Previously, we’ve investigated how long it would take to drive from Lands’ End to John O’Groats in an electric vehicle. We estimated that this trip would take almost 22 hours if there was no traffic, no waits for the chargers and an average charge time of 45 minutes. Now, we want to analyse how much this trip would cost to see if electric vehicles are a viable option for fleets that need to travel long distances.
Electric vehicles are generally cheaper to maintain and so many businesses are now considering making the switch to electric to reduce costs. However, fleets that regularly travel across the UK will need to factor in the potential costs of overnight stays and recharging which could make business trips more expensive.
In this article, we will examine the purchase cost of the Citroën ë-Relay, select budget-friendly locations for overnight stays, and estimate costs for charging an electric vehicle to provide an overview of how much a long-distance journey could cost.
Many drivers have been deterred from making the switch to electric due to the high upfront costs of EV vehicles. These costs will significantly impact businesses on a budget, who may be unable to afford EV vehicles for their fleet.
Although fleets can often get affordable finance deals on their vehicles, we still think it’s important to highlight the difference in purchase cost for the Citroën ë-Relay and its diesel counterpart, as this may impact your decision about whether to switch to electric.
Prices for a new Citroën ë-Relay start from nearly £50,000, whereas prices for the diesel alternative start from £21,000. This is a huge difference in price and so must be considered when thinking about an all-electric fleet, particularly for businesses with larger and mixed vehicle fleets.
According to UK law, drivers must not travel for more than 4.5 hours without taking a 45-minute break and they’re only able to drive for 9 hours in a day. In this example, we have considered these guidelines and the fact that the range of an electric vehicle does not reach as far as a diesel vehicle, so drivers will need to make more stops where they can recharge.
We’ve previously estimated that the trip from Lands’ End to John O’Groats would take 22 hours, including stops for charging, and so drivers would need to have at least 1 overnight stay to comply with Government regulations. However, this would require your working day to be a total of 11 hours and so another overnight stop may be required.
For this trip, we have chosen the Ibis Hotel in Preston as it’s both affordable and close to the original route. Assuming there is no traffic and not including charge times, it would take 6 and a half hours to drive from Lands’ End to this hotel and will cost, on average, £60 for one night. To split up the trip further, you could also stay overnight in the Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore which costs an average of £59 per night. This will give drivers the chance to rest whilst admiring the stunning countryside views. It’s then just a 3-hour drive to John O’Groats.
In comparison, this trip would only take 16 hours in a diesel vehicle so only one overnight stop would be needed. The mid-way point of the journey would lead you to the Days Inn Hotel in Gretna Green, costing you around £70 for the night.
This difference in cost between these two trips is therefore dependent on whether a second overnight stay is needed, however, the journey would be far longer and more tiring in an electric vehicle.
We’ve predicted that you would need to make 8 stops to recharge during the journey from Lands’ End to John O’Groats. It costs around £7 to £10 to charge an EV vehicle to 80% at a public rapid charger, however, this varies depending on the location, tariff, energy cost, battery capacity, charging speed and charge level. We can therefore estimate that charging your electric vehicle for this trip would cost a maximum of £80 which is significantly less than the cost of a full tank of fuel.
The complete costs for this trip are:
This example trip has therefore proven that although it’s cheaper to charge an electric vehicle, it would still cost drivers more money overall than if they travelled in a diesel vehicle. The range of the Citroën ë-Relay cannot compete with its diesel counterpart, so more stops are required which increases costs for drivers, particularly if an overnight stay is required. This can also create complications with break times and pay as drivers in electric vehicles will have significantly more downtime as they stop to recharge. The increased timescale can also lead to reduced revenue as trips are taking far longer which limits the number of journeys that drivers can make.
With these concerns in mind, we surveyed our own customers to see if they intend to move to electric within the next 12 months. The answer was a resounding no, as many were deterred by the cost factor of EV vehicles and the lack of accessible charging points. This is hardly surprising when you consider that the trip from Lands’ End to John O’Groats would cost more money and take significantly longer.
Encouraging the switch to electric
Whilst time and cost are very important and immediate concerns to businesses, it’s worth remembering that by 2035 sales of new petrol and diesel engine vehicles will be banned in the UK. The move to alternative fuels such as electric and hydrogen for HGVs is a positive step for the environment and can, in the short term, be seen as a positive point when promoting your business.
Lex Autolease, the UK’s leading leasing specialists, have embarked on the Great British EV Rally, where they will be testing the UK’s EV charging infrastructure by travelling from John O’Groats to Lands’ End in an electric vehicle. Although this journey has been carried out across 5 days rather than the 2 that we’ve been discussing, it’s a good indicator of how feasible the trip would be and shows how EVs can improve efficiency and save fleets money in the long run.
This journey does not highlight the difficulties that businesses could face when switching to electric as they’re often under greater time constraints and usually have a limited budget for travel costs. However, we know preparing to switch your business fleet to electric will become increasingly important so we’re working to develop a new EV fuel card option. If you would like more information when this becomes available, please let us know here.
David JamesDavid has worked in the fuel card industry since 2008. His financial insights have been featured in various publications, such as The Sun, the Daily Express and The Yorkshire Times where he provides money-saving tips for motorists. David is passionate about charity work and regularly raises money through running events, including the London Marathon and the Leeds Abbey Dash.