The debate over the switch to electric cars is intense and raises the question of whether this change is really beneficial. A recent analysis by ADAC suggests that the answer to this question may be more complex than it seems at first glance.

Small electric cars cost almost twice as much as combustion cars

When purchasing a car, consumers typically consider the purchase price and operating costs. While these factors are certainly important, they do not provide the full picture. TCO (total cost of ownership), which includes depreciation and maintenance costs, is a more accurate representation of the true cost of a vehicle.

According to the ADAC analysis, small electric cars did not always prove to be cost-competitive. However, electric vehicles in other classes often performed significantly better in terms of cost than their petrol-powered counterparts.

“The price difference between combustion engine variants and their electric counterparts is striking, even after deducting the amount of financing,” says the ADAC. The VW eUp!, for example, currently costs 29,995 euros, more than twice as much as its petrol version. Other models such as the Opel Corsa and Fiat 500 also show a similar trend, with electric cars being “almost twice as expensive.” [sind] like the corresponding combustion engine.”

The middle class inspires hope

Interestingly, even with a diesel price of two euros per litre, the total cost of owning a small electric car is still higher. This is partly due to the higher depreciation of these vehicles, which even lower electricity costs cannot compensate for in the long term.

However, it is not all bleak for those interested in electric vehicles. The ADAC calculates: “If you compare the Golf 1.5 eTSI Life DSG (110 kW) with its electric counterpart ID.3 Pro (58 kWh/150 kW), the ID.3 costs around 33,000 euros (after deducting the financing amount of 6,750 euros), almost 2,000 euros cheaper than the Golf (34,970 euros).”

Affordable mobility

Total costs therefore play an important role, especially with a significant increase in electricity prices. In the mid-range segment, the average electric car still has a cost advantage, with an electricity price of up to 80 cents per kilowatt hour (ct/kWh), even if petrol prices rise to 1.50 euros. In the upper middle class, however, an electric car is only better than a petrol car if the electricity price is below 70 cents/kWh and the petrol price is 1.50 euros.

Mobility must remain affordable, ADAC demands. Prices in the small car segment, i.e. vehicles intended for the general public, would have to fall significantly.

Why electric cars?

The transition to electric cars is urgent for several reasons. The most important of these is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute significantly to climate change. Internal combustion engines are a major source of CO₂ emissions and switching to electric vehicles can significantly reduce these emissions. Especially if the electricity required comes from renewable energy sources, the CO₂ balance of an electric vehicle can be almost neutral.

In addition to the ecological benefits, electromobility also helps to reduce air pollution. Exhaust gases from internal combustion engines contain pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which can cause significant health problems. Electric cars do not produce exhaust gases during operation and therefore contribute to improving air quality, especially in urban areas.

Source: ADAC

By Philipp Rall