On October 14, 2021, international car fleet management company LeasePlan released its 2021 Car Cost Index. While the company only handles cars and not motorcycles, it’s still of potential interest to riders. Why? In the six years since it started pulling this report together, 2021 marks the first time LeasePlan has found cost parity between electric cars and their combustion counterparts in the majority of European countries surveyed. 

LeasePlan tallied results across 22 European countries, including the United Kingdom. Countries included are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 

This survey tallies up the total cost of ownership of cars, averaged over a period of four years and assuming an average driving distance of 30,000 kilometers (or around 18,641 miles) per year. Interestingly, the survey found that the electric Volkswagen ID.3 costs less to own than all forms of VW Golf in the majority of countries surveyed. 

For LeasePlan to consider EVs “cost-competitive” with cars powered by other means (gasoline, diesel, and hybrid), those EVs must have a TCO no more than five percent higher than other energy sources. LeasePlan also broke its results down by vehicle segments, including mid-size standard or premium segments, the compact segment, and sub-compact segment.  

So, what did the survey find? Overall, EVs are fully cost-competitive in the premium mid-size segment in 17 out of the 22 countries. That includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, in the compact segment, EVs are fully competitive in 14 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.  

Furthermore, the company estimates that if the current trend continues, EVs should reach full cost-competitiveness in all 22 countries surveyed by the mid-2020s. That’s a pretty impressive trajectory, even if it doesn’t yet include motorbikes.  

The more EVs are on the road everywhere, the greater the infrastructure needed to support them—and if they’re to remain on the road, the greater the infrastructure buildout and maintenance will be. While established motorcycle and scooter OEMs haven’t been as quick to get on the EV train as car makers have, everyone from Piaggio to Honda to BMW has been making significant strides as of late. Removing (or at least reducing) barriers to entry can only be a good thing for future electric motorbike riders, too. 

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