Electric car vs petrol car: Is an EV car better than a petrol car?

Team Ackodrive6, Jun, 2022

Buying a car is a challenging task as you have endless options to choose from. And now, to make things trickier, there is another option—electric vehicles! With more and more manufacturers launching electric cars in India, it is worth considering as an option. But before that, you have to know how an EV fares against a conventional petrol car to make an informed decision. This article will address this question as we provide you with an in-depth insight on electric cars vs petrol cars.

Electric Car Vs Petrol Car

Electric vs petrol car

As the name suggests, an electric car runs on electrical energy stored in the rechargeable battery pack. Whereas a petrol car runs on conventional fuel (petrol). However, the exterior design of both EVs and petrol cars are similar. However, there may be subtle changes in the exterior design of an eco-friendly vehicle to adapt to the electric powertrain.

But by just looking at the exterior, it may be hard to say whether it’s a petrol or electric car. Below are the detailed explanations for both types of vehicles.

Electric car

An EV is equipped with an electric powertrain that comprises a battery pack, an electric motor and transmission. The energy stored in the battery pack is transmitted to the electric motor via a controller. The motor converts the electrical energy into mechanical energy via the transmission that propels the wheels. An electric car is silent in operation, thanks to the electric motor.

Petrol car

A petrol car is a vehicle equipped with an IC (Internal Combustion) engine that burns the fuel to propel the car. A petrol engine car’s powertrain includes an engine, transmission, driveshaft axles and differential. 

An IC engine burns the mixture of petrol and air with the help of a spark (through spark plugs) and generates mechanical energy. The mechanical energy is transferred to the transmission, which relays the power to the wheels via driveshafts and differential. In layman’s language, a petrol engine burns fuel to generate energy to propel the vehicle.

The below table will help you understand the key differences between both vehicles and make a wise decision when buying your next car.

Electric car vs petrol car

Parameter Electric car Petrol car
Fuel Electrical energy Petrol
Power Electric motor Internal combustion engine
Cost Expensive (High price) Affordable than EVs
Cost of fuel Low High
Cost of maintenance Low High
Fuel efficiency Higher in the city and lower on highways Higher on highways and lower in city roads
Carbon emissions Zero High

Electric car vs petrol car: cost comparison

Cost is one of the most significant factors when it comes to electric cars vs petrol cars.. Generally, the upfront cost of an EV is on the higher side when compared to a petrol engine-powered car. The reason for this is the advanced technology and complex electric powertrain of an EV. To understand this, let’s look at the price difference between Tata Nexon and Tata Nexon EV.

Example: Tata Nexon is a compact SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle), and Tata Motors retails both the petrol and electric variant of the Nexon in India. Now, let’s compare the ex-showroom and on-road prices of the Tata Nexon EV and petrol variant.

Tata Nexon EV XM (Base variant) Tata Nexon XM Petrol (Base variant)
Ex-showroom price (Delhi): Rs. 13.99 lakhs Ex-showroom price (Delhi): Rs. 7.97 lakhs
On-road price (Delhi): Rs. 14.76 lakhs On-road price (Delhi): Rs. 8.18 lakhs

So, there’s a significant price difference between the electric and petrol variants. So, why electric cars are expensive? It’s mainly because of the high cost of the battery pack. Other factors such as complex electronics, advance features also bump up the price of an electric car.

However, for the Nexon EV, there are no registration charges. But on the other hand, insuring the electric SUV is an expensive affair.  

The upfront cost alone cannot project the correct picture of the overall cost of ownership. You may have to consider several factors while calculating the ownership costs of an electric and petrol car.

Below are the factors that impact the overall cost of an electric/petrol car.

  • Price: When it comes to price (ex-showroom/on-road), EVs are expensive. If you plan to own an electric vehicle, be ready to invest a significant amount of money. On the other hand, petrol cars are affordable when compared to their battery-powered counterparts.

  • Registration charges: In India, there are no registration charges for electric vehicles. So, this saves a significant amount of money while purchasing an EV. On the other hand, you have to pay the registration charges while buying a petrol vehicle. The registration fee varies depending on the price of the car.

  • Car insurance: Insuring an electric vehicle will cost you dearly. An EV is equipped with expensive components such as the battery pack, electric motor, etc. So, the cost of insurance is on the higher side. The car insurance premium for a petrol car is comparatively lower than an EV.

  • Incentives: You can avail of the government-provided incentives/subsidies when purchasing an eco-friendly car. The incentives help to bring down the price of an EV slightly. Moreover, you can enjoy tax benefits if you buy an EV on a car loan. On the contrary, petrol vehicles do not receive any such benefits.

  • Fuel consumption: Electric cars are a step ahead of petrol cars when it comes to fuel efficiency. Given that electricity costs less than petrol, the running cost of an EV is low.

  • The fuel economy of a petrol car depends on the engine capacity and several other factors. However, with the rising fuel costs, the overall running cost of a petrol car is on the higher side.

  • Maintenance cost: An electric vehicle has fever mechanical/moving parts. Hence, the cost of maintenance is low. In contrast, a petrol vehicle is equipped with complex mechanical parts such as an engine, gearbox, brakes, etc. Servicing/repairing these components is necessary and bumps up the maintenance cost.

  • Resale value: There is a lack of supply of second-hand EVs when it comes to the used cars market. Hence, your used electric car may return you a higher resale value than a petrol engine-powered car. However, the value of your second-hand EV depends on the make/model, condition and geographical location.

Pros and cons of electric cars

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of an electric car.

Advantages of electric cars

  • Electric cars are easy to drive due to simple controls.

  • They are silent in operation due to the absence of mechanical parts.

  • EVs deliver quick acceleration due to the high torque available from the get-go.

  • Low maintenance and the service intervals are not as frequent as petrol vehicles.

  • Low running cost.

  • Electric cars produce zero emissions and help to reduce carbon footprints.

  • You can charge electric cars at your home provided you install a home charging system.

  • Electric vehicles are eligible for government-provided subsidies and tax benefits if you buy an EV on loan.

Disadvantages of electric cars

  • The driving range of electric vehicles is low, and you cannot cover long distances without charging the car.

  • Lack of public charging stations can be an issue when driving your EV for long distances.

  • Installing a home charging module is an added expense.

  • Lack of expert mechanics to service/repair eco-friendly cars.

  • Replacing the battery pack of an EV can burn a hole in your pocket.

Pros and cons of petrol cars

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of petrol engine-powered cars.

Advantages of petrol cars

  • You can select from a wide range of petrol vehicles available in the market.

  • Conventional petrol cars are available at an affordable price.

  • Petrol vehicles offer an engaging driving experience with better acceleration, handling and top speed.

  • Petrol engines last longer than electric motors found in EVs.

  • A vast network of service centres and easy availability of expert mechanics make it easier to own a petrol car.

  • Petrol fuel stations are available everywhere. So, refuelling is not an issue.

  • Conventional cars can run long distances on a full tank of fuel.

Disadvantages of petrol cars

  • Running costs of petrol engine-powered cars are high because petrol is more expensive than electrical energy.

  • Maintenance cost is also on the higher side due to complex mechanical components.

  • Produces harmful carbon emissions that pollute the environment.

Factors that favour EV car buying

Here are some of the factors that favour the purchase of an eco-friendly car.

  • Cost of fuel: An electric car runs on electrical energy. Electricity costs way less than conventional fuels (petrol/diesel), hence, it results in low running costs, and it is one of the most crucial factors of owning a car.

  • Low maintenance: There is no hassle of frequent visits to the service centre when you own an EV. Due to fewer mechanical components, the service intervals of an electric car are not as frequent as a conventional car. It also reduced the overall cost of ownership.

  • Unique driving experience: Electric cars offer a unique driving experience as they are silent in operation. With simple driving controls and quiet operation, an EV is easy to drive even on crowded roads.

Factors favouring petrol car purchase

Below are some of the points that favour the purchase of a conventional petrol car.

  • Price: Petrol vehicles are affordable than EVs. It is one of the most significant plus points of conventional cars. You can find a petrol car in various price brackets, which is not the case with electric vehicles.

  • Variety of options: When you purchase a conventional car, you are left with an endless list of options. From small hatchbacks to large SUVs, you can find vehicles from various brands. With such a vast list of options, you can pick the right car for your needs.

  • Performance: Petrol engines deliver superior performance when it comes to the driving experience. If you need a powerful car, you can find a vehicle with a larger engine capacity and advanced technology. Overall, petrol cars provide sheer driving pleasure with the responsive IC (Internal Combustion) engine.

  • A vast network of service centres: You need not worry about servicing your car or finding spare parts when you drive a petrol engine-powered vehicle. Because you can find service centres and expert mechanics around the nook and corner of the country, it’s very convenient to service/repair your petrol car.

  • Driving range: A petrol car offers a good driving range on a full tank of fuel. Moreover, you can find petrol fuel stations across the country and refuelling takes only a few minutes.

Conclusion

The vital question to be addressed here is—should you buy an electric car or a petrol car? It entirely depends on your requirements and geographical location. Electric vs petrol car is the talk of the town in the Indian automotive market. But in the end, it’s your requirement that matters to make a choice.

If you are looking for daily commute

If you reside in a metro city and driving involves just commuting to your work, an EV can be a practical solution, provided you are willing to pay the price it demands.

If you are looking for all-in-one car

If you are looking for a do-it-all car that offers punchy performance, then an EV might not be a sensible option. Remember that the charging infrastructure is not in place at a large-scale level, and thus, charging the car can be a challenge. Also, you can buy a petrol car at affordable prices and save some money. To sum it up, EVs are not a bad option considering the current scenario, but they can’t be your ‘only’ car.

Also, read: Drum Brakes vs Disc Brakes

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about electric cars vs petrol cars.

Icon
Are electric cars more affordable than petrol cars in India?

No, currently, EVs are more expensive than petrol engine cars in India. However, with the evolution of EV technology, battery-powered cars may become affordable in the coming years.

Do I save or lose money by buying an electric vehicle in India?

The initial investment to own an EV is on the higher side. However, the running cost of an eco-friendly car is very low. So, you can eventually recover the initial investment. Hence, you end up saving money in the long run. But this only works if you plan to use the EV for a long time.

What is the biggest problem in owning an EV in India?

Charging infrastructure may be the biggest hurdle for EV owners in India. The lack of charging stations make it a challenge to own an electric vehicle in the country. But gradually, the situation is improving, and over time we can expect a considerable improvement in charging infrastructure. Another challenge is the lack of service centres and expert mechanics to service/repair the EVs.

Explore More:

Icon
Tags
ev guide