Am I better off getting a hybrid car before an electric car to allow the technology to improve?

The decision between a hybrid and an electric vehicle should be based on your lifestyle more than the technology. The technology already exists for electric cars to be used as a day to day car. You can take our questionnaire and we'll tell you whether your lifestyle is more suited to hybrid or electric.

Is there a broad range of available hybrid and electric vehicles?

There are currently over 80 electric and hybrid vehicles available to buy in the UK. This number is growing as manufacturers are racing to release hybrid versions of existing models whilst also developing brand new electric models. You can view the vehicles listed on our site here.

Are there long waiting times for electric cars?

Electric cars have had long waiting times in the past due to a worldwide shortage of batteries. Whilst battery manufacturers are scrambling to make up for this, vehicle manufacturers are desperately trying to increase their production of electric vehicles as they aim to increase their market share. As a result of this, waiting times for electric vehicles will decrease dramatically. To give an example, the What Car? car of the year for 2019, the Kia e-Niro, had a wait time of 12 months last year. Kia have committed to putting 6000-7000 e-Niro’s on Britain’s roads in 2020 so the wait time will decrease.

How much do electric cars cost?

Electric cars are more expensive than regular cars primarily because of the cost of batteries. As technology and manufacturing improves the cost will shrink and electric cars will become cheaper. The extra cost can be offset by savings on fuel, servicing and tax, as well as a government grant of up to £3000 towards a new electric vehicle. We've compared the overall motoring costs of two family cars, one electric and one petrol, to show how electric cars can be cheaper overall.

How much can I save on fuel by switching to an electric vehicle?

We estimate you can reduce your fuel costs to about 4p per mile, depending on your vehicle. For the average UK motorist who drives 8000 miles per year this equates to reducing your annual fuel bill to £320. The more miles you drive, the greater the savings will be.

How much will servicing an electric vehicle cost me?

There are fewer moving parts in an electric vehicle which makes maintenance simpler. Research estimates servicing costs are 23% lower in an electric vehicle compared to a regular vehicle.

How do tax costs compare on electric vehicles?

You can make significant savings on tax. Road tax on low emissions vehicles has been reduced, in fact electric cars don’t pay any road tax. For corporate motorists, the Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax you pay is reduced, electric cars pay ZERO BIK tax for 2020/2021. You can also benefit from no fuel duty and no congestion or low emissions zone charges.

Are there grants available to help me switch?

Yes. The government contributes up to £3000 towards the purchase of a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle under its plug-in car grant scheme. You can also claim up to £350 off a home charge point under its homecharge grant scheme to reduce the cost of switching to an electric vehicle even further.

How far can electric vehicle travel on a single charge?

Top of the range vehicles have ranges well in excess of 300 miles but generally they're able to travel anywhere between 100-300 miles on a single charge. It's important to do a test drive when visiting a dealership to fully understand the range of your vehicle.

Are electric vehicles suitable for long journeys?

Yes. Depending on the vehicle most long journeys can be completed on a single charge. If not, the expanding public charging network means your vehicle can be topped up enabling you to reach your destination.

Does the range of the vehicle get shorter as the battery gets older?

The range does decreases and the time to charge will increase as the battery gets older. It’s estimated that a battery will last 10-20 years before it needs replacing however and manufacturers tend to provide a warranty on the battery for between 5-8 years.

Can electric vehicles rival the performance of regular vehicles?

Electric cars can actually out perform their regular engine counterparts. Torque is instantly available in electric cars which means their acceleration is much faster. Most electric cars mount their batteries underneath the car which gives a lower centre of gravity resulting in extra agility in the corners. The two fastest accelerating production cars in the world are fully electric.

Are all electric vehicles automatic ?

Yes. There are no gears in an electric engine. There are far fewer mechanical parts to an electric engine which results in less wear and tear and less frequent servicing.

Is there any engine braking with electric vehicles?

Electric cars use a system called regenerative braking instead of engine braking. Regenerative braking uses the motor to slow the vehicle while converting energy back into the battery back. The braking process is much more efficient and there’s less wear on brake pads as a result, meaning they’ll last longer.

Are electric vehicles dependable?

Yes. They’re actually more dependable than regular vehicles. There are only 3 parts to an electric vehicle’s engine: the electric motor, an on board charger and the battery. Having fewer mechanical parts than a regular vehicle means less wear and tear. Less wear and tear means they require less maintenance.

Are electric vehicles expensive to maintain?

No. Less frequent servicing means they should actually be less expensive to maintain than a regular vehicle. Research estimates that maintenance costs are 23% lower for electric cars than regular vehicles.

How often do electric vehicles require servicing?

They need servicing at the same intervals as any other car, including their MOT. However, with less parts to be looked at the services are usually minor. Your franchise dealer will be able to give you more details on service plans available to you.

Where can I service an electric vehicle?

Your franchise dealer should be able to service your vehicle due to recent training and investment. You can find your nearest franchise dealer here. If you chose to use an independent garage, you should check they’re trained to service electric vehicles beforehand.

If there’s no engine braking do the brakes wear down quicker?

Electric cars use a system called regenerative braking instead of engine braking. Regenerative braking uses the motor to slow the vehicle while converting energy back into the battery back. The braking process is much more efficient and there’s less wear on brake pads as a result, meaning they’ll last longer.

What is the lifespan of an electric car battery?

Electric car batteries have a life span of between 10-20 years before they need replacing. Manufacturers provide a warrantee on the battery for between 5-8 years to give you some peace of mind. While battery deterioration is inevitable over time, improvements in technology are ensuring batteries last for longer and retain more of their original outputted

Are charge points really expensive?

Home charge points generally cost between £700-£1000. This is expensive, but fortunately the government offer a grant of £350 towards the installation of your home charge point. This can reduce the cost down to about £400-500 in most cases. When you consider the amount you’ll save on fuelling your car, it seems like a sensible investment

How long does the installation take?

The installation can be done in one visit and takes between 2-4 hours. You can read more about what to expect on your installation day here.

How long do electric vehicles take to charge at home?

It depends on your vehicle and what speed charger you’ve got but it generally takes between 6-12 hours to full charge your vehicle. Most of your charging can be done overnight when your car would be sat on your driveway anyway. You can read all about charging at home in our dedicated guide.

Should I think about changing energy providers?

Charging at home means your electricity bill will go up. This increase is more than offset by the savings made on fuel, but you can make further savings by switching energy tariffs. There are specially designed tariffs for electric vehicle owners that make the most of cheap off-peak rates that can cut your charging costs in half.

Is home charging dangerous?

If you’ve installed a government approved charge point it’s not dangerous at all. They all come with built in safety and weatherproof features . It’s more unsafe to charge using your regular 3 pin sockets as the energy demand can cause fires.

What happens if I move house?

You can’t take your charge point with you, but it will add value to your house when you come to sell.

Is there enough infrastructure to charge in public?

There is an established network of over 11,000 charge points readily available to the public all over the UK, compared to just 8000 petrol stations. They can be found at petrol stations, service stations, supermarkets, shopping centres and car parks. You can find out more about the networks available to you here.

Does it take a long time to charge?

Rapid and ultra-rapid chargers can fully charge your vehicle in less than 30 minutes. The most commonly found public charger right now can charge your vehicle in 3-6 hours. We recommend using public charge points for a top-up rather than relying on them for a full charge. That way, you can fill your charging time by getting lunch or coffee and by the time you’re finished your vehicle should have enough charge to get you where you need to go. We tell you everything you need to know about charging in our public charging guide.

Is it expensive to charge in public?

It depends on the provider, but we estimate for a full charge it costs between £7-12. Its great value for money when you consider fully fuelling a petrol or diesel vehicle can cost anywhere upwards of £40.

Can I charge an electric vehicle in the rain?

All chargers are weatherproof and come with built in safety features. So there will never be an issue with charging in the rain

Can I charge an electric vehicle at work?

This completely depends on your work place. It’s up to them to install and offer charging facilities at work. Workplace charging is already seen as an important benefit for staff and as the percentage of plug-in vehicles on the roads increase, charging facilities at work will become more common.

What grants are available to help me switch to an electric vehicle?

The government’s plug-in car grant provides up to £3000 towards the purchase of a plug-in hybrid or electric car. You can find out more about the grant here.

Is there a grant to help with the cost of a home charge point?

Yes. The government’s electric vehicle homecharge scheme provides up to £350 towards the purchase and installation of a home charge point. This can reduce the cost of a home charge point to about £400-500. You can find out more about the grant here

Is there a grant to help me install charge points at work?

Yes. The government operates a workplace charge scheme that provides up to £350 per socket for the purchase and installation of up to 40 sockets. This means the grant can contribute up to £14,000 towards your charging infrastructure.

How long does it take to get the money from the grant?

The amount is automatically applied as a discount from the manufacturer for all of the grants, so you won’t have to be out of pocket whilst waiting to receive the money.

How do I apply for the grants?

Your dealership should do your application for the plug-in car grant for you, so you don’t need to worry about it. You can fill out an application for the homecharge and workplace grants at the point of sale.

Are there any other rules or regulations that act as an incentive to switch?

There are favourable tax rates for owners of hybrid and electric vehicles which can save you thousands of pounds a year. We detail all the savings you can make on our dedicated tax benefits page.

Do electric cars give off emissions?

No. Electric cars have ZERO tail pipe emissions. Hybrid cars do give off CO2 emissions when they use their regular engine.

What about the production of electricity?

Some electricity is still produced through fossil fuels, but more than 80% of the UK's energy is now produced by renewable sources. By reducing the amount of emissions produced on the road you are contributing to a more sustainable future.

Do they really make a difference to the environment?

Vehicles on the road are the single biggest contributor to CO2 emissions in the UK. We can make a significant contribution towards protecting our environment by cutting these down and the easiest way to do so is to switch to hybrid and electric vehicles. The motor industry and energy industry are changing for good and you can be on the right side of history by embracing the change and committing to a sustainable future.

ICE - Internal combustion engine

EV - Electric vehicle

BEV - Battery electric vehicle

PHEV - Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle

kWh - Kilowatt-hour

OZEV - Office for Zero Emission Vehicles

AC - Alternating current

DC - Direct current

EVSE - Electric vehicle supply equipment. The cable used to charge a vehicle from a 3-pin plug

Type 1 - One of the two major types of inlet and plug used to charge vehicles.

Type 2 - The other of the two major types of inlet and plug used to charge vehicles

CHAdeMO - Short for Charge de Move. It’s a plug and inlet used for rapid charging

CCS - Combined Charging System. It’s a plug and inlet used for rapid charging

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