Electric vs petrol: which offers the best value?

For years, electric vehicles - or EVs as they're now known - were infamous for being too expensive and too impractical for everyday use. However, today, the EV landscape has changed beyond all recognition. Not only are the latest cars practical, comfortable and safe, they're also affordable.

Take the Nissan Leaf for example; it's attractive, practical and fitted with all the accessories you'd find in any modern car. It packs a punch too, with its 109PS electric motor which will propel it from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds. But how does it compare with its petrol-powered rivals?

We've used our Fuel Calculator to crunch the numbers and compare a Leaf in Visia trim to its 10 rival petrol powered cars over 10,000 miles. We've also factored in the London Congestion Charge to see how each car compares in the capital. 

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Audi A3 Sportback 1.2 TFSI SE

Nissan Leaf comparison 
Initial extra cost
Annual saving £688
Miles to break even 37,625 miles
Days to break even 1373 days

Compared with the 1.2 petrol A3 Sportback, the Nissan Leaf is £2590 more expensive to buy and takes a around 37,625 miles to break even or 1373 days. However, once the three year(ish) wait is over the Leaf will save its owner £688 a year, compared to the Audi A3..

However, if you live in London, it becomes a very different story and those numbers fall drastically when you factor in the Congestion Charge, with the Leaf taking just 9389 miles or less than a year to pay for itself. 

Click here to use the Fuel Cost Calculator


yokohamapete    on 16 January 2018

I'm still baffled why your august publication sees no merit in LPG. I inherited my dad's 11 year old E46 1.8 BMW in 2010. The LPG conversion was £1,000. Of course the first mile is on premium Shell but after that the gas comes on at 46p a litre which must be equivalent to well over 60mpg. I've done 60,000 miles now, including several trips abroad. I don't need a calculator to tell me that the system has paid for itself several times over. Am I missing something?

Edited by yokohamapete on 16/01/2018 at 13:21

carol ann ditchburn    on 30 November 2020

what happens when the car dealers don't want to take electric cars over 3 years old because of the cost of changing batteries

Dawid Ptak    on 2 January 2021

Here in Blackpool we have lots of nissan leaf taxis. If they think it is cheaper to drive electric vehicle then it is good for me. No oil change. No clutch change . Less moving parts means less chance of breakdown and costly repairs. I saw an article in UK newspaper- interwiev with nissan leaf taxi guy with 100 000 miles. So unless you are a tenager that's gonna crash it around the ev looks like a good choice to me. Especially if you have a driveway at you house.

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