Cost Comparison. Electric Car vs. Petrol: Which car costs more anually?

A cost comparison between the Hyundai IONIQ Electro Trend and the Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI Trend DCT

Electric vs. Combustion – Which Car Pays Off?

Hyundai IONIQ Elektro

Some decisions are based on gut feelings. Others are based on deep convictions. The Sparks family from North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany have long dreamed of owning a sleek and stylish Hyundai IONIQ electric car to drive around their neighbourhood without spitting out any exhaust fumes! What are the other drivers actually waiting for, they wonder?

Their neighbour, Mr. Burns, has a completely different perspective. Even in 2019, he is looking to invest in a petrol car: the compact Hyundai i30. Inexpensive to buy – respectable price-performance ratio. And perfectly adequate for his 20-km commute to the neighbouring city every day. Why bother trying something new?

Hyundai i30

Neighbourly Competition: Who Pays Less for Their Car?

At the annual summer fair, they tell each other about their plans for their new cars. A heated discussion ensues. Who has made the best choice? And who has bet on the wrong horse, or car in this case?

In the end, the numbers alone are what count for the two family men. So let's compare the two vehicles and their costs.

1. Purchase price

E-car fan Mr. Sparks has to pay about €33,000 for his Hyundai IONIQ Electric Trend at a dealership, while Mr. Burns only has to pay €24,550 for the Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI Trend DCT. That means the electric version is around 34% more expensive than its petrol counterpart.

Why is there such a big price difference? The primary cost factor for the Hyundai IONIQ is its battery. It makes up about 40% of the total value.

Automobile experts predict that in a few years even large batteries, which allow a reasonable range, will be available for less than €10,000.  By 2020, prices will already be 20% lower than in 2016.

In 2010, battery costs were still about €600 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Since then, the cost of lithium-ion batteries has steadily fallen year by year. Analysts have calculated that car companies had to pay an average of €170 per kilowatt hour in 2017. That's about 25% less than the previous year. According to a recent study from Horváth & Partners, a kilowatt hour may cost less than €100 in 2020.

 Hyundai IONIQ Electro TrendHyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI Trend DCT
Purchase price 33.300 € 24.550 €


2. Charging Infrastructure for the Hyundai IONIQ

While Mr. Burns still has to drive to the petrol station to fill up, Mr. Sparks would do well to invest in his own charging station. This would give him complete flexibility when driving and allow him to charge safely at home.

A wallbox comes in at at least €600. On top of that, come potential installation costs and modifications to the house's electrics. Many companies are now building their own charging infrastructure for their company parking spaces. which is very convenient for employees with electric cars.

3. Possible Subsidies and Tax Incentives for Electric Cars

Not only is the Sparks family thinking about the future of mobility, an electro-friendly agenda is also being set in politics. Since 2016, there has been a national subsidy in Germany for electric cars, called the environmental bonus. Up until mid-2019, €4000 will be deducted from the list price of many electric car models, including the Hyundai IONIQ.

That means Mr. Sparks will save about one-fifth of the original estimated price. In some German states and cities, even more funding comes on top of that – a little research definitely pays off! Unfortunately, our neighbour with the combustion engine can forget about these financial incentives.

Tax incentives: In the case of a company car, the driver must pay tax on private journeys with the car as a so-called pecuniary advantage. A reduced tax rate of 0.5 percent of the gross list price will apply to electric vehicles from 2019. Petrol and diesel vehicles on the other hand will still be taxed at 1%.

This calculation is irrelevant for our two drivers, however, as their vehicles are being purchased privately. 

More on the topic: Why you should drive an electric car as your company vehicle

4. Fuel/Energy Consumption

As far as fuel consumption is concerned, the Hyundai IONIQ is a step ahead of the Hyundai i30 – much to the delight of Mr. Sparks. During an afternoon chat over the fence, he gives Mr. Burns a comprehensive breakdown of this point.

His chosen electric car uses about 14.7 kWh per 100 km at an average electricity price of €0.30 per kilowatt hour. In contrast, the Hyundai i30 needs 5.2 litres of petrol per 100 km, at an average petrol price of about €1.50 per litre in Germany.

 Over a distance of 15,000 kilometres per year, this results in energy consumption costs of €662 for the Hyundai IONIQ and a whopping €1170 for the Hyundai i30.

 Hyundai IONIQ Elektro TrendHyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI Trend DCT
Consumption per 100 km 14,7 5,2
Electricity/ fuel price 0,3 1,5
Energy/ fuel consumption cost (15.000 km per year) 662 € 1170 €


5. Car Tax

Many factors play a role when calculating car tax. Engine type, engine size, CO2 emissions...

Newly registered electric cars will be exempt from taxation until 31 December 2020. Mr. Sparks is in the clear! His neighbour with the Hyundai i30 will have to pay €98 in car tax each year.

 Hyundai IONIQ Electro TrendHyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI Trend DCT
Car tax - redundant-  98 €


6. Car Insurance

Another crucial aspect of everyday driving pleasure is of course adequate car insurance. Insurance premiums are based on statistics. According to insurance company Allianz, there are a lot of factors that come into play: model, no-claims bonus, region, damage and cost development and finally individual factors such as the owner's driving experience.

And the results for our two proud new car owners: Comprehensive insurance for the Hyundai IONIQ costs Mr. Sparks €969 a year. The Hyundai i30 comes with insurance costs of €1260.  

 Hyundai IONIQ Electro TrendHyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI Trend DCT
Fully-comprehensive insurance 969 € 1.260 €


7. Maintenance and Servicing

Regular maintenance and servicing are important for making that new-car feeling last as long as possible. For petrol cars, this includes changing engine oil and replacing the brake fluid. Mr. Burns pays around €744 a year for this for his Hyundai i30. This is because vehicles with combustion engines have significantly more wear parts than those with electric motors – which of course leads to higher repair and maintenance costs.

This gives the electric car a significant advantage: As the Institute for the Automotive Industry (ifa) established years ago, maintenance and repair costs for electric vehicles are around 30 percent lower than those of a comparable vehicle with a combustion engine. And in fact, Mr. Sparks only has to pay €552 a year for maintenance on his Hyundai IONIQ.

 Hyundai IONIQ Electro TrendHyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI Trend DCT
Maintenance and servicing 552 € 744 €


8. Residual Value of the Vehicle

The final factor to compare is the residual value. To determine the residual value, you need broad knowledge of vehicles and the market in order to take all the relevant information into account. Non-experts are generally not very familiar with the value factors. However, you can also consult knowledgeable sources, such as the ADAC in Germany. So that's what our two competitive neighbours did. After five years, the residual value of the Hyundai IONIQ is €7100, and for the Hyundai i30, €6070.

 Hyundai IONIQ Electro TrendHyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI Trend DCT
Residual value after 5 years 7.100 € 6.070 €


Conclusion: Which Car Costs Less Overall?

At the summer fair the next year, the two neighbours take stock of their experiences.  In the first year, the Hyundai i30 was still somewhat cheaper than its electric counterpart in terms of running costs: the Hyundai IONIQ electric coming in at €7723, and the Hyundai i30 at only €6968.


However, the long-term perspective is very interesting, as Mr. Sparks was quick to point out. When calculated over several years, the difference in annual costs continues to shrink and after four years of ownership finally turns in favour of the electric car. So in a few years Mr. Sparks will be able to say with a clear conscience: My Hyundai IONIQ is cheaper than the comparable petrol version, the Hyundai i30!

The table below shows the overall cost comparison of the two vehicles after five years.

Cost factors

Hyundai IONIQ Electro Trend

Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI Trend DCT

One-off costs



Recurring costs (per year)

33.300 €

24.550 €

Charging infrastructure

1.100 €

0 €


-4.000 €

0 €

Recurring costs (per year)



Consumption costs

662 €

1.170 €

Car tax

0 €

98 €

Car insurance

969 €

1.260 €


552 €

744 €

Residual value

7.100 €

6.070 €

Total cost

34.213 €

34.840 €