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The growing interest in eco-friendly cars

  Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Chargers plugged into two electric cars at charge station

There is no question that environmentally friendly cars are becoming more popular. In a sense they have to be. In the UK the sale of new petrol and diesel cars are banned after 2030, so soon an electric vehicle will be the only choice if you want to buy a new car. Consumers are increasingly seeing the environmental and cost benefits of driving an eco vehicle, but what environmental value do they have, how much do they cost, and which are the most common types?

How expensive are eco-friendly cars?

The biggest issue for people considering buying an electric car is the forecourt price. The average price of an electric car in 2022 in the UK was £44,000, significantly higher than the equivalent cost of a car with a traditional internal combustion engine. However, the EV market has expanded rapidly in recent years, with a considerable number of luxury models being manufactured having the effect of bumping up average prices.

In fact, it is possible to buy a new fully electric car for under £30,000 – the entry level Fiat 500 Electric is the cheapest at the time of writing, at just over £20,000; the Nissan Leaf, one of the first environmentally friendly hatchback models, is around £28,000. Of course you don’t have to buy brand new – second hand electric cars are much more affordable. You could pick up an 8-year-old Nissan Leaf for about £6,000.

The reason that EVs are so expensive is that they are still not manufactured on a scale to compete with petrol or diesel counterparts. But this will inevitably change as more and more eco vehicles are produced, and the price will come down.

Are environmentally friendly cars cheaper to run?

Yes. Fully electric vehicles have fewer mechanical parts than cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE), so there are fewer parts with the potential to fail and need to be repaired. It is estimated that annual servicing and maintenance costs for an eco-friendly car are in the region of £200, 49% lower than an ICE vehicle. Plus, while the price of charging an EV has increased over the last couple of years, both at home and through public charging points, it is still marginally less expensive than filling up with petrol or diesel.

Another added bonus is the fact that owners of fully electric cars (BEVs) do not pay any Vehicle Excise Duty (commonly described as ‘road tax’, although roads are paid for through general taxation or toll barriers). Owners of other environmentally friendly cars (plug-in hybrids, hybrids) currently receive a £10 annual discount on their car tax if their cars are more than one year old. However, from 1 April 2025 the free exemption for fully electric cars will end. For EVs after their first year of registration, owners will pay the standard Band 2 VED rate of £180.

How ‘green’ are green cars?

There is no question that a fully electric or hybrid car will pollute the atmosphere while being driven much less than a car with a diesel or petrol engine, which run on fossil fuels. A fully electric car has zero tailpipe emissions, while a family car in the UK will emit an average of 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, according to research by Nimble Fins. So, in this sense, they are as green as they could possibly be.

The only major concern, ironically, is with the lithium-ion battery, and the way they are sourced. They are made from several rare minerals, which have to be mined and so are non-renewable. A survey by the International Council on Clean Transportation found that an EV produced two tonnes more CO2 emissions during its production process than an equivalent ICE vehicle, which would take around a year of driving to offset.

However, on balance an electric car is by far the greener alternative.

The most environmentally friendly cars

So, what are the main types of eco cars on the market?

2023 Renault Zoe Iconic recently at auction

BEV (battery electric vehicle)

Also known as PEVs or pure EVs, a BEV has an electric motor run entirely from the battery. They have zero emissions. Popular BEVs on the second-hand market include the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S and Renault Zoe.

PHEV (Plug-in hybrid)

Perhaps regarded as a stepping stone to a BEV, plug-in hybrids are cars with both an electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine. They use a combination of the two, usually starting a journey from the battery and then moving to the engine once the battery is depleted. Popular PHEVs include the Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Niro and Kia Optima.

HEV (full hybrid)

An HEV is a car with a self-charging battery and a petrol or diesel engine. Full hybrids can only run for a few miles on battery power alone, and they cannot be charged from the mains. They have lower CO2 emissions than a pure ICE vehicle, so there are tax benefits for the driver.

Start your eco-friendly journey by scrapping your petrol car at ASM

Many vehicle owners in the UK may be interested in scrapping or recycling their used car in favour of a more eco-friendly, cost-effective green car. At ASM Auto Recycling we provide vehicle dismantling and scrap metal processing services for recycling and car scrappage, allowing your vehicle to be dismantled safely. These can be recycled for used car parts that provide a cost-effective alternative for used car owners looking for replacement parts.

Why not earn some money for scrapping or recycling your used car today and put it towards that eco car you’ve set your sights on? You can sell your car to ASM today and get same day cash. Use our online form to get an instant quote.

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