an economic advantage for a battery car

EDUCATION – Carbon-free vehicles have lower operating costs than combustion engines, thanks to beneficial taxation and a competitive price per kilowatt. Only filling still raises questions for companies.

Appearances can be deceiving. If the electric car seems prohibitive at first glance, a deeper analysis shows the opposite. The Arval Mobility Observatory, a think tank of the BNP Paribas group, publishes an annual study on the evolution of costs. These specialists cover all budget lines necessary for the operation of a company car: depreciation, finance costs, maintenance, tires, insurance, energy and tax and social charges. With all these parameters, the compatibility between electricity and heat is always in favor of the former, even if the latter shows higher list prices.

In the city car segment, the electric Renault Twingo is sold at 22,100 euros, while its gasoline counterpart is listed at 14,300 euros, minus a bonus of 4,000 euros. Taking into account the total cost of use and with a rule of thumb of 48 months and 80,000 kilometers of driving, electricity costs 18,104 euros, compared to 23,332 euros for gasoline, a difference of 5,228 euros in favor of electricity. Regardless of mileage, the electric version wins despite a higher purchase price of €3,800 including bonus. Taxation works in favor of the carbon-free version, while the cost of energy is almost half the amount. The electric Twingo avoids annual passenger car taxes, new versions of Company Vehicle Tax (TVS) and is not subject to non-deductible depreciation. The electric Twingo pays €1,343 in taxes and social security payments, including €1,030 in annual tax on passenger cars, while petrol costs €3,543. And the greater the mileage, the greater the differential.

Useful tax

The research of the think tank covers other segments of the car market with the same result. Despite the higher price (including bonus) of 8,260 euros, the electric Fiat 500 is also in first place against the micro-hybrid version, and this at all mileages studied except for 60,000 kilometers. Here again, taxation is in favor of the greenest version, and the energy budget, the amount of which varies from 2,900 to 4,200 euros from 60,000 to 120,000 kilometers. Tax and social charges for the electric Fiat 500 are €1,853 versus €3,267 for the micro-hybrid version.

The Peugeot 208 Allure is sold for 30,700 euros (including bonus) in the electric version, 22,350 euros in the gasoline version and 23,850 euros in the diesel version. From 60,000 to 120,000 kilometers, the connected version proves to be more economical with all running costs considered. The same result for the Peugeot 2008, Citroën C4, Renault Megane or ID.3 is the same for the Golf plug-in hybrids, petrol and diesel. For a Peugeot SUV and depending on the mileage, the price of energy varies from 2930 to 4180 euros for electricity, from 5522 to 11044 for gasoline and from 4418 to 8836 for diesel. The petrol version has a fuel consumption of 5.9 l/100 km, while the diesel version has a fuel consumption of 4.8 l/100 km.

For the Citroën C4, electric, petrol and diesel costs 1309, 9110 and 9632 euros respectively in social insurance and tax. Exemption of passenger vehicles from annual taxes really plays a decisive role.

A more difficult valuation in the used car market

If tax and energy are in favor of electric power, car depreciation remains the first cost item of the vehicle. Still, according to the Arval Mobility Observatory, in 2021 it accounted for 39.12% of the total cost of using a company car, or 15,481 euros over 48 months. This amount takes into account the discounted list price minus the expected resale value on the second hand market at the end of the holding period.

An environmental bonus of 4,000 euros is taken into account when calculating the residual value for electric vehicles. Shown at a price of 45,000 euros, the carbon-free car will be valued at 41,000 euros by financial institutions. In the second-hand market, the difference with the sale price decreases, the residual value decreases and the rents increase.

Another element to consider is that expensive to buy, technologies are poorly valued on the second-hand market. “The added value of electric technologies reaches 8-10,000 euros over the catalog price,” explains Yoann Taitz, regional evaluation and data manager for Autovista for France and Benelux. But the higher the amount, the higher the depreciation and the lower the residual value. Here again, depreciation is against the economic competitiveness of electricity.

The environment also affects residual values. The creation of Low Emission Zones stimulates demand when charging challenges move in the opposite direction. “On the other hand, recovering 80% of autonomy in 15-20 minutes, as with Porsche and Korean manufacturers, increases prices in the VO market,” says Yoann Taitz.

20% difference in residual values

Faced with shortages of electronic components, longer delivery times and rising fuel prices in the new market, there is growing interest in second-hand electric vehicles. Yoann Taitz, “Since January, the residual values ​​of electric vehicles have increased sharply and continuously, remaining lower than thermal models. Over 36 months and 45,000 kilometers and the difference with a comparable car is 20%.

According to Autovista, on a total cost-of-use basis, electricity is more attractive than heat. Over 36 months, a car data specialist estimates the difference at €1,500 or €2,000 with diesel and €1,000 with petrol.

Alphabet, the BMW group’s long-term rental company, is seeing orders for electric vehicles explode. With this technology, contract periods and mileage are shortened to 12,000 kilometers per year. On top of 100,000 cars in France, Alphabet celebrates the economic advantages of electricity. Julien Chabbal, director of sales and marketing, believes that “service finance leases account for half of TCO on average. Maintenance and tires prefer electricity over heat. But above all, it is energy and tax incentives that tip the balance in favor of electricity.

Reduced maintenance

Another evaluation criterion is that the electric motor integrates fewer parts than the heating unit, has fewer friction points and is more reliable. Under these conditions, fewer accidents occur and repairs require less intervention. Another advantage involves electric brakes and quieter handling, which allows you to protect the wheels.

As a specialist in fleet management on behalf of companies, Direct Fleet considers all costs and considers the energy element to be a particular differentiator. With a tank full of cheaper kilowatts, gasoline and diesel are disqualified, and the difference widens when the use is more intensive. For Fleet Direct, internal combustion is more competitive at less than 1,000 kilometers per month, with costs breaking even at 2,000 kilometers and electric power at more than 3,000 kilometers.

When battery life meets user needs, companies have no economic reason to forego electricity. The only downside, but a major one, is the charging issue, which still dampens enthusiasm with a very fragmented network of public terminals.

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