Although EVs (Electric Vehicles) are better for the environment and cheaper to run, they come at a price.
Whether you’re buying outright or paying monthly, there are a few important things you should consider before ditching your petrol or diesel car for an electric vehicle.
1) How much range do you need?
The average UK motorist drives around 25 miles per day, so an electric vehicle should be ideal. Many drivers fall into that category, but argue they still need a petrol or diesel car for occasional long journeys.
If you’re a high-mileage driver, then running an electric car should still be an option, but it will require more forward planning and a change of mindset.
You can still drive long distances in an EV – you just need to think more about where you will recharge it on your journey and follow tips to maximise your vehicle’s range.
2) Where will you charge your EV?
Recharging the battery pack on an electric vehicle is not as easy as filling up with petrol or diesel car at a service station.
The most cost-effective way to run an EV is to charge it overnight at home, using your own chargepoint.
However, if you live in a flat or a terraced house and don’t have off-street parking you will have to rely on public chargepoints, or perhaps a workplace charger.
The good news is that the public charging infrastructure is growing fast. According to the Zap-Map database, at the end of June 2022 there were 32,663 charging points in the UK, across 19,960 charging locations. That’s 829 more than the previous month and a 34% increase in the number of charges since June 2021.
You can use apps such as Zap-Map to find chargers in your area. There are various providers, and you’ll need to decide which one (or ones) you want to sign up to. If you’re planning to use your EV on longer journeys, you should consider a network with ultra rapid chargers so that your stoppage time is minimised.
3) Does an electric vehicle meet your needs?
As with any car, it’s important to make sure that it fits in with your lifestyle. Do you need space for family, friends or a dog, for instance? Do you live in an area where you need a 4×4? Do you tow a caravan or trailer?
EVs are available in most body styles, so there should be something for everyone. From the Honda e city car to the Kia Niro EV family crossover and the Porsche Taycan performance estate, there’s a huge variety of electric cars out there.
Naturally, you will also have to consider range. As we’ve already discussed, you should first consider your driving routine because it will have a bearing on your EV choice.
For instance, if you live in a city, you just use your car for shopping and seeing friends, and you only need space for one other passenger, a Smart EQ fortwo coupe (one of the cheapest EVs on the market) could be ideal.
4) Have you got the correct energy tariff?
The cheapest way to run an electric car is to charge it from home. If you can get a chargepoint fitted, you should find the best home EV tariff so that you can benefit from lower electricity rates for charging.
If there isn’t a special tariff available, this should be a major consideration in the future if you switch supplier.
Octopus, EDF, British Gas, Ecotricity and OVO are among the electricity providers currently offering EV-specific energy tariffs.
Although energy prices have increased significantly recently months, electricity is still much cheaper than filling up with petrol or diesel, which are also soaring in price.
In a nutshell, electric vehicles cost less than half as much to run as their petrol and diesel-powered counterparts.
Yes, charging an EV from home will typically add hundreds of pounds to your energy bill, but you will save far more because you won’t be buying fuel and electric car’s are cheaper to run in the long term because you pay no road tax and they cost less to maintain.
5) Can you afford to make the switch to electric?
EVs currently cost more than equivalent petrol or diesel cars, though in time this cost gap is expected to narrow as more models are launched and they become cheaper to manufacture.
If you don’t buy outright and spread your costs over a few years using a car finance plan such as PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) or Personal Contract Hire (PCH), then the gap in price between ICE cars and EVs seems less drastic because the difference in monthly payments is seems smaller.
Now that the electric vehicle market has matured, the second-hand EV market is thriving, so it’s possible to buy a used Nissan Leaf, for instance, for less than £10,000.
One thing is for sure, running an EV will save you money – not just in petrol and diesel, but they cost less to maintain, you pay no Road Tax and there are other incentives, such as a London Congestion Charge exemption and tax benefits for business users.