10 hidden costs to know before you buy

We can never extol the benefits of an electric car enough. More ecological, it allows you to discover a new way of driving, a new feeling. Not spoiling anything also allows for great savings in terms of energy.

All electric car drivers will tell you: going back is unthinkable. But it would be unthinkable to rush to buy such a car without serious consideration. An electric car is also an expense that we don’t necessarily think about.

that’s it 10 hidden costs to know before buying an electric car.

The difference in purchase price

© Canoo

Price is one of the main barriers to buying electric cars. According to research conducted by RTE (Electric Transport Network), 73% of the French believe that electric cars are still too expensive compared to thermal cars.

It is true that the purchase price is higher, the difference is widening with heat as you go to a higher level. For example, the Peugeot e-208 costs about 10,000 euros more than its petrol equivalent. For example, if we refer to SUV-type models, this difference reaches several tens of thousands of euros.

Fortunately, the State offers purchase aids such as environmental bonus or conversion bonus. Some regions also allow you to reduce the bill, but some devices require certain conditions, especially income.

It should also be noted that the conditions for obtaining these aids change rapidly, which causes the price of vehicles to change. Moreover, not all models are suitable for all devices. Therefore, you need to consider all these parameters before buying.


A self-driving Tesla


When you add options, the purchase price is even higher. These are expensive in electric models. The starting price of the Model 3 at Tesla is 44,990 euros (excluding the eco bonus), but Autopilot with autonomous driving costs 7,500 euros. Adding this option exceeds the eligibility threshold for the environmental bonus, increasing the total purchase price by almost €15,000!

That’s why it’s so important to consider the cost of the options and check that they don’t increase the bill too much. In addition, if you plan to use the purchase of assistive devices.

Note that we take the example of Tesla, a brand that does not abuse options. With some manufacturers, the final price can vary from single to double the price depending on the options selected. Note the standard equipment.

Paid updates

We are yoked to the wheel of Tesla


Highly connected electric cars are being updated regularly, often while you sleep. This principle invented by Tesla is adopted by its competitors. But more and more brands are charging for these updates.

Tesla started with Model 3 charging to improve the car’s performance. American also announced that navigation will be chargeable after eight years of use. Mercedes has done this by offering to pay owners of its electric cars to improve their performance through upgrades.

That’s why it’s so important to be well-informed about certain standard equipment that may pay off in a few years or future upgrades that require additional investment.


Goodvest life insurance

© Unsplash / Ravi Roshan

If the legend says that electric car insurance costs less, the reality is quite different. In facts, the price of your insurance varies according to the selected model and type of insurance.

according to a study by Ferrets In 2021, third-party insurance for an electric car costs an average of 405 euros per year, compared to 534 euros for a thermal model. All risks will cost you 670 euros per year versus 823 euros for electric heating.

However, depending on the selected model, the trend can be reversed. For example, the Peugeot e208 costs much more to insure than the thermal 208: 341 euros against 314 euros for third party and 673 euros against 568 euros for all risks. Same observation for Renault ZOE with differences of up to €250 per year in all risks compared to Clio V.

So take the time to contact your insurer. before confirming your purchase, at no cost.

Charging at home

Tesla power wall


If charging your electric car at home costs much less than filling up the gas tank, it’s important to budget for installation costs.

There are two ways to charge your car at home: use a power outlet or invest in a home charging station. According to Engie, the cost of installation varies 500 euros for a home terminal (for a reinforced socket) 2000 euros.

As with purchasing an electric car, there are assistance systems available for installing a charging station in your home. The state initially offers a tax credit of 300 euros and VAT reduced to 5.5%. Some regions, departments or cities also offer additional assistance. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself to minimize the bill associated with this hidden cost.

Charging stations (and subscription cards)

Recharge Supercharger Electric car other brand

© Lemon squeezer

Whether you charge your electric car at home or at a station, the cost of charging is less than the cost of a full tank of fuel. However, in 2023, prices at charging stations have increased significantly.

For example, Charging a model like the Ioniq 5 to 20-80% costs 30-40 euros at an Ionity station. You can travel about 300 km, which brings the cost of filling up to 80 euros for 600 km (i.e. a very low average price for a thermal model with the same characteristics). So we’re approaching a full tank of gas. And we’re not talking about some providers that offer monthly or annual subscriptions to access their services or get a top-up card.

If you don’t have charging equipment at home and need to charge your car mostly at a station, it’s important to plan for this expense. Because it will take more time to make up the difference in purchase price compared to the thermal model.

charging time

Withings ScanWatch Horizon smartwatch

© Lemon squeezer

Even if fast charging stations multiply, Charging time from 20 to 80% is about 20 minutes. There is no problem when going on vacation, but it is more restrictive for those who travel several hundred kilometers per week or even per day (for road professionals).

And since time is money, this parameter should also be taken into account before buying. If you have to travel miles as part of your professional activities, you will need to find new ways of working to accommodate this recharge time.


Peugeot electric car business

© Peugeot

Attention, here we are not talking about the maintenance of an electric car, which is on average 20-30% cheaper than a thermal model. We are talking about repair here, i.e. replacement of parts in the event of a malfunction (after the warranty period) or in the event of an accident (if it is your fault and/or insured against third parties).

According to a study by a Dutch insurer Automatic trust, on average, an electric car costs twice as much to repair as a heated one. This is due to several factors: spare parts are more expensive and installation is more complicated. For example, the repair of the brake booster of the Nissan Leaf is estimated at 4,000 euros, against 350 euros for the thermal Qashqai.

Above all, the insurer explains that the number of electric car repairers is still small. In the absence of competition, they allow the price of repairs to rise, sometimes to the point of obscenity.

In summary, an electric car breaks down less than a thermal car, but when it does, the bill is heavy.

What about the battery?

BMW iX3 batteries


Average electric battery works optimally 8-10 years. It doesn’t mean it’s dead after that, but it will be less effective.

Understand that with less efficiency, it will start working at 80% of its potential. Basically, when your screen says “100% charged” it’s actually only 80% charged. Then, over the years, its effectiveness will decrease even more.

Plus, it costs a small fortune to replace the battery in the event of an accident. It is estimated that the price of one kW is about 140 euros, which brings a small 52 kWh battery (e.g. Renault ZOE) costs 8100 euros!

Insurance better be good at this price.


European sale is prohibited car gasoline diesel

© Unsplash / Lance Asper

With a few exceptions (Tesla, Mini), the discount of the electric car is much more than the discount of the thermal car. Be careful if you plan to resell it in a few years. According to second-hand market indicators, an electric car loses up to 50% of its value after only three years of use, compared to around 30% for thermal models.

This reduction is primarily explained by the share of electric cars in the second-hand market: only 1% at the end of 2021. The introduction of assistance for the purchase of new models does not help either. Electric cars are expensive, but subsidies for buying used models are anecdotal, prompting the French to switch to new cars.

In addition, buyers have less confidence in used models, especially about the battery. It is not at all reassuring to invest several tens of thousands of euros when the battery does not provide optimal performance after 4 years.

First of all, the loss of value compared to the thermal model is impressive. For example, an electric city car is sold cheaper than its thermal equivalent (after many years and the same mileage) when it costs 10,000 euros to buy new on the second-hand market.

If you do not plan to keep your car for more than five years, this item is extremely important when buying.

There you go, now you know the top 10 hidden costs of an electric car. So, are you ready to take the plunge?

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