Electric car sales may have reached an all-time high, with almost 120,000 alternatively fuelled vehicles sold in the UK in 2017, but buyers of electric cars face great variations in the rate at which different models depreciate.
Research by InsuretheGap.com shows striking differences in the depreciation of ten of the most popular electric cars from their purchase price in 2015 to their current value in 2018.
Almost a third (30%) of UK drivers like to change their car at least every four years, according to an Opinium survey, making this research essential reading for the growing market of electric car buyers.
The Renault Zoe (Electric) was the fastest depreciating electric car in the survey, depreciating by 60% in three years from its new purchase price of £15,498 in 2015 to only £6,190 value in 2018. The 2015 purchase price includes the government grant of £4,500.
The second fastest depreciating electric car is the Nissan Leaf, costing £23,335 new in 2015, including the government grant, and now worth only £10,350, a 55% depreciation.
The electric car that kept its value the best is the Tesla Model S (Electric), which depreciated by just under a third (32%), followed by the BMW i3 (Electric)and the Toyota Prius (Hybrid), which both depreciated by 35%.
The remaining five cars surveyed depreciated in the following order: the KIA Soul EV (Electric) depreciated by 51%; Smart fortwo (Electric) by 50%; the VW Golf E (Electric) by 44%; the Mercedes C350e (Hybrid) by 41%; and the VW Golf GTE (Hybrid) by 37%.
The study revealed a bigger range in depreciations between electric car models, than InsuretheGap.com found when it looked at the top ten selling petrol cars. In the petrol study, the cars depreciated between 31% to 52%, compared with from 32% to 60% in the electric car study.
The UK government’s grant to buyers of Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles, which ranges from £4,500 for fully electric cars to £2,500 for hybrids, provides a welcome financial buffer for buyers in this relatively new market. Without the government grant, the Renault Zoe, for instance, depreciates by 69% in three years from 2015 to 2018.
Electric cars divide into three types, pure electrics, which run off rechargeable batteries, hybrids, powered by both petrol and batteries that recharge as you drive and plug-in hybrids, which charge up via a lead and drive on electricity or run with petrol or a mix of both.
In the autumn 2017 budget, the government announced £200m in funding for charging infrastructure to be matched by industry. A commitment to make 25% of cars in central government department fleets electric by 2022 was also announced.
“With the government’s ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 the future is in alternatively fuelled vehicles, however knowing which one to buy is essential if you want to protect your investment,” said Ben Wooltorton, Chief Operating Office at InsuretheGap.com. “The running costs of these cars do vary of course, but it also pays to do your homework on depreciation rates if you like to upgrade your car every few years.”
In another survey for buying comparison website Motorway.co.uk, 26% of drivers said they expected to purchase a hybrid model by 2024.
InsuretheGap.com used Glass’s data in February 2018 to compile the survey with valuation based on average mileages
|Model||2015 Price||Price after government grant||2018 Valuation||Depreciation % with government grant included||Order of depreciation with 1 being the fastest – 10 the slowestslowest|
|1. Renault Zoe (Electric)||£19,988||£15,498*||£6,190||60||1|
|2. Nissan Leaf (Electric)||£27,835||£23,335*||£10,350||55||2|
|3. KIA Soul EV (Electric)||£29,940||£25,440*||£12,400||51||3|
|4. Smart fortwo (Electric)||£20,350||£15,850*||£7,930||50||4|
|5. VW Golf E (Electric)||£31,250||£26,750*||£15,100||44||5|
|6. Mercedes C350e (Hybrid)||£40,615||£38,115**||£22,500||41||6|
|7. VW Golf GTE (Hybrid)||£33,704||£31,204**||£19,700||37||7|
|8. BMW i3 (Electric)||£31,060||£26,560*||£17,200||35||8|
|9. Toyota Prius (Hybrid)||£25,460||£22,960**||£14,850||35||8|
|10. Tesla Model S (Electric)||£60,380||£55,880*||£38,000||32||10|
*Government grant of £4500
** Government grant £2500