VIAS study confirms EVs almost always cheaper than ICE

The Belgian safety institute VIAS has confirmed with an independent study what several others, among which some leading leasing and HR service companies, claimed for more than a year: the electric car is the cheapest option today and in the long term compared to vehicles with a combustion engine (ICE). Except for the smallest city cars, as long as the choice is limited.

Interestingly, VIAS did the math for a car with an average lifespan of nine years and 15 000 per year, while LeasePlan, for instance, did that for 4-5 years and 35 000 km yearly. Again, when calculating the actual costs – the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrids are more expensive in the long run, despite high initial purchase prices for EVs.

Ingrained prejudices

In a survey with 2 000 drivers about their intentions for the next car to buy, all ingrained prejudices surface again, like too high purchase price (68%), ‘range anxiety’ (31%), and de ‘lack of charging’ (24%). That’s why only 12% of the interviewees want an EV as their next car.

The fear of getting stuck with an empty battery pushes 20% to a plug-in hybrid with a combustion engine, despite the proven highest costs of this kind of dual technology vehicle. Still, 26% want a gasoline car, and 8% even swear by diesel.

It’s not a typical Belgian phenomenon, though, as German Targobank’s yearly Car Study, a survey conducted by survey institute Forsa, showed that the average German is again increasingly falling back on gasoline cars rather than an electric one when considering buying a new car.

The tendency is quite apparent: 30% would prioritize it, compared to 22% the year before. The eagerness to switch to alternative drive trains is caving in, from 37% in 2020 to 39% in 2021 to 36% in 2022. Diesel sinks further back into oblivion with 10%. Only 16% (-1%) would go for a fully electric car, 18% (-4%) would choose a hybrid, and 20% are undecided.

The question is how far part of the car industry itself – and especially in Germany, where 800 000 people in this industry fear their survival depends on keeping the ICE alive – is deliberately nurturing this anti-EV doom thinking.

50% lower carbon footprint

Another ineradicable prejudice is that EVs are not necessarily more sustainable than ICE cars if you consider the car’s total lifecycle, including the production of the energy needed (electricity or fuel).

Again, the VIAS study wipes the floor with that argument, proving that an EV has, on average, at least a 50% lower carbon footprint, even with the negative effect of battery production and the use of ‘grey’ energy. This electricity doesn’t come from renewables.

Other studies like the one from the Dutch Radbaud University, or Transport & Environment, point in the same direction. The detailed analysis of T&E shows that an EV in Europe emits, on average, 2,6 times less CO2 than a diesel car and 2,8 times less than a gasoline car.

Largely more energy-efficient

It’s also a lifecycle analysis, taking into account the actual energy consumption of the vehicles during their life, the energy (and emissions) for the battery, vehicle production, and the winning of the raw materials.

This performance of the EV is mainly because an EV is far more energy-efficient. “EVs only lose 10% of their energy due to the efficiency of the electric motor, whereas internal combustion engines lose up to 70%,” states T&E.




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