Who is it worth buying an electric car for this year?

Cars with batteries and plugs are heavily subsidized by the state and manufacturers. So should one strike now? The answer: It all depends.

The environmental bonus, or in the official wording the innovation bonus, for pure electric vehicles is up to 9,000 euros; or 6750 euros for plug-in hybrids. A lot of money. But if you look at the price list and do the math, you will quickly see that the subsidies from the state and the manufacturer can at best offset the additional price for the alternative drive. And since you almost inevitably have to order a new car (also subsidized young used cars are currently hard to find), at least 20,000 euros are still due. So is it worth buying an electric car?

E-cars are perfect for the city

A good deal is a BEV, a “Battery Electric Vehicle” this year for those who are mainly on the move in the city – or who can afford the luxury of a second car. Locally emission-free, quiet and with great acceleration away from the traffic lights. Plus tax-free and with low maintenance costs: this is how battery-powered cars become urban all-rounders. However, e-cars require a parking space with a charging station, which is reserved for cars with an “E” in the license plate. Anyone who lives on the fifth floor of a chic old building and cannot even let a power cable dangle out of the window should know that there is such a power station nearby.

The perfect electric car for the school run

Unfortunately, an electric car is still less recommendable at the moment if you want to take longer trips, perhaps even to the south or east of the country. Unless you invest in an expensive luxury electrician with a range of over 500 kilometers, or in a Tesla. When setting up their electric mobility, the Californians considered the charging problem at the same time and installed a close-knit infrastructure. Otherwise, another trip on the battery is only fun with a pronounced masochistic streak. Because it happens more often that some of the few charging stations are defective, already occupied or otherwise parked. And if it does work with the power tap, something will also work when paying – namely, the jaws. The German manufacturers are trying to remedy the situation with their Ionity network.

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Power of two hearts: plug-in hybrids

So is a PHEV, a “plug-in hybrid electric vehicle”, a suitable solution? Let’s start with a clear “yes” answer: It applies to all lucky ones who are given a company car by their employer. Because its taxation, which nibbles heavily on the net salary, is reduced by half. Instead of one percent of the gross list price, as is the case with gasoline or diesel vehicles, the driver only has to pay 0.5 percent per month.

But that doesn’t necessarily help the climate. Because many of these service hybrids only drive around with an internal combustion engine – although the 50 to 60 kilometers electric range would easily be enough for everyday office commuting. But most drivers are too comfortable to charge the battery. Often there is no charging station nearby, and those who plug the hybrid into their home socket at night have to pay for the electricity themselves – and that is noticeable in the annual final bill. The employer, on the other hand, usually pays for the fuel. The solution here is a wall box in the home garage. If this is available and connected to an appropriately stable power grid. They can often show the electricity they have consumed separately so that the costs can be submitted to the employer like a fuel bill. So: PHEV as a company car? Necessarily! But then please always use electricity to commute.

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Saving electricity for the destination

On the longer tour, on the other hand, the hybrid battery – apart from the higher weight – has hardly any effect worth mentioning. Because the energy storage unit empties quickly, even in the automatic fuel-electricity mix mode. Charging it again at a rest stop doesn’t do much: maybe 15 purely electric kilometers after an hour on the line, the exact value depends on the car model and the charging capacity of the column. The battery actually only makes sense if you conserve its energy on the route because you want or have to drive purely electrically at the destination.

This restriction makes the PHEV less interesting for private buyers. After all, such a car with two engines and a battery pack usually remains more expensive than the basic model with a gasoline or diesel engine, even after the subsidy has been deducted. Although performance and driving pleasure increase,

Conclusion: not everyone should grab it

You should calculate well before buying. Do I mainly drive short distances and can I charge conveniently and inexpensively, even for free, in the office or at home? Then a plug-in hybrid is definitely. But if you are on the road for a long time, you probably pay extra. Because the official, extremely low consumption according to the current WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure) standard cannot be achieved in everyday life.

Pure electric cars are ideal for city life. Here you should inform yourself beforehand about charging stations or parking spaces and, ideally, also observe their utilization.

But for frequent drivers it is better to wait another year or two. The range of pure electric cars will increase, as will the electrically possible route for hybrids, even in nasty freezing temperatures (currently still a problem). And the prices will fall – with those for batteries, which today still account for over half the costs of a pure electric car. This year, Renault subsidiary Dacia will launch a family-friendly Stromer for probably less than 20,000 euros; after deducting the environmental bonus, that leaves just over 10,000 euros. Similar attractive models will follow in the next year and the year after that.

And the premium for e-cars will still be tempting until the end of 2025. But be careful: the state share is only granted after the car has been approved. If you hesitate too long, your beautiful e-car could be more expensive than expected, given the long delivery times.

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