Why is an electric car so expensive to buy?

With a similar finish and despite the deduction of the € 5,000 organic bonus, a new electric car costs 40 to 60% more than its petrol counterpart. A dissuasive additional cost for many motorists despite the significant savings in usage. But what is the origin of this price difference between an electric car and a thermal car?

Some electric cars at very low prices, such as the Dacia Spring and Renault Twingo ZE, have recently landed on the market. Apart from these exceptions, the technology remains significantly more expensive than petrol and diesel on most models. Between thermal and electric, the extra price generally amounts to between 8,000 and 10,000 €. About the battery is the main culprit for this discrepancythis is not the only element to inflate prices.

Examples of price differences between thermal and electrical

Renault Clio

entry level

Renault Clio

finish corresponding to entry-level electric

Renault Zoe

entry level

Price catalog

(€ 5,000 bonus deducted for electric)

€ 17,100

€ 19,900

€ 27,800

Price difference in relation to electricity

– 63%

– 40%

Peugeot 208

entry level

Peugeot 208

finish corresponding to entry-level electric

Peugeot e-208

entry level

Price catalog

(€ 5,000 bonus deducted for electric)

€ 17,500

€ 19,200

€ 28,950

Price difference in relation to electricity

– 66%

– 56%

Hyundai Kona

entry-level corresponding finish

to electric

Hyundai Kona electric 39 kWh

entry level

Hyundai Kona electric 64 kWh

entry level

Price catalog

(€ 5,000 bonus deducted for electric)

€ 24,350

€ 36,400

€ 41,200

Price difference in relation to electricity

– 69% (64 kWh)

– 50% (39 kWh)

The absence of entry-level finish increases the price of the electric car

Of many electric models are not offered in entry-level finish. The cheapest versions thus start with a mid-range finish that is already well-equipped but more expensive. The additional cost amounts to a few hundred to a few thousand euros for comfort equipment that is not essential. For the sake of a wealthy clientele, some manufacturers find it appropriate not to offer their electric models in an “economical” finish.

The battery, a large cost in an electric car

This is the crux of the matter. Whether it’s for a car, a stationary storage system or a household appliance, one battery is expensive. Mainly imported from Asia and composed of a layer of materials at capricious prices, manufacturers struggle to control their costs. The development in the price of lithium carbonate is a glaring example: it went from € 6,430 per. tonnes in January 2021 to more than € 45,000 in January 2022.

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This increase could put an end to the spectacular fall in the price of batteries, according to AVERE, the national association for the development of electric mobility. From $ 684 in 2013, the average price of a kilowatt-hour battery had plummeted to $ 132 in 2021.

Production volume of electric cars is lower

Mankind collects significantly fewer electric cars than thermal models. 1,016,990 new petrol and diesel vehicles were sold in France in 2021, compared to “only” 162,107 100% electric vehicles. A car manufactured in very large quantities can be sold at a lower price than a model with more confidential production. For example, the Peugeot 208 sold 88,013 thermal copies compared to 17,858 electrical copies (Peugeot e-208) in France in 2021.

The diversity of supply and competition

If the offer has been expanded in recent years, there are always blank pages in the catalog. The new models are generally large vehicles (SUVs, high-end sedans), and the economy segment for micro-city cars has almost been abandoned. Only three electric vehicles (excluding those without a driving license) now have a deductible bonus rate of less than € 20,000. These are the Dacia Spring (€ 14,290), the Renault Twingo ZE (€ 18,650) and the Volkswagen e-Up (€ 19,690). The Fiat 500 e will go back above the symbolic threshold when the ecological bonus is reduced (from € 6,000 to € 5,000) planned for July 2022. A low diversity that does not help push prices down.

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Dacia Spring vs Renault Twingo ZE test: which is the best electric city car?

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