Electric Cars Costs: Buying, Driving, Maintaining E-Cars in UAE & Saudi Arabia

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  | Published: 27 July 2021

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From reducing carbon footprints to mellowing the hits on wallets, adapting electric cars seems to be not only the responsibility but a smarter choice. You can save a lot of money with e-cars. However, there is more attached to owning and driving e-cars than what’s visible on the surface. No doubt that electric cars are one of the best solutions to tackle the world environmental crisis ideally. But any potential buyer would have many more concerns about the costs of owning and driving an electric car in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Let’s cover everything in detail about electric cars costs and understand how they can differ from conventional fuel-based cars.

Conventional vs Electric Cars – The Purchase Cost Factor

Everything aside, the very first thing people consider when picking a car they want to buy is the purchase price. It is maybe old news now but, electric cars cost more than conventional cars when it comes to the price of the vehicle while purchasing. Even with the comparatively low cost of vehicles in the UAE, an electric car is going to be a lot more expensive to own in terms of the purchase price of the vehicles. Take the example of the Tesla Roadster. Tesla Roadster price in the UAE is around AED 734,600.

Let’s compare two car models with almost the same range. Chevrolet Spark is a petrol-based car offering a range of 473 kilometres while Chevrolet Bolt is an electric variant with a range of 417 kilometres – with a full tank/charge. The purchasing price gap between the two is considerable. Chevrolet Spark is priced at AED 36.910 while Chevrolet Bolt is priced at AED 174,500. The same goes for Tesla Model 3. With a range of 448 kilometres, the standard range Tesla Model 3 price in the UAE is set at 175.080. A similar pattern can be spotted for other models such as Tesla Model S prices or Hummer EV costs.

Your scale may tip towards electric cars in terms of ownership cost over the years and additional features. But that doesn’t change the huge difference between conventional cars costs and electric cars costs. But the good news here is that one-third part of the price of an electric car is influenced by the cost of the battery. Following the trend of decline in the cost of batteries over the years, electric car costs are also anticipated to decline significantly in near future.

What Would You Save on Fuel?

As far as fuel prices are concerned, electric cars cost way less than any kind of conventional car, even in oil heaven like the UAE. The charging fee set in Dubai and the UAE for electric cars is 29 fills per kilowatt-hour. The price of petrol in the country is AED 2.35 per litre. On top of the DEWA has launched a free-charging initiative in the country, charging your electric vehicle can technically be free of cost. So, as far as electric cars costs for fuel and charging are concerned, you can sit back and relax. Even when we take the free charging point out of the equation. Fully charging an electric car will cost you 4 to 7 times less than filling up the tank with petrol.

Electric Cars Maintenance Costs and Service

Another factor that goes in favour of electric car costs is the service charge. Service charges of an electric car are significantly lesser than conventional cars. The reason for this is the seldom occurring need for service for electric cars. This can be all thanks to the robust built and exceptional quality technology built-in.

Although, if you add the service charges for electric cars to the cost of spare parts and the occasional electric car maintenance cost, the price will again shoot up. Since electric cars are just gaining popularity now in the country, spare parts are hard to procure and so are the mechanics who can work on the cars. Once again, service charges combined with makes electric cars costs go a little higher than that of conventional cars.

Average Electric Cars Costs Over 1 and 3 years

The ultimate triumph of electric car costs comes in the area of the average cost of owning and driving over the years. Once again, let’s compare the costs of the electric car with a conventional model of the equivalent range.  Chevrolet Spark (petrol) has an average cost of AED 3,996 in 12 months while Chevrolet Bolt (EV) only costs 1,377 on an average in 12 months. Needless to say, the difference is more than significant here. An identical pattern follows when we calculate electric cars costs (average) over 3 and 5 years. Same goes for Tesla Model S prices, Hummer EV cost and even Nexon EV price.

What About Insurance?

The process of buying a car, electric or conventional fuel, doesn’t just end with the purchase and fuel charges. Insurance is another cost that you have to bear since it is mandatory in the UAE. Insurance prices of a vehicle are largely affected by the market value, the ex-showroom price and the electric car maintenance cost. The high electric cars costs contribute to this and increase the price of electric car insurance plans as well.

Although where the cost and electric car maintenance cost contributes to increasing insurance price, several other things may decrease it as well. For example, the exceptional safety of electric cars. Electric cars costs may be high but they are built with a low centre of gravity and robust material. This makes them less prone to incur a high level of damages from accidents and collisions. Such features can earn a significant discount on electric car insurance plans and hence decrease the overall electric cars costs for you.

What Should You Consider When Buying Electric Cars?

Buying a car is not just a celebration, it is also a responsibility. You must consider a few factors before you invest in an electric car to make sure that you are on the right track:

  • Your Living Situation: Owning an electric car should come hand in hand with access to electric car charger space in your home or around it. If you live in an apartment building, it can be very hard to charge your electric car every day. Assume that at least 20% of people from your building own an electric car. They all would need to charge it overnight to use it the next day. This simply leads to the scarcity of power outlets. If you live in an apartment, make sure there is either a booking system or something similar to efficiently charge your car. Else, it will just to the troubles and average electric car cost.
  • Average Distance and Mileage of the Car: Calculate how much you will drive the car every day. While it won’t have a direct effect on electric cars costs, it will affect the insurance price. Which in turn is an expense for you.
  • Assess the Options and the Scarcity of the Same: Compare and buy should be the policy to go with when buying anything. The same is with electric cars. If you properly scout the options, you save quite a lot on electric cars costs.
  • About the Second-Hand Electric Car: Buying a second-hand electric car is not a bad idea. Given that condition of the vehicle is good you are getting a good value, it is an option you can consider. It is yet another way to save electric cars costs.

Benefits of Owning Electric Cars in the UAE

The whole world aside, UAE has gone leaps and bounds to encourage its people to buy electric cars. There are several exclusive benefits you can enjoy as an electric car owner in the UAE:

  • Free Green Parking: Dubai has free green parking spaces especially made for electric cars. You get rewarded for contributing to lessen the CO2 emission in Dubai. This move is a part of the Green Mobility Strategy of Dubai.
  • 14 Free-Parking Stations Across the Emirates: Along with Dubai, the rest of the Emirates have also joined in with the free parking spaces strategy for e-cars. There are 14 sparking spaces all over the rest of the emirates where e-cars can park for free.
  • Free E-charging Stations: As mentioned above as well, DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) has started the initiative to make charging free for electric cars. Several public charging stations for e-cars have been established in Dubai where you can charge your car, free of cost.
  • Salik Tags for Free: Salik or toll tax is paid using automatic tags in Dubai. These tags are rechargeable with balance. As evident, e-car owners can get these Salik tags free of charge in Dubai.
  • Free Vehicle Registrations and Renewals: Apart from the free parking, this is another initiative taken by the RTA. The registration fee and the registration renewal fee are lifted for e-car owners in Dubai.

Conclusion

Buying, owning and driving an electric car can be very expensive, but it has its perks as well. Every car enthusiast must already be aware of the special features today’s electric cars come with which makes the overall electric car costs justified to an extent. Although, owning an electric car comes with an added list of benefits in the UAE. These benefits, as explained, influence the electric cars costs indirectly ultimately leading to savings for the owner. Conclusively, whether it is a conventional car that buys or an electric car, make sure you have weighed all the factors properly.