And where else is the opportunity to contribute to environmental protection and a more sustainable life – these reasons as a matter of fact force us to rethink the habits of choosing a vehicle.
Although many surveys show that economic aspects are the main reason to stop at the sales of electric cars in showrooms, the efforts of companies such as Citroën or Tesla to create the possibility of advanced “greener” and more sustainable transport also remain appreciated.
The analysis of climate change carried out by the European Investment Bank (EIB) in order to find out how the attitude of Europeans towards transport changes in accordance with climate changes, shows that the idea of more sustainable movement and the least impact on the environment is quite deeply embedded in people’s minds.
For example, only 33 percent of Europeans say that they would look for diesel or gasoline models when buying another car. And 67 percent those interviewed assure that they would choose an electric or at least a hybrid car.
The wallet comes first
Electric car enthusiasts who have gathered in groups on various social networks notice that requests for advice on how to save money by purchasing an electric car instead of a model with an internal combustion engine have recently increased.
The math here is simple. For example, we can compare a mid-size family model: the petrol and diesel Citroën C4 (130 HP versions) with the electric ë-C4. Then it is easy to calculate more precisely in whose favor the scales tip.
According to the manufacturer’s official data, in mixed driving conditions, the gasoline-powered model uses 5.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, the diesel-powered car covers the same distance with 4.5 liters of fuel, and the electric car consumes an average of 16.5 kWh.
Therefore, an electric car will cover 100 kilometers for 4.77 euros (calculated according to the two-time zone tariffs of the “Minimalus” plan offered by Ignitis, and 0.289 euro cents per 1 kWh if you choose the night and weekend tariff). The diesel-powered Citroën will cover the same distance for a slightly higher amount – 8.82 euros (if you choose the cheapest diesel price per liter – 1.93 euros), while the gasoline version will cover 100 kilometers for 11.11 euros (if you choose the cheapest gasoline price per liter – 2.02 euros).
“Such calculations are logical, but there is one essential condition – it is necessary to have your own charging place in the parking lot or to charge the electric car at home. Then you would have to add the state subsidy (up to 5 thousand euros), the fact that the electric car is cheaper to maintain, and the price difference between cars with internal combustion engines and electric cars will melt very quickly. If you live in your own house, you can install a solar or wind power plant and produce electricity yourself,” says car journalist Dina Sergijenko-Ramaškevičienė.
You want an inexpensive and modern one
The interviewer notices a kind of paradox: Lithuanians looking for the right electric car for themselves want it to be not too small, able to travel a long distance on a single charge and to be inexpensive.
“Not everyone looks for a suitable model among used, aging cars first. But there is a problem here: due to battery wear, the range of such vehicles is not very high, and such models are also technologically outdated. About the ability to quickly charge the battery – up to 80 percent. in half an hour, as for example with the ë-C4, Opel Mokka-e or Peugeot e-2008, in which case one can only dream,” she says.
According to the journalist, these days, when basically all manufacturers were forced to supplement their available range with electric cars and almost no attention is paid to internal combustion engines, a good price can be found not only on car ad portals, but also in authorized manufacturers’ showrooms.
“Let’s take the same ë-C4: its price in the car showroom starts at 37 thousand. euros. However, for now, 5 thousand is allocated for its purchase. EUR subsidy, and due to lower maintenance costs and travel costs, almost EUR 10,000. The price difference between the model with an internal combustion engine and the electric model, which reaches EUR, will dissolve rather quickly, – the interlocutor is convinced. “Kilometers driving an electric car and charging the battery at home will be at least twice as cheap, add low annual maintenance costs, the ability to park basically for nothing.”
Electric car drivers win even more if they work, for example, in the center of Vilnius and commute to work every day during peak hours. For the time being, the possibility to move in the traffic lanes intended for public transport allows you to save time, and the annual parking fee of just a few euros means you don’t have to spend a mountain of money on parking.
If you need to leave your car in the old town of the capital every day on weekdays, where an hour costs 2.5 euros in the blue parking zone and 1.5 euros in the red, arriving by electric car saves 12-20 euros every day, or 240-400 euros every month on weekdays.
Driving qualities should not be forgotten
Although when talking about electric cars, the potential benefits are first indicated and their advantages are easily proven by using calculators, the features that concern the buyers of traditional cars cannot be forgotten either. It doesn’t matter what drives the car, it must be pleasant to drive, and the appearance must attract the eye.
“Appearance is especially important. As soon as electric cars appeared, their manufacturers thought that the design should be futuristic, unusual. It didn’t work – people didn’t buy the first electric cars, or they chose them just because they were enthusiasts, because those models were terrible. I have no doubt that sales have moved not only because of subsidies and benefits, but also because of the changed design,” says the car journalist.
She is seconded by car journalist Egidijus Babelis. According to him, the fact that the car is beautiful, although this indicator is always subjective, is a big advantage.
“For example, if you can’t decide what you want – coupe, hatchback, crossover or station wagon, the French Citroën ë-C4 is perfect because it’s all in one,” he laughs.
Comfort features are not the last thing when buying a car. For example, when choosing the Lithuanian car of the year, all members of the competition commission had to evaluate the driving comfort of electric models. Models like ë-C4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, etc. received higher scores because they were comfortable to drive, while others had lower scores due to chassis deficiencies.
© Vytautas Pilkauskas
Emphasizes residual value
More than one buyer has already encountered that the residual value of the purchase of electric cars is much higher than models with internal combustion engines. Apparently, this situation will not change even in the future, as the European Union’s requirements for the transport sector are getting stricter. For example, Lithuania aims for a fifth of the country’s transport fleet to be electric cars in eight years, in the 2030s.
The desire of drivers to get rid of obsolete internal combustion engine-powered cars and switch to electric cars due to various restrictions and additional fees will eventually lead to an even wider gap between the residual value of an electric car and a conventional car.
“For now, we have relatively mild incentives to choose more sustainable transport. In the long run, I have no doubt, there will be zones where it will be forbidden to enter with internal combustion engines, pollution taxes will increase, so it will pay off more and more to drive cars that do not have exhaust pipes”, D. Sergijenko-Ramaškevičienė agreed.
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