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DRIVING

Is it worth getting an electric car in Spain?

Thinking about getting an electric car in Spain? Wondering about the costs, the efficiency, the incentives and the charging issues and deciding if it's really worth it? Read on to find out more.

electric car
Is it worth getting an electric car in Spain? Photo: Mikes-Photography / Pixabay

According to the latest data available from Unespa, the Spanish Association of Insurers and Reinsurers, there are a total of 674,000 electric and hybrid cars circulating in Spain. However, the real figure is thought to be even higher.

Sales of hybrid and electric cars have risen significantly in the past year and sales soared to a record high in January 2022. In that month there were 19,845 electric, hybrid or gas car sales registered, compared to 16,579 petrol and 15,404 diesel vehicle purchases.

The sales of second-hand electric cars also grew by 113.4 percent in 2021 compared with the previous year, according to figures from Ideauto, Spain’s Institute of Automotive Studies.

Only 22 percent of Spanish car buyers say they would opt for a petrol or diesel car next time they purchase a vehicle, the European Investment Bank Survey reports, while 78 percent say they will either purchase a hybrid or an electric car.

The evidence suggests interest in electric vehicles is growing rapidly in Spain. Whether it’s as a result of drivers looking for a more environmentally friendly option of moving around or that they feel they should change their car to avoid increasingly punitive restrictions for combustion engine vehicles in the future, attitudes are changing. 

So is it actually worth getting an electric car in Spain in 2022?

Price

As you probably know already, electric cars cost more to buy than traditional petrol vehicles. On average, between €5,000 and €15,000 more.

The average price of an electric car in 2021 was €26,591, which was one percent higher than that of the previous year, according to the ElectricarVO report by car website coches.net.

However, the price of an electric car greatly depends on the region you buy it in. The most expensive region to buy a second-hand electric car last year was Navarre, where it would have cost you an average of €35,579, followed by the Canary Islands (€31,469) and Valencia (€29,073).

According to ElectricarVO, La Rioja is the cheapest region to buy a second-hand electric car at €22,382, followed by the Balearic Islands at €23,148 and then Andalusia at €24,329.

But remember, it’s not all about the initial cost of the car, you need to look at the overall expenses of the upkeep and the efficiency too.

To give you an idea, travelling 100 kilometres in an electric vehicle costs approximately 13 kWh, while a conventional car that consumes five litres per 100 km would need 45 kWh to do so. 

Subsidies and incentives

There are also several subsidies, incentives and grants available in Spain for anyone wanting to purchase an electric car.

Moves III is Spain’s €800-million initiative which aims to get at least 250,000 electric vehicles on Spain’s roads and 100,000 charging points by the end of 2023. In 2022, there are grants of up to €7,000 for an electric car if you hand in your old car at the same time, or €5,000 if you don’t write it off. Meanwhile, those who opt for a plug-in hybrid will also benefit from a €5,000 grant if their old car is scrapped and €2,500 if it’s not. 

If you live in Valencia, La Rioja or Castilla y León, you can even claim the purchase of your electric car back on your annual tax return. 

Other than incentives offered for purchasing electric vehicles, there are also considerable fuel savings, which can range between €700 and €1,200 for every 15,000 km travelled. Electric vehicle owners also qualify for up to 75 percent discount on yearly road tax.

Major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona also provide electric vehicle owners with further bonuses such as not having to pay for parking.

Repairs and upkeep

The upkeep of electric cars is a lot less than traditional cars. 

You don’t have to pay for mechanical transmissions, oils or lubricants and repairs are minimal compared to what could go wrong with a petrol car.

However, the high capacity batteries that electric cars use represent a significant expense when replacing. Most sources say that these high capacity batteries will need replacing around every 160,000 kilometres. 

Distance you can cover

Distance is one factor that may concern some people wanting to buy an electric car. It’s true that there are big differences between the mileage that electric vehicles can reach compared with traditional cars.

Fortunately in recent years this gap has been closing, with electric vehicles now potentially being able to reach 400km on a single battery charge.

Charging points

This is another sticking point when it comes to deciding if an electric car is right for you or not.

In order to be able to install a charging point at your home, you need a grounded 230/400 VAC supply point, a main electrical control panel and a measuring device. However, if your garage is not located in the same place as your home, you will have to ask your distribution company for a new supply point.

Spanish law indicates that you must inform the community of owners of your building if you’re going to install a charging point, however they can’t prevent you from installing one as the electricity bill will be charged directly to you and they won’t have anything to do with it.

You may also want to research the number of charging points in your region and work out how many you may realistically need to access on your journeys.

The distribution of charging points is still uneven in Spain, with only four communities accounting for 60 percent of the points according to statistics published by the Spanish Association of Car and Truck Manufacturers (ANFAC).

With approximately 13,411 public access points, the goal set by the Spanish government of reaching 100,000 by 2023 seems unlikely to be reached.

Catalonia has the most charging points in Spain with 3,549, followed by Valencia with 1,661and Madrid with 1,601. La Rioja, Cantabria and Extremadura have the least.

Spain also has fewer electric car charging points that its neighbours. Currently, in Spain there are 0.4 charging points per 1,000 inhabitants, while Germany and France, where there are more electric vehicles, have 0.9 and 0.7 charging points per 1,000 inhabitants respectively.

However, Spanish energy company Iberdrola has pledged to install electric vehicle charging stations along all the main motorways in Spain, as well as in the public areas of main cities.

The plan will include at least one rapid recharge station every 50km.

So is it worth getting an electric car in Spain in 2022?

Spanish bank BBVA has a comparison tool which pits a mid-range fuel vehicle against an electric car. From a financial perspective, electric car buyers start to see a return on their investment on average four years after the initial purchase.

Other studies point to electric car buyers breaking even after 20,000km of use. 

Further deductions and incentives may help to convince buyers, especially as soaring prices for raw materials mean electric car parts are not getting any cheaper currently. 

Buying an electric car in Spain can be worth it in the long run but ultimately it depends on your personal circumstances, and you have to ask yourself questions such as: will you have a charging point close?, how much use will you give it?, will you need it in emergencies or for long journeys?, will it be your only vehicle?, and so on.  

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For members

MONEY

How much can you save on public transport in Spain with the new state discount?

Spain's government recently confirmed it will slash the cost of public transport tickets to help people deal with rising inflation. Here's how much bus, train and metro tickets are likely to cost you in some of Spain's main cities from September 2022.

How much can you save on public transport in Spain with the new state discount?

Spain’s annual inflation rate reached 10.2 percent in June, the highest since April 1985, according to a statement released by the Spanish authorities on Wednesday. 

To help its citizens and residents save money and make ends meet at a time of rising inflation, the Spanish government recently announced a 50 percent discount on the cost of multi-journey tickets on RENFE services such as Cercanías, Media Distancia and Avant. 

A 30 percent discount will also be applied to the cost of passes and multi-trip tickets for regional and local transport services, including city metro, bus and tram systems, bought between September 1st and December 31st 2022.

So far it hasn’t been revealed exactly how the reduction will work and it is up to each region to decide on how they want to implement it.

For example, they could just reduce the cost of the tickets or ask people to apply for money back on the tickets they’ve bought over the four months.

Some cities and regional authorities have also said that they will reduce the cost of transport tickets further by applying an extra 20 percent discount on top of the central government’s 30 percent, taking it to 50 percent.

In order to finance the new measure, the government has confirmed that €221 million will be allocated to regional governments and transport authorities across the country. 

Here are the savings you’ll be able to make on transport tickets in Spain’s major cities:

Barcelona

The regional government of Catalonia has announced that it will aim to add further deductions by applying a total 50 percent discount for services run by the Autoritat del Transport Metropolità (ATM ), which includes Barcelona city and the metropolitan area.  

The mobility councillor for Barcelona City Council Laia Bonet said ATM is “aiming to guarantee a 50 percent reduction”. 

This means that if the 50 percent discount is applied, the T-Usual ticket, which allows you unlimited journeys over 30 days, will go from costing €40 to just €20 and the T-Casual ticket which gives you 10 journeys will go from €11.35 to €5.67.  

Madrid

Madrid has not yet confirmed if it will apply more than the 30 percent discount announced by Pedro Sánchez’s government, as public transport tickets there are already subsidised by 60 percent. Authorities in the capital have also said that they still don’t know how much of the €221 million they will receive.

If the national government’s 30 percent reduction is applied, the standard 30-day metro season ticket for zone A will be reduced from €54.60 to €38.22 and the regional pass all the way to Toledo will drop from €131.60 to €92.12.

Seville

Seville City Council also hasn’t yet decided if they will apply a 50 percent discount on transport passes to stick with the 30 percent. However, IU-Podemos has requested that they apply the 50 percent reduction. 

Currently, TUSSAM, the body responsible for urban transport in Seville, has set the price for a 30-day bus pass at €35.50.

With a 30 percent deduction, this will drop to €24.71 and with a 50 percent discount, the cost will go down to €17.65.

With regards to the Seville metro system, a 30-day Bono Plus 45 ticket which allows you to make 45 journeys of a similar type, costs between €30 and €50, depending on how many zones you jump through.

With the 30 percent reduction, a simple pass without jumping through zones will cost €21, while the one-jump pass will cost €29.40.

Valencia

As of yet, there is no concrete information on the reductions that will be applied to transport tickets in Valencia city, but based on the national government’s discount a 30-day SUMA ticket pass for the metro, bus and local train services for zones A and B will go from €35 down to €24.50.  

Málaga

Like Seville, no decision has been made yet in Malaga as to any further reductions other than the government’s 30 percent. Based on this, an unlimited monthly bus pass will be reduced from €39.95 to €27.96.

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