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Electric, hybrid or combustion engine: which is the best option?

23 June 2021
We compared the costs of 5 cars for private individuals, analyzing them by TCO: Total Cost of Ownership, a methodology that analyzes the real costs of using a vehicle.

The TCO allows, whoever intends to buy a vehicle, to calculate in advance the financial impact that this vehicle will cause, during the period in which it is the owner.
We used 5 versions of the Volkswagen Golf:

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 245 GTE+ 5p 7DSG - Hybrid: Petrol/Plug In
Volkswagen Golf 1.5 eTSI 150 R-Line 5p DSG - Mild Hybrid: Petrol/Electric
Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI 150 R-Line 5p DSG – Diesel
Volkswagen ID.3 150 55KWh Style (Pure Performance) – Electric
Volkswagen ID.3 204 62KWh Tech - Electric

The calculations were made for a period of 4 years and 100,000 km. The TCO takes into account all factors with a financial impact such as: new purchase price, depreciation suffered by cars over time, tax obligations, GDP evolution or inflation rate, among others.

We also include expected maintenance costs, tires and fuel. In hybrid vehicles we considered: 1/3 of the kilometers to electricity and 2/3 to combustion, for the calculation of fuel expenses.

There are tax incentives for those who purchase electric vehicles, such as the IUC exemption. In this way, buying electric can allow for some savings after the purchase. At the end of the 4 years, the Diesel vehicle will have paid €900 IUC, the hybrid €549 each, while the electric vehicles will have paid zero.

All in all, which models are more expensive after 4 years? According to the TCO estimate, the least profitable are mild hybrid petrol/electric vehicles and diesel cars, both costing more than €39 per 100 km.
The Golf 1.4 TSI 245 GTE+ 5p 7DSG-Hybrid version: Gasoline/Plug In doesn't become that advantageous either: €34 per 100 km.
Considering all the factors involved in the cost of vehicles, from the moment of purchase until a period of 4 years has elapsed (in which we estimate that the vehicle will have covered 100,000 km), the electric versions are clearly the most economical, with costs per 100 km between 28 and 31 €!