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ELECTRIC VERSUS PETROL AND DIESEL: WHICH IS RIGHT FOR ME?

When deciding on your next car, you’ll find there are a host of options. Fuel type is just one of these. Whether you should get a traditional petrol or diesel car, or go more modern with an electric vehicle (EV) will depend entirely on both your personal preferences and current circumstances.


Work out what you want


To pick your perfect car, you should consider factors such as budget, space requirements and the type of driving you usually do. Below we’ve listed the key considerations:




 

Performance

General performance levels of all these fuel types are good, despite some myths that EVs are lacking on their more traditional counterparts, but there are differences to be aware of. Electric cars, for example, are often much quicker off the line due to their instant torque.

Petrol and diesel alternatives are seen as the go-to for those wanting greater reliability, but the range of newer electric cars is on the rise. The Citroën ë-C4 will achieve more than 200 miles on a single charge and be topped up in little over an hour with a rapid charger. For drivers who’d still prefer the added peace of mind that can come with an internal combustion engine (ICE), however, there’s the C5 Aircross SUV Plug-In Hybrid.


There also tends to be a misconception in some quarters that electric cars are boring to drive, but over time these thoughts are becoming more and more challenged. Citroën has put a focus on developing its EV line-up over the next few years, so you can expect continued improvement in electric performance.

Running costs

Although they generally cost more to acquire in the first place, electric vehicles are cheaper to run in the long term in most cases. Fuel costs, which typically rise year on year, are worth bearing in mind, along with other expenses like tax rates.

The main cost saving for electric cars comes from not having to pay for fuel. Even considering the cost of electricity, it’s usually much cheaper to charge an EV than it is to refill with petrol or diesel. For example, the ë-C4 takes one hour 13 minutes to fully charge when hooked up to a 100 kW rapid charger – using the average UK rate (14.40p per kWh), this means a ‘full tank’ could cost as little as £17.52.

Another factor that will become increasingly prominent in car buying is the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. Although the purchase and ownership of existing petrol and diesel models made before 2030 will not be affected by the ban, many motorists may decide to make the switch ahead of time.

Fully electric cars, which don’t produce any exhaust emissions, do not have to pay road tax, saving hundreds or even thousands of pounds across ownership. There also tends to be much less wear and tear with electric vehicles, due to the fewer moving parts, so you could be saving money on general maintenance costs, too.

Value and depreciation

Another consideration is depreciation. As cars age, they drop in value – for different makes, models and conditions, this occurs at varying rates.

Prices for second-hand electric cars have been favourable in the last few years and they can hold their value for longer. A large part of this is the value of the battery packs, which don’t depreciate much at all. The UK lockdowns have also had a part to play, with many vehicles doing considerably lower mileage than they otherwise would have and thus retaining value.

While this has affected vehicles of all fuel types, petrol and diesel cars can lose their value more quickly, so it’s worth considering this if you’re in the market for an upgrade.


 

Environmental impact

One of the biggest factors splitting electric and petrol or diesel cars is the environmental impact, with plenty of green benefits to owning an electric car:

· In all-electric models, exhaust emissions are removed completely, reducing air pollution considerably. Greenpeace state that an EV has “half the climate impact over its lifetime” when compared to the average petrol or diesel car. Hybrids such as the C5 Aircross Plug-In Hybrid can also offer significant emissions reductions, especially if predominantly used in their all-electric modes for those short distance trips

· EVs can also help reduce noise pollution, as they are much quieter than standard vehicles, helping create a more peaceful environment

· Even though manufacturing electric cars does use a lot of energy, it’s balanced out by the zero- or low-emissions motoring across an EV’s lifetime

· Carbon emissions of an electric car are around 17-30% lower than a petrol or diesel car, according to the European Energy Agency

· You can save on road tax – all-electric cars are completely exempt from road tax and, as of 6 April 2020, even the £335 surcharge for vehicles costing more than £40,000 when new doesn’t apply. Hybrids are eligible for a £10 discount on yearly rates

· Ultra Low Emission Zones are free of charge for drivers of all-electric vehicles, but some hybrid vehicles may not be exempt. Although there are only a handful of low-emissions zones across the UK right now, such as the London zone that expanded in October 2021, many more are expected in the next few years – from Aberdeen to Oxford and many places between

· Priority parking bays are a common incentive for electric cars, too, which are often free and equipped with charging ports, saving money on parking fees and electricity at home




A Citroën for you

The answer to the commonly asked question ‘are electric cars better than petrol cars?’ cannot be categorically answered one way or the other, as it will depend on your circumstances and preferences. For some, an electric car will be ideal, while for others they may prefer to go with the more traditional petrol or diesel cars. At Citroën, we have a range of cars that suits each preference:



 

Citroën Ami - electric car

Since its 2020 debut, when it was originally announced as an all-new EV on the continent, the Ami has turned heads and now creates a new direction for UK travel. With a length of less than 2.5m and a turning circle of 7.2m (less than a London taxi), the Ami is built for urban driving.

A top speed of 28mph and range of 43 miles is plenty for city motorists – the average driver commutes 782 miles per year, or 16 miles per week, so the Ami will have most well covered. It’s gaining praise from the press as well, as Microcar of the Year at the GQ Car Awards 2021 and winner of Auto Express’s Technology Award this year, along with a 9/10 score from Top Gear.

There’s even a business variant, the Ami Cargo, capable of carrying up to 140kg and with a maximum load capacity of 400 litres – making it an ideal compact companion for urban logistics. And with ULEZ exemption, it’s also a perfect partner for small deliveries in London.

Citroën ë-C4 - electric car

The ë-C4 is 100% electric, with a range of up to 220 miles and charge time as little one hour 13 minutes. With much less noise and vibration than you’d find in a petrol or diesel alternative, the ë-C4 makes for a smooth driving experience. The design of the car also mixes the security and presence of an SUV with the elegance of a hatchback, making for a perfect blend.

There are also three flexible driving modes to enjoy: ‘Normal’ mode for a balance of economy and performance, ‘Eco’ for maximum range and ‘Sport’ providing peak power and torque. Citroën also offers the ë-Berlingo and ë-SpaceTourer for all-electric motoring on a bigger scale.

Citroën C3 - petrol and diesel

With an instinctive and bold design, the new Citroën C3 gives the compact hatch an energetic new look with redesigned alloy wheels and Airbumps. The latter protects the bodywork from everyday bumps and grazes, keeping the car in its best condition. The C3 can also be customised with 97 different colour combinations.

Each seat features a specific padded design for added comfort, while the 300-litre boot provides plenty of room for a car of this size. You can also choose from a range of the latest petrol and diesel engines.

Citroën C5 Aircross Plug-In Hybrid - hybrid

Combining a 1.6-litre petrol engine and 80 kW electric motor for a total output of 225 hp, the C5 Aircross Plug-In Hybrid isn’t short on power. It’ll also travel up to 37 miles on electricity alone – enough to get most motorists to work and back with zero exhaust emissions. There’s also a full-EV indicator for accessing restricted traffic zones.

Even with a standard domestic socket, it can be charged in six hours, or just two hours with a 32A wall box, meaning there’s plenty time to top the battery up while you’re in the office or sleeping at home.

Behind the wheel is a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel with all the info you need on the move, and an eight-inch touchscreen on the centre console that’s equipped with Citroën Connect Nav and Connect Play. Couple that with Citroën’s great attention to comfort and you’ve got a car that’s engineered for easy motoring.

 

To find out if going electric is right for you, we’ve also covered helpful topics like how EVs work and deciding if electric is right for families. Our dealership teams are always available, too, to help with any queries you have. Our Locate a Dealer tool will help you find the closest site to you.