Making The Switch To An Electric Vehicle: What You Need To Know
Government announcements mean more EVs will be on our roads, but what do you need to know about them?
Last year’s announcement by Boris Johnson that sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be phased out by 2030 means that electric vehicles will become an important part of our driving lives.
To dispel some of the mystery here are some of the key things to know about making the leap to an EV.
How much range do you need?
If you only make short trips around town and do fewer than 100 miles a week, for instance, then a car with a shorter range is fine. Drivers who travel further afield should consider a car with a bigger battery. Note that cars with shorter ranges will still offer more than most people do on average each week, and cars with smaller batteries offer quicker charge times.
How do I add charge when I get home?
Home charging is a crucial aspect of owning and running an electric car and there are incentives in place for charging at home. Government grants and even manufacturer schemes will make installing a home wall box much cheaper.
Will it actually be cheaper to buy and run an electric car?
Although the initial upfront cost for an EV is often more than an equivalent internal combustion-engine car, this is becoming less common as the technology progresses. Plus, there are government grants available to help lower the cost.
Charging is where cost savings are really made. Although prices do vary between chargers, around 100 miles of additional charge will cost about £6-7.
Charging at home depends on your energy tariff and there are companies offering EV-friendly plans that take advantage of lower-priced charging times, such as overnight. For an average EV with around 200 miles of range and a 60kWh battery, you’ll be looking at around £8.40 for a full charge – good value compared with petrol and diesel.
Are there any benefits that aren’t as obvious?
As well as cost saving, one positive is refinement – EVs are quiet and, therefore, relaxing to drive compared with a petrol or diesel car. Another positive is performance, with even lower-powered EVs offering rapid acceleration.
But isn’t the UK lacking in charge points?
The number of charging stations in the UK has grown enormously. According to ZapMap, there are over 35,000 connectors across the country, made up of around 20,000 charge points in about 13,000 locations.
26 per cent are in Central London alone, with 13.5 per cent in the South East and 12.3 per cent in Scotland. Government funding will make fast chargers more widespread and improve the country’s charging structure to make charging easier.
Doesn’t the energy for electric cars only come from fossil fuels anyway?
Energy and charger unit suppliers are working to ensure their energy is green. BP Chargemaster’s charging stations, for example, all provide renewable energy, while home energy providers like Octopus Energy provide completely green power.