comparable petrol and diesel – or Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) models, which means they can make a great investment.

So, is now the right time to make the switch?

In this guide, we will consider whether it’s worth buying an electric car in 2024. We’ll explore the personal and environmental benefits, the costs of EV ownership - and how battery life and charging infrastructure have improved over time.

Finally, we’ll share some pointers on what to consider when buying an EV for the first time.

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Personal and environmental benefits

  • EVs are better for the environment than traditional ICE vehicles, as they don’t utilise non-renewable fossil fuels or release CO2 into the atmosphere.
  • Globally, many governments are taking steps to transition towards an electric future for transport. Here in the UK, the Government currently offers road tax exemption for EV owners.
  • Following the success of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London, numerous local authorities have introduced their own chargeable emissions-based zones such as the Clean Air Zones (CAZs) and Low Emission Zones (LEZs) to improve local air quality.
  • These zones aim to encourage more drivers to switch to greener transport by levying charges on high-polluting vehicles travelling within them. EV owners can enjoy exemption from these daily charges.
  • EVs also offer great performance, power, torque and acceleration compared to many ICE models. They handle well too, as the batteries mounted in the chassis give them a low centre of gravity.

EV cost savings

  • EVs are generally cheaper to run than ICE models.
  • All EVs are exempt from road tax until April 2025.
  • EVs generally have better resale values than equivalent ICE models.
  • According to data from, the average cost to service an EV is just £103 - significantly cheaper than both petrol (£151) and diesel (£163).
  • When bought through a company car scheme, EVs are subject to lower rates of Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) tax than ICE vehicles.

Additional costs for EV owners

  • EV prices are significantly higher than comparable ICE models.
  • The Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) was withdrawn in April 2022 – and there are now no consumer incentives for EV buyers in the UK.
  • Insurance costs for EVs are typically higher, due to specialised repairs and expensive replacement parts.
  • Replacement EV batteries are very expensive. In January 2024, the average EV battery cost was around £7,235.
  • Purchasing and installing a home charge point can be costly. Government EV grants towards charger installation costs are available to business owners, landlords, flat tenants and owners. However, there are no longer grants available to those living in houses.

Can I afford an electric vehicle?

In 2024, affordability remains a key barrier to EV adoption for many consumers. However, there is some encouraging news for anyone aspiring to make the switch:

  • According to AA Cars data, prices for the top 20 most searched used EVs fell by 5.9% in Q4 of 2023, compared to Q4 in 2022.
  • The average price of the leading EV and hybrid models fell from £21,673 in Q4 2022 to £20,392 in Q4 2023.
  • Used EV stock levels increased 174% in January 2024, compared to the same month in 2023, outpacing consumer demand.
  • However, recent Indicata data suggests that used EV prices may now be levelling off.
  • If you want to switch to an EV but are working with a limited budget, you could consider an older used model.
  • Although the technology and styling are a little more dated, first generation EVs are still cheaper to run than many more modern ICE cars.

Please note: The cost to buy and install a 7kW home charger can run from £1,000-£2000, so you should factor this into your budget. However, charging your EV at a public chargepoint usually costs more than using a home charger.

EV battery life: Improvements over time

Launched in 2011, the first Nissan Leaf had a modest range of 73-107 miles, whilst its rival, the Renualt Zoe, which launched the following year managed around 130 miles.

Electric car battery life has improved considerably since those early days. Although many consumers still cite range anxiety as a barrier to EV adoption, it could be argued that modern EVs are practical for most requirements.

Prominent long-range EVs on today’s market include the Mercedes EQS (452 miles), Polestar 2 (406 miles) and the Tesla Model S (394 miles). In fact, the median range for all EVs now sits at 270 miles, marking an increase of 36 miles from 2022.

EV charging costs

If you work for a company with on-site EV charging facilities, you may benefit from free charging, at least some of the time. Scotland has 1,060 free-to-use public chargepoints (higher than any other area in the UK). South East England has 489, Greater London has 355 – and they are scarcer elsewhere.

Unfortunately, most EV owners will have to pay for the regular use of home and/or public charging facilities. What’s more, since the start of the energy crisis in summer 2021, high electricity prices have increased the cost of charging an electric car. However, the good news is, despite this increase, charging an EV is still (usually) much cheaper than filling an equivalent petrol or diesel model:

  • According to research from Octopus EV, in December 2023, fuelling a petrol or diesel car cost around 19-21p per mile.
  • Charging an EV costs as little as 3p per mile with a home charger, around 14p per mile with a lamppost charger and around 18p per mile when using a rapid public charger.
  • Whilst home charging is significantly cheaper, you will have to cover the cost of purchasing and installing a home charger, which typically runs between £1,000 and £2000 for a standard 7kw fast charging model.
  • If you are a landlord, flat tenant or owner, you may be eligible for a government grant to help with this cost.

When it comes to EV charging costs, there may be some good news on the horizon. Energy consultancy Cornwall Insight predicts that energy prices will fall by around 15% from April 2024. A reduction in energy prices would help to ease the costs of both home and public charging.

Cost to charge popular EVs

Here is a table showing charging costs for 10 popular EV models:


Cost of a full charge

Cost per 100 miles

Nissan Leaf

£4.80 - £27.60

£2.01 - £11.55

Mini Electric

£3.91 - £22.49

£2.70 - £15.51

Mercedes EQE 300

£10.80 - £62.10

£2.73 - £15.72

Audi Q4 e-tron

£6.60 - £37.95

£2.76 - £15.88
Smart #1   

£7.92 - £45.54

£2.90 - £16.68

Volkswagen ID.5

£9.24 - £53.13

£2.95 - £16.97

Ford Mustang Mach-E (SR)

£8.16 - £46.92

£2.99 - £17.19

Tesla Model 3 (SR)

£6.48 - £37.26

£3.01 - £17.33

Source: Car Magazine

Please note: Although it is not possible to charge an EV from 0-100%, this table shows the theoretical charging costs. The cost ranges show the variation between the cheapest home charging and the highest public rapid charging costs.

EV charging times: Home vs public chargers

Let’s compare the charge times for a standard 60kWh electric car battery with various chargers:

  • A slower 3.7kW home charger may take around 16 hours to charge from empty to full.
  • A 7kW model can manage this in just under 8 hours.
  • An 150kW ultra-rapid EV chargepoint can achieve a full charge in as little as 30 minutes.
  • The fastest ultra-rapid models can charge an EV to 80% in 10-15 minutes, whilst many of the rapid DC chargers manage this in 20 minutes to an hour.

EV charging availability

  • EV chargepoint availability in the UK is continually improving. According to the latest Zapmap data, in January 2024, there were 55,301 public charge points – 17,450 more than in January 2023.
  • There were also 10,541 rapid and ultra-rapid charging devices at public charge stations, marking an increase of 3,639 from the end of December 2022.

Different EV types and buyer considerations

There is a slew of quality EVs on today’s market, from budget-friendly hatchbacks and family cars to luxury and performance models. For an inexperienced EV buyer, the sheer choice may seem overwhelming!

To make things easier, we’ve collated a list of the variables you should consider when selecting the right EV for your needs and circumstances:


The higher cost of new EVs compared to equivalent petrol and diesel models remains a barrier for many consumers. Nevertheless, there are many excellent new EVs on the market for less than £30k, including:

  • MG 4 SE Long Range (from £29,495) - This all-electric hatchback offers an impressive 281-mile electric range. The innovative Active Grille System also regulates air flow into the front to help maximise battery range.
  • Nissan Leaf Acenta (from £28,995) - The latest iteration of the Leaf is a great, budget-friendly family EV, offering an electric range of 168 miles and clever tech such as lane departure warning, cruise control and emergency braking (with pedestrian recognition).
  • Citreon Ami (from £7,695) - With space for only one person and a top speed of 28mph, it’s arguable whether the Ami can truly be classified as an electric car. However, whilst unsuitable for motorways, the Ami can comfortably breeze through city centres and offers a range of up to 46 miles on a full charge. If you’re in the market for a quirky electric urban runabout, this is a great low-cost option.

If you expand your search to the second-hand car market, your options increase considerably:

  • If your car journeys tend to be local, a used first-generation EV such as the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe or Honda Fit EV could provide an affordable entry point to electric motoring. The first-generation Leaf, for example is listed for as little as £2,440 on car marketplace websites.
  • Whilst these models have shorter ranges than modern equivalents, they’re still cheaper to run than petrol and diesel cars.
  • You can also find some relatively modern used EVs for under £20k, including the Citroen e-C4, Fiat 500 Electric and Volkswagen ID.3.


If you’ll be driving your new EV every day, it needs to be practical for your lifestyle:

  • Large families may opt for a seven-seater SUV such as the Mercedes-Benz EQB or the Volvo EX90. Although the pool of seven-seater EVs is small and expensive, there are many great moderately-priced five-seater options, such as the Skoda Enyak IV and the BYD Attio 3.
  • As sports enthusiasts are less limited by space constraints, they have plenty of great options such as the luxurious Porsche Taycan, the agile Lotus Emira and the more versatile BMW i4.
  • Finally, if your employer offers a company car perk, opting for an EV could save you a considerable amount of money on tax.
  • Benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax on an EV is just 2% of the list price – compared to a maximum of 22% or 37% for the highest polluting petrol and diesel models.
  • Popular executive EVs include the Tesla Model 3, Volkswagen ID 7 and Hyundai Ioniq 8.

Driving habits

You should also take your regular driving habits into consideration when selecting the right EV for your needs. For instance, if you regularly make business trips all around the country, you’re better off prioritising range over sporty performance.

If your regular trips are shorter, you may be able to get by with a modest range of 200 miles or less.

For low mileage drivers that aren’t quite ready to go fully electric, a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) could be the ideal compromise. A PHEV is a type of electric car that can run independently on an electric motor or a combustion engine.

Many PHEVs have electric ranges between 40 and 84 miles, which would allow most drivers to complete their daily commute on electric power alone.

The long-term benefits of buying an EV

Despite some higher upfront costs, buying an EV today could prove to be a great investment. Here are some of the key long-term benefits of EV ownership.

  • By driving an EV, you’ll be helping to lower CO2 emissions and protect our environment.
  • EVs depreciate slower than most ICE models and tend to have great resale values.
  • Today’s EVs are more ‘future proof’ than ICE cars, which will be phased out of the new car market entirely by 2035.
  • You’ll avoid daily urban emissions-based charges from schemes such as the CAZs and the London ULEZ.
  • The public EV charger network will continue to expand, providing faster, more convenient charging.

Tips for buying an EV

  • Ask for a test drive - Before committing to buying a particular EV, you should spend a little time behind the wheel. Pay attention to the styling, comfort, performance and manoeuvrability.

  • Consider whether it meets your day-to-day driving requirements. Start with a full charge and assess the battery health: does it align with the manufacturer-claimed figure?

  • Don’t fall for the first EV you like right away. Try out several models within your price range and don’t rush your decision.

  • Ask for opinions from any family members who will be travelling with you on a regular basis. It’s better to hear their concerns now rather than after you’ve bought a car they don’t like!

  • EV repairs can be expensive, so make sure you choose a car with a warranty that suits you.

  • If you are buying a used EV, an approved used model can provide additional peace of mind, as they come with warranties.

Should I buy an electric car?

Ultimately, the decision on whether you should buy an electric car depends on your priorities, budget and personal motoring requirements.

If you’re interested in taking the EV plunge and have the funds to do so, now is a great time to make the switch. You’ll be able to recover some of your investment through savings on car tax and running costs whilst enjoying all the benefits of a zero-emission motor.

Of course, if you can’t justify buying an EV right now, simply biding your time and waiting for prices to fall a little could be a smart option. Over the next few years, we can expect to see further improvements to EV technology and infrastructure, while electric motoring becomes more practical and affordable than ever.

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