Despite price spike, electric vehicles still several times cheaper to drive

Electric vehicle charging station in Tallinn.
Electric vehicle charging station in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Despite the severalfold increase in the price of electricity, electric vehicles (EVs) are currently still cheaper for Estonian consumers to drive than regular internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), according to calculations by electricity consumption optimization service provider Gridio.

"In order for charging costs to equalize with fuel costs, either the price of electricity should quadruple or fuel prices drop by more than 80 percent, neither of which seem realistic," Gridio CEO and cofounder Konrad Hanschmidt told ERR.

"The quadrupling of the price of electricity wouldn't be sustainable, and would be corrected by either the market itself — as it would create a crisis of consumption — or intervention by the government," he added.

A comparison of 12 months' energy costs at July 2022 prices between cars with different power sources reveals that the cost of driving a Škoda Kodiaq crossover SUV with a diesel engine, an average fuel economy of 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers, or 35.1 miles per gallon and a mileage of 2,000 kilometers increased from €158 in 2021 to €259 this year.

With an average fuel economy of 8.2 liters per 100 kilometers, or 28.7 miles per gallon, the cost of a Škoda Kodiaq with a gasoline engine went up by €108 — from €228 last July to €336.

The cost of charging a fully electric Škoda Enyaq crossover SUV with an average monthly energy consumption of 18 kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometers, or 3.45 mile per kilowatt-hour, meanwhile, went up from €55 last July to €144 this month.

When calculating electricity costs, Gridio took the average electricity prices of its own Estonian clients into account.

The CEO has noticed that EV drivers tend to charge their vehicles overnight, and two to three times a week on average. This is a more reasonable approach as well, he added.

"The more often you plug in, the more likely you are to catch those morning hours when [electricity] is especially cheap," Hanschmidt said. "Those who charge more frequently more easily catch those cheaper times."

According to Hanschmidt, overall recurring costs for EVs are lower than those for ICEVs as well. "You don't need oil changes, all kinds of things break less, and maintenance costs are lower," he said.

Thus far, electric vehicles still cost more to buy than comparable vehicles with internal combustion engines.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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