Motoring News

EV v. ICE – A Jaguar cost/kilometre comparison

CAPE TOWN – The shift to electric cars is, those involved in their development, is seeing more and more people weighing the benefits of electric motive power against the formerly most-efficient – diesel.

Fans of electric vehicles (EVs) admit that internal-combustion engines still have benefits but insist EVs have an indisputable advantage – cheaper to run per kilometre.

Much cheaper, in fact, according to those inherently involved in the business…

To attempt to prove the point, Jaguar SA sent one of its senior driving instructors on a week-long mission to record and report the electricity consumption and cost/km of a fully-electric Jaguar I-Pace in everyday driving then to weigh such costs against those of ICE vehicles

Jaguar offered a simple formula to compare costs…

Andrew Blane, a senior Instructor with the Jaguar Land Rover Experience in Johannesburg: told The Corner: “We knew going into this test that ICE cars cannot compete with EVs on energy costs and rands per kilometre.

“However, the objective was to calculate the cost of driving an I-Pace in the real-world – no pre-determined routes to benefit one power source over another, no laboratory tests, no nonsense.”


THE COST TO recharge a flat EV battery against a fuel tank from empty is largely irrelevant to the R/km comparison but it’s worth knowing that electric vehicles win this fight hands down too.

Assuming Andrew was an actual I-Pace owner and recharged at home – the cheapest and most convenient way to recharge from zero would (February 2022) cost less than R200 based on his actual municipal electricity rates.


ICE vehicle fuel tanks, he said, vary in size but an SUV of similar size and performance could easily cost four times that. What counts, however,

“Of course, the cost to fill an EV or ICE vehicle means nothing without knowing the maximum range of each,” Andrew added. “Jaguar quotes a maximum range of 470km on a full charge with a light right foot but I saw closer to 400km.”

He pointed out, however, that most liquid fuel vehicles could travel further on a full tank but emphasised that ”cost per kilometre was more important in this test”.


ICE VEHICLES SUFFER in slow, stop-start, traffic – EVs hold an advantage as ICE vehicles continue to burn fuel, moving or not, while a stationary EV will consume almost zero electricity.

Andrew pointed out: “During my week with the I-Pace I deliberately spent morning and evening commutes in as much traffic as possible. The car’s trip computer registered an average of 22kWh/100km in heavy congestion which, given my home electricity rates, equates to around R0.44/km.

“I’d expected a better result given the I-Pace uses virtually no energy when stationary, but at such low speeds cannot recuperate much energy through regenerative braking – slow moving traffic there’s not enough kinetic energy to charge.”


SO, ICE VEHICLES are most efficient when cruising at high speed; EVs are least effective at steady speeds on an open road. Even so, the I-Pace returned favourable energy consumption and R/km in Andrew’s test.

He reported: “The energy an EV uses to cruise at steady high speed varies greatly depending on average speeds. The I-Pace performed least efficiently on a highway at 120km/h. Prolonged periods on the throttle without regenerative braking resulted in an average electricity consumption of 24kWh/100km.

Even so, that equates to only R0.48. 


ELECTRIC VEHICLES THRIVE in environments with a balance of relatively high-speeds and frequent braking, such as on arterial roads in South Africa’s urban hubs or weekend jaunts to the country.

“The I-Pace performed best in what I consider average journeys for most drivers living and commuting in metros. Free-flowing roads with frequent robots such (as William Nicol in Johannesburg), or winding B-roads outside of town on the way to Hartbeespoort are ideal for EVs.

“The i-Pace trip computer registered averages as low as 17kWh/100km in such an environment – R0.34/km.”


ANY DRIVER/VEHICLE combination will use a variety of roads and driving environments so fuel and electricity consumption averages are the all-important data for comparison…

“Even outside of this week-long test we’ve racked up thousands of kilometres in the I-Pace units. In the real world they average around 22kWh/100km – a figure customers would likely see from their own car. 

“Simply put, the Jaguar I-Pace costs around R0,44/km if charged at home and using the national household average of about R2/electricity unit.”


THE COST/KM of petrol and diesel vehicles in South Africa involves an ever-changing formula, thanks to the volatile price of fuel here. There are also slight differences in fuel prices depending on where you live but coastal costs are historically a little cheaper than on the Highveld so, in the interest of fairness, we’ll use those to compare against EVs.

At today’s prices (February 2022) a litre of unleaded 95-octane petrol is R20.88, a litre of 50ppm diesel R18.96 in coastal area. To work out your current car’s cost/km simply take the average fuel consumption on your trip computer in litres/100km (l/100km), divide the figure by 100, and multiply the result by the cost of fuel/litre.

• Blane is a senior Jaguar driving instructor and EV specialist at Jaguar Land Rover Experience in Lonehill, Johannesburg. The Experience centre is open to the public Tuesday-Sunday and has a wide range of on- and off-road tracks and a comprehensive range of driving courses in Jaguars and Land Rovers. There’s café-style restaurant open daily from 8am-5pm.

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