Should You Choose an Electric Car in Spain? The Pros and Cons

Fuel costs are soaring higher and higher, environmental concerns are at the forefront of the political agenda, and money is tight for many Spanish families.

All of these factors mean that many Spanish families are considering trading their petrol vehicles and investing in an electric vehicle instead.

But is it worth it?

Here’s everything you need to know about choosing an electric car if you’re living in Spain:

How Many Electric Vehicles are there in Spain?

According to the most recent figures released by the Spanish Association of Insurers and Reinsurers, there are currently 674,000 electric and hybrid vehicles in Spain. The real figure is likely to be higher, with electric vehicles on Spanish roads that are insured in other countries. Sales figures for electric and hybrid cars have grown sharply in the last 12 months, reaching record numbers in January 2022. In January 2022 alone, sales of 19,845 electric, hybrid or gas cares were registered in Spain. Electric cars are a popular choice in Spain, with only 22% of Spanish car buyers say they would consider a petrol or diesel car for their next car purchase, compared to 78% who would consider an electric or hybrid car for their next purchase.

This clearly shows that electric cars are considered desirable in Spain. But are they a sensible choice?

Subsidies and Incentives for Electric Cars in Spain

Perhaps the main pro of choosing to buy an electric car in Spain is that purchasing one is currently being financially incentivized by the government. Spain is currently running an initiative called Moves III which is worth 800 million euros. The primary goal of the initiative is to get at least a quarter of a million electric vehicles on Spanish roads by the end of 2023. These vehicles will be supported by a target of 100,000 charging points.

So what does this mean for normal motorists? If you exchange your current car for an electric one before the end of 2022 then you could be eligible for a grant of up to €7,000 towards electric car if you hand in your old car at the same time, or €5,000 if you don’t write it off. There are also grants available in you opt for a plug-in hybrid car too.

Some regions are incentivising electric car ownership by offering tax breaks: If you live in Valencia, La Rioja or Castilla y León the purchase of your electric car can be claimed back on your annual tax return.  Electric vehicle owners also qualify for up to 75 percent discount on yearly road tax in all Spanish regions. And in the country's largest cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, electric vehicle owners are not required to pay for car parking.

The Price of an Electric Car in Spain

The initial outlay is a primary concern for all motorists thinking of buying an electric vehicle: they are more expensive than petrol or diesel cars. Depending on the make and model you choose this price will vary, but you can expect to pay an average of 26,591 euros for an electric vehicle. By comparison, you can buy a new petrol vehicle in the country for between 5,000 and 15,000 euros less.

If you’re still considering buying an electric vehicle then shop around before making your final purchase, as prices vary considerably from region to region. Electric vehicles are most expensive in Navarre, for example where a second-hand model would cost an average of 35,579 euros. In Andalusia, the average price for a second-hand electric vehicle is just 24,329 euros.

When considering the price of an electric car in Spain, you need to consider more than just the purchase price. You’ll also need to take into account the increased expenses of upkeep and how effective the car is: how long will it run before it needs to be recharged? How much will this cost?

The Cost of Maintaining an Electric Car

It might surprise you to learn that electric cars cost less to repair and maintain than traditional cars. This is because you won’t have to pay for mechanical transmissions, oils, lubricants or general parts repairs. However, that doesn’t mean you will be free from maintenance costs: electric cars run on what are essentially high-capacity batteries. These batteries will need replacing around every 160,000 kilometres, so that is an expense you should consider when investing in an electric car.

The Practicalities of Choosing an Electric Car in Spain

Spain is a big country, so if you’re travelling end to end, you’re going to cover a lot of miles. From a practical point of view, that means the distance you can cover in an electric vehicle is something you should consider. The good news is that electric vehicles are getting better and better in this regard, and some are now able to travel as much as 400km on a single battery charge.

Your next concern is where will you find a charging point? Most electric vehicle owners have a charging point in their home. To do this, 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. If you live in a community, you will need to inform the community of owners that you are installing this charging point, but you do not need their permission to do so. Outside of your own home, some regions have better and more accessible charging locations than others. It is worth looking at your local area, and at the routes you are most likely to drive on a regular basis, to see how many points are nearby. There are currently just 13,411 public access charging points in Spain. 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.

Should you Choose an Electric Car in Spain?

Only you can decide if an electric car is the right choice for you right now. In some regions the infrastructure is in place to make this a great option, whilst others are a little further behind. Your initial expenditure would be considerably more if you chose an electric car, compared to a traditional vehicle, but you can expect to see a return on your investment after around 4 years of owning your vehicle. 2022’s electric vehicle incentives in Spain certainly help to make electric vehicle ownership even more appealing: and if you’re planning to invest in one anyway, could be seen as a good reason to make the change now.

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