The great news for the EV community is that electric cars price is dropping. One main reason is the announcement of Tesla Model 3 which is a high spec electric car, that will be priced modestly (35,000 USD or 26,500GBP ), when it is rolled out in 2017.
It should be noted that when the Nissan Leaf was launched, bulk of its price was its battery cost. In fact in 2010, the battery alone in leaf would cost US$18,000 (13, 706 GBP). The battery technology has since improved and the costs have come down.
Tesla will be producing their own batteries in their Gigafactory, meaning that despite the seemingly low cost of Model 3, there will still be a healthy profit margin. In this article low priced all electric cars have been listed in the order of decreasing price and are inclusive of Government Plug -in grant. Note that the prices may vary time to time and this guide should be used as a guidance but not a point of reference.
Ford Focus Electric
Price £24, 385
Ford entered the EV market late compared to its rivals. The Focus electric is a 5 door hatch back similar in shape and styling as its petrol and diesel counterparts. It houses a 24 kWh Lithium Ion battery and has a modest range of 72 miles (122 km) as measured by EPA. Boasting a 143 hp electric motor, it is very sharp and responsive in driving.
KIA Soul EV
KIA Soul EV is a compact crossover SUV that just like Focus Electric, gets its body and platform from its IC engine counterpart. This car has 30 kWh battery but has electric motor power rated 109 hp which compared to Ford electric is lower. Its range of 93 miles (150 km) however is superior. Since its launch, its sales have performed well both in European and American Market.
The Peugeot Ion is essentially Mitsubishi i-MiEV rebadged. It is a more compact car compared to the Focus electric and has a powertrain of only 63 hp. The ion’s battery pack has a capacity of 16 kWh which gives it a range of 99 miles. The combined sales of Ion, C-Zero and I-MiEV (all the same cars) made record sales as it was one of the first highway capable EV on the market (launched in 2009). Its sales volume however was later eclipsed by the Leaf.
The Volkswagen e-up is of a similar size as the Peugeot Ion. Unlike Ford and KIA, this is a purpose built EV from scratch. The battery pack is 18.7 kWh and the range is 93 miles. For its compact size its electric motor also packs a punch, with 81 bhp (electric motor). The standard and quality that is expected from a VW have been delivered in this car.
Being king of the EV market (in its class), the Nissan Leaf has been able to drive the cost down over the years through economy of scales. The new model has a 24 kWh battery that gives the Leaf a very healthy range of 107 miles. The electric motor also provides reasonable 107 hp, making it very responsive drive.
The cost of driving a Leaf are also extremely low. For each mile travelled, the leaf costs a mere £0.026. Compared that to a Toyota Corrolla ( petrol) which costs £0.09 per mile of travel, the Leaf is more than three times cheaper.
The Renault Zoe despite coming late to the party has managed to undercut the Leaf. Initially its sales were hampered by the option to only lease the battery pack. However, the battery pack can now be outright purchased. The Zoe carries a 22 kWh battery pack. Tested on a NEDC cycle, it delivers 130 miles. The 87 hp electric motor is also handful for a car of its size.
Most electric cars are still twice the price compared to their IC engine equivalent. As the price of battery comes down, so will the overall price. It should be noted that electric motors are far cheaper compared to a combustion engine. Furthermore they don’t require auxiliary systems like engine cooling, fuel tanks, turbo etc.
The running costs for electric cars are extremely low. Not only cost per mile is almost 3-4 times lower but also the servicing requirements are cheaper. Regenerative braking also has added to the efficiency. So one shouldn’t be surprised driving downhill an electric car and seeing number of miles remaining going up instead of coming down.
Nissan has suggested that the tipping point for electric cars is extremely close. The “tipping point” in the EV industry is a term frequently used for the time when electric car sales in volume would overtake IC engine car sales. In countries where EV infrastructure is almost fully laid out, like Norway and Denmark, the tipping point can be reached in a decade.
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