Beyond initial purchase costs, anyone who wants to buy a car must also consider running costs, including fuel, maintenance, insurance, and taxes. Yet another factor is the vehicle’s depreciation over time. The true cost of vehicle ownership includes both of these cost elements – that is, initial purchase costs, plus costs that accrue during the ownership period, minus the subsequent resale value. While commercial vehicle fleet operators – who have a major influence on the new car market – are already taking running costs into account, households tend to overlook this issue.
How do electric vehicles stack up against their conventional counterparts in terms of total cost of ownership for consumers? To answer this question, we consulted the Car Cost Calculator of the German automobile club ADAC, a free online database that contains comprehensive cost data. The database covers all of the more than 8,000 models currently available in Germany. Our analysis provides insight into the current cost competitiveness of electric vehicles in the German market. We also spotlight the effectiveness of current incentive measures – and how they can be further developed to support the uptake of electric vehicles. The most important insight is that in many instances, electric vehicles are already a cost-competitive alternative.