At Total Motion we have been a pioneer in studying the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and alternative fuel vehicles since 2004. At this time, such vehicles were treated with derision and most people wouldn’t take them seriously in terms of providing a realistic and practical alternative to the internal combustion engine (ICE) and petrol or diesel vehicles. This was mainly due to poor driving range and performance, but we could see the value in developing this technology and the potential that a few years of research and innovation could deliver.
Right now, the EV is making a dramatic impact on the global vehicle market. Sales of EVs finally overtook diesel vehicles in 2021, and with UK production of petrol and diesel vehicles ceasing in 2030, the switch over to EVs is well under way. The headline benefits of EVs are of course the zero tailpipe CO2 emissions, while drivers are also enjoying the reduction in mileage costs from improving charge capacities, which are undeniable compared to the costs of filling up on the forecourts.
How EVs are currently performing compared to ICE vehicles
However, we recently released figures from a four year survey which revealed a number of hidden costs relating to EV driving, which suggest that the EV market still has a long way to go in offering a credible alternative to ICE vehicles. Our survey covered the period June 2017 to December 2021, and analysed 2500 EVs along with ICE vehicles leased in the same period. The figures are based on 36 month lease periods and 75,000 miles of driving and cover big manufacturer names such as Tesla, Porsche, Nissan, Renault, Audi and Mercedes, all established brands and all making serious inroads into the EV market.
Here are some of the headline figures from the survey:
- The cost of standard service, maintenance and repair on an EV is approximately 27% lower than on an ICE vehicle
- The cost of a breakdown on an EV is 2.7 times more than on an ICE vehicle
- The number of breakdowns during this period for an ICE vehicle is 1.9 as opposed to an EV at 3.1
- The average cost of a windscreen replacement for an EV is six times that of an ICE vehicle
- The average dealer satisfaction score for ICE vehicles is 84% and for EVs it was 53%
- Using the combined published MPG, the ICE vehicle achieved 83.6% while the EV achieved 74.1%
- Insurance premiums for an EV are approximately 19% higher than for an ICE
- In terms of VOR (vehicle off-road) days, including accidents, the average number of VOR days on an EV was 15.3 compared to 2.8 on the ICE vehicle
- Approximately 40% of UK electricity is generated by using gas, meaning that zero tail pipe emissions actually have minimal nett impact on climate change compared to ICE vehicles.
At Total Motion we work with many fleet managers who are currently assessing the value in transitioning to EVs, and are feeling panicked into switching by media reports and the unstoppable surge in EV sales and production in the market. There are still many obvious benefits to switching, but we are finding that the primitive state of the national charging network, along with the developing technology that is resulting in the hidden costs our survey has highlighted, means that now might not be the right time for your fleet to transition to EVs.
The UK’s charging network is not yet keeping up with demand, meaning queues at charging stations, possible breakdowns from running out of charge and possible use of inefficient charging stations. This all adds to fleet managementcosts. In terms of developing technology, the EV market is still not quite there with spare parts, breakdown costs and reliability either, as our figures show.
The rise in EVs and alternative fuel vehicles
When Total Motion first started analysing and working with EVs, there was a perception that they were only useful for short runs, and were not suitable for everyday driving across different sectors (ie, executive driving, family vehicles, performance vehicles and vans or SUVs). This has undoubtedly changed, but there is still a long way to go, in the opinion of Total Motion, until EVs can be presented as a comprehensive substitute to the ICE vehicle.
In our view, alternative fuels such as hydrogen-fuelled vehicles or hydrogen plug-ins will develop rapidly in the next few years and could rival both the ICE and EV for market share in the next 10-15 years, and ensure that the EV doesn’t achieve the market dominance that everyone is currently expecting. If you want to learn more about our survey, our work with EVs and what we have learnt about alternative fuelled-vehicles, contact our experts at Total Motion today.