Electric Cars vs. Petrol Cars: Weighing Up the Pros and Cons

From running costs to environmental impact, the ongoing debate between electric and petrol cars continues to be a huge focus for the automotive world. As a car buyer, understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each option is crucial for making an informed choice which not only suits your budget, but also your lifestyle too. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both electric and petrol vehicles.

What is an electric car?

An electric car operates without a traditional internal combustion engine, relying instead on one or more electric motors powered by a large battery pack.

What are the pros of electric cars?

Zero emissions

Electric cars are renowned for their environmentally friendly operation, emitting no harmful gases during use, contributing to cleaner air and a reduced carbon footprint.

By embracing zero-emission technology, electric cars owners can play a pivotal role in combating air pollution and climate change, contributing to a healthier planet for us all.

Affordable to run

With a lower cost per mile compared to petrol cars, electric vehicles provide a more economical solution for daily commuting and regular driving. The financial benefits extend beyond just the purchase price, offering ongoing savings in fuel and maintenance costs, making electric cars a surprisingly sound investment for budget-conscious consumers.

Access to government grants

The government offers grants for the purchase of electric vehicles, making them more accessible and enticing to would-be EV owners.

Minimal servicing

Electric cars boast fewer moving parts than their petrol counterparts, resulting in reduced maintenance needs and costs. The simplicity of electric car maintenance not only saves money but also time, by minimising the hassle of frequent visits to the garage.

Exempt from charges

Electric vehicles enjoy exemptions from charges in clean-air zones, providing additional cost savings and incentives for urban dwellers.

Zero road tax

Owners of EV’s also benefit from zero road tax, offering a financial advantage whilst also contributing to the appeal of electric cars as the eco-friendly vehicle of choice.

Refined Driving Experience

Beyond the ecological advantages, the serene driving experience of electric cars adds a touch of luxury, appealing to those seeking a more refined driving experience. Electric motors provide an instant and smooth driving experience, creating a quiet and serene driving experience that enhances comfort and reduces noise pollution.

What are the cons of electric cars?

Expensive upfront costs

Electric cars typically come with a higher upfront cost compared to similar petrol models, creating a barrier to entry for some consumers who simply cannot afford such a big initial investment. However it’s important to note that EV prices have dropped significantly in recent years, as manufacturers and car dealerships attempt to combat the rising energy costs.

And whilst the initial investment may be higher than a petrol car, it’s also worth considering the long-term savings on fuel and maintenance costs that electric vehicles can offer. This larger upfront cost may be justified as a wise investment.

Limited range

The range of electric cars is generally lower than most petrol vehicles, potentially causing ‘range anxiety’ for long-distance travellers.

Although advancements in battery technology continue to address this limitation, potential buyers must consider their driving habits and the availability of charging infrastructure to ensure they have a seamless electric driving experience.

Time-consuming charging

Charging an electric vehicle is more time-consuming than filling up your tank at the petrol station. As an EV owner, you’ll need to think ahead before long car journeys to not only ensure you have access to charging stations, but to also factor in the longer refuelling times.

Slow charging infrastructure development

While progress is being made, the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is not yet as widespread and convenient as petrol stations. Certain areas of the UK still have limited access to EV charging points, creating concerns with potential buyers.

Environmental impact of production

Surprisingly, the environmental impact of manufacturing an electric vehicle can actually be higher than that of an equivalent petrol car, considering the production and disposal of batteries.

What is a petrol car?

A petrol car features an internal combustion engine that sends power to the wheels through a gearbox. Unlike electric cars that rely on electricity, petrol cars convert petrol into energy to operate.

What are the pros of petrol cars?

Lower pricing

Petrol cars generally come with a lower initial purchase price compared to electric vehicles, making them an attractive option for the budget-conscious consumer.

Quick and convenient refuelling

Filling up a petrol tank is a quick and convenient process, taking only minutes compared to the longer charging times of electric vehicles. The convenience of quick refuelling makes petrol cars an ideal choice for those who are short on time or who have fast-paced lifestyles.

Broader range of vehicles

Petrol cars currently offer a broader range of vehicle options compared to electric cars, providing consumers with more choices in terms of size, style, and performance.

This diversity in petrol car options caters to a wider range of preferences, ensuring that consumers can find a vehicle that suits their specific needs, compared with the more limited EV options.

No range anxiety

Petrol car owners don’t suffer from range anxiety, as refuelling is widely available, making them a reliable choice for long-distance travel. The peace of mind that comes with the extensive petrol station network ensures that petrol car owners can confidently embark on long journeys - without the dread of running out of fuel.

What are the cons of petrol cars?

Future viability concerns

Ever-tightening regulations and the automotive industry's shift towards sustainability means consumers need to consider the long-term viability of petrol cars and anticipate potential challenges in meeting future regulatory requirements.

Charges in low-emission zones

Petrol cars face charges or restrictions when driving in low-emission and clean-air zones, impacting their cost-effectiveness and accessibility in certain areas, particularly in city centres.

Higher overall environmental impact

Petrol cars generally have a higher overall environmental impact compared to electric vehicles, contributing to air pollution and climate change. As environmental consciousness grows, potential buyers must weigh the environmental impact of petrol cars against the benefits they offer.

More expensive servicing

The ongoing expenses associated with petrol cars, including maintenance and repairs, should be factored into the decision-making process, balancing the initial affordability with long-term financial considerations.

High fuel costs

It is generally more expensive to fuel a petrol car compared to an EV. The volatility of fuel prices also adds an element of uncertainty to the cost of owning a petrol car.

How do Hybrid cars compare?

Hybrid vehicles indeed offer a compelling blend of advantages, catering to a wide range of drivers' needs. Suzuki, a brand known for its innovation and efficiency in the automotive industry, offers a selection of hybrid cars across these three main types:

  • Mild Hybrid (MHEV): Suzuki's Swift Hybrid exemplifies this type, featuring a battery-driven electric motor that supplements the internal combustion engine. This synergy enhances fuel efficiency and overall performance.
  • Hybrid (HEV): Suzuki's HEV models, such as the S-Cross Hybrid, seamlessly alternate between the internal combustion engine and the vehicle's battery, optimizing power usage. These self-charging hybrids provide an efficient and adaptable driving experience.
  • Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV):Suzuki's Across Plug-In Hybrid combines electric vehicle benefits with petrol engine flexibility. With a decent electric range and the option to recharge from a power source, PHEVs offer electric-only driving for shorter trips and petrol power for longer journeys.