Real fuel efficiency of an electric car? 165MPG


I've been driving EVs for a few years now - and people often ask me about running costs. I can't tell you what your insurance, maintenance, or leasing costs will be - but I can show you how much it costs to drive.

Here's a fairly recent trip in my Renault Zoe:
Trip counter on a car.
That's a mixture of motorways in the cold, and gentle country paths in the summer. Hopefully typical of a mixed driving style.

It takes 971kWh of electricity to move 3,500 miles. So, what's that in MPG? Let's work it out the long way.

I pay 13p/kWh for my domestic electricity.

£0.13 * 971 = £126

So the cost per mile is...

£126 / 3,500 = 3.6p/mile

Currently, UK petrol prices are about £1.30 per litre. There are 4.55 litres to the UK gallon.

(4.55 litres * £1.30) / 3.6p/mile = 165 MPG

That's a pretty good fuel efficiency!

You can calculate it another way:

Now, this is just my car and my driving style. But the evidence is clear; electric driving is ridiculously cheap!

At the moment, if you're getting 50MPG in a petrol car, fuel costs 12p/mile.

(4.55 * £1.30) / 50 = £0.118

The best fossil-fuel cars get under 100MPG - that's still double the cost per mile of an electric car.

If you can supplement your home charging with solar, like I do, the cost per mile falls even further.

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2 thoughts on “Real fuel efficiency of an electric car? 165MPG

  1. Thanks for sharing this, it's a really good justification for electric vehicles. Is there a way of working out an equivalent MPG using public charging stations?

    I recently looked into a plug-in hybrid, but would be restricted to public charging points because I live in a terraced street with no off-road parking. My rough calculations using the manufacturers figures seemed to suggest it would be more expensive to charge the battery than it would be to just use the petrol engine. I figure I must have been doing the maths wrong, but can't see where.

    1. You'll find that most public chargers have priced their electricity to be about the same cost per mile as petrol. Sad but true.

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