Is an electric car more expensive than a thermal car?

The Belgian electric vehicle fleet is growing rapidly. Indeed, during the first quarter of this year, “one in three new vehicles registered was a vehicle equipped with electrified powertrain“, according to Febiac, the Federation of Automobiles and Bicycles. “In addition, almost one in four new cars registered was equipped with an electric charging socket. Unprecedented in our country!”

If the advance of the electric car is indisputableit is mainly to put to the company’s car assets. In addition, from 2026, only new zero-emission cars will be able to benefit from tax advantages.

In some countries or regions, this ban will occur even earlier. This is particularly the case in Flanders: from 2029, only new cars that do not emit CO2 can be sold on its territory. This programming raises fears of a risk of social division between people who can afford an electric car and those who cannot.

purchase price

In fact, the purchase price is the main obstacle encountered by individuals who would like to go electric. Comparable vehicles, electric models are much more expensive than thermal models. However, several studies predict that these price differences will rapidly diminish in the coming years and that they will even completely gone in 2026 or 2027.

The purchase price is the main obstacle encountered by individuals who would like to go electric.

Whether this will actually be the case remains to be seen, as the war in Ukraine has sent nickel and lithium prices soaring. raw materials used in the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries.

For example, the cheapest petrol Golf on the market currently costs €30,490, while its electric ID.3 equivalent is available from €43,900. “Electric Golf” is therefore 40% more expensive.

At Renault, the electric Megane E-Tech is 37% more expensive than the cheapest heat engine model. Price differences are, however, less pronounced for models in the higher range. For example, in the case of the large SBMW’s UV X5, its electric sibling iX (81,400 euros) is “only” 20% more expensive.

Less maintenance costs

Nonetheless, this high purchase price is recouped with use: electric cars require lower maintenance costs, because they have less spare parts. Changing oil or oil filter, timing belts, etc. All this no longer exists with electric cars. And when the user recharges the battery at home or at workthe price of energy per kilometer is generally lower than that of a gasoline or diesel car.

The speed with which the purchase price of an electric car is amortized depends on the magnitude of the difference (with its thermal equivalent), energy consumption and the number of kilometers driven annually.

Residual value

Furthermore, the residual value of electric cars is starting to increase. The residual value of the first generations of electric cars was low, because the lifespan of their expensive batteries was so uncertain.

The residual value of electric cars is starting to increase.

Despite their declining popularity in our country, the residual values ​​of thermal cars remain stable. “In Central and Eastern Europe, car fleet electrification is still in its infancy. Demand for used diesel and gasoline cars remains strong. We have not seen any decline in residual values,” said Denis Gorteman, CEO of D’ Ieteren Automotive, at the end of April.

On the other hand, it looks like some car batteries – depending on how they’re used – can be used for up to a million miles. This situation and the growing demand for used electric cars means that the residual value of some models increases rapidly. This reduces the total cost for the first owner.

private lease

These rising residual values ​​also make alternative financing methods accessible. Instead of a car loan, private leasing can smooth out the high purchase price threshold.

The downside to this formula is that the driver never becomes the owner, while monthly values ​​are often comparable.

But the advantage is that you know exactly how much you will spend each month on your car.

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