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HomeNewsPetrol vs Electric cost per kilometre – Real-world test on South African roads

Petrol vs Electric cost per kilometre – Real-world test on South African roads

Electric vehicles (EV) are significantly cheaper to run than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles using petrol or diesel, according to Jaguar South Africa’s latest cost-per-kilometre test.

The test saw the manufacturer calculate the rand-per-kilometre cost of an EV by sending a Jaguar driving instructor on a “week-long mission” in a Jaguar I-Pace on local roads.

Filling up

To compare the cost of filling an EV and an ICE vehicle from empty to full, Jaguar calculated the price of charging the I-Pace with its 90kWh battery at municipal electricity rates of R2.00 per kWh, as most owners would charge their vehicles at home overnight and therefore pay these costs.

“A full charge from zero percent would cost less than R200 based on [the] actual municipal electricity rates,” said Jaguar.

An ICE SUV of similar size and performance could cost four times as much to fill.

“Jaguar quotes a maximum range of 470km on a full charge, and while this is certainly achievable with a light foot, I saw closer to 400km on average in the real world,” said the Jaguar driving instructor performing the test.


Jaguar said EVs have an advantage in traffic as they do not constantly consume fuel to stay on, like ICE cars do.

Additionally, these vehicles consume almost zero electricity when standing still or crawling forward in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

“During my week with the I-Pace, I deliberately spent my morning and evening commutes in as much traffic as possible,” said the Jaguar driving instructor.

The car’s trip computer registered an average of 22kWh/100km in heavy congestion, which equated to around 44 cents per kilometre.

The instructor added that the EV could not utilise brake energy recuperation in stop-start traffic due to the slow speeds, which had a negative impact on its maximum range.

Open road

On the open road, Jaguar said ICE vehicles have an advantage due to their engines being more efficient at steady speeds and low revs, whereas an EV is least efficient in these conditions.

“On the highway at 120km/h, the I-Pace performed least efficiently,” said the Jaguar driving instructor.

“Prolonged periods on the throttle without regenerative braking resulted in an average electricity consumption of 24kWh per 100km.”

This equated to a cost of around 48 cents per kilometre.


EVs have the advantage in urban areas, however, where frequent braking takes place, said Jaguar.

“The I-Pace performed best in what I consider average journeys for most drivers living and commuting in South African metros.”

“The trip computer in the I-Pace registered averages as low as 17kWh/100km in these environments, meaning a cost of only 34 cents per kilometre,” said the Jaguar driving instructor.


Jaguar said that the test concluded with averages of around 22kWh/100km for the I-Pace, which is a “figure actual customers would likely see.”

“Simply put, the Jaguar I-Pace costs around 44 cents to drive per kilometre if charged at home and using the national household average of around R2 per unit of electricity,” said the Jaguar driving instructor.

ICE in comparison

To see how the EV compared to an ICE vehicle, Jaguar used coastal fuel prices and a range of consumption levels.

The fuel prices used were as follows:

  • Diesel 50ppm – R18.96 per litre
  • Petrol 95 unleaded – R20.88 per litre
  • Municipal electricity rates – R2.00 per kWh

“To work out your current car’s cost per kilometre, simply take the average fuel consumption in your trip computer in litres per 100km (l/100km), divide the figure by 100 and multiply the result by the cost of fuel per litre,” said Jaguar.

The table below from Jaguar shows that using this formula, EVs are substantially cheaper to drive when compared to petrol and diesel cars.


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