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Electric cars buyers guide

Are electric cars better for the environment?

In a word, yes. That’s why the government has banned the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030. Fully-electric vehicles produce zero emissions and are far more efficient when it comes to using energy. More renewable energy sources are being added to the UK grid all the time and it takes less energy to produce renewable electricity (and it’s a much cleaner process) than extracting and cracking crude oil to make petrol, while most new electric cars are packed with clever technology which makes then even more environmentally friendly.

How much are electric cars?

One of the big concerns we encounter when people are considering switching to an electric vehicle (EV), is that they think it’s going to be much more expensive than a petrol or diesel car. This simply isn’t the case. The government is currently contributing a grant of £3,000 towards new electric cars with an RRP of less than £50,000, this grant is automatically included in the vehicles price and you do not have apply. The massive growth in demand for electric vehicles has also helped to bring prices down. This is because manufacturing processes are more efficient, allowing carmakers to bridge what used to be a significant gap in the cost between electric and ICE cars.

The increased demand has also led to an explosion in the number of EV models available. These cater for all kinds of budgets, whether you’re looking for an inexpensive city car, a family SUV or a high-end sports car.

How far can an electric car go?

Another key concern amongst people who are yet to switch to an electric car revolves around the range. However is another outdated worry.

Range anxiety (mythic worry/concern)

A nervous feeling that you won’t reach your destination in your electric car on the charge you have available. Outdated phrase coined in the mid 2000s when electric car ranges were sub 50 miles, pops up still, does not affect electric car drivers beyond their first week behind the wheel.

New EVs have vastly improved battery technology, allowing them to cover many more miles on a single charge. Most new models offer a ‘real-world’ range of more than 150 miles, including affordable cars like the Skoda Citigo-ecity car, the Hyundai IONIQ hatchback and the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense compact SUV. Teslas are known for their exceptional range figures, with the Model S Long Range capable of covering around 345 miles on a single charge (Official WLTP range = 412 miles). Many of us don’t travel anywhere near that in a week, never mind a day.

How much does it cost to run an electric car?

One of the biggest benefits of running an electric car is the cost of charging compared to the price of petrol and diesel. Some electricity companies now offer EV-specific home electricity tariffs with energy prices around 5p per kWh (average home electricity costs around 14p per kWh). To find out more about charging at home take a look at our guide: How much does it cost to get an EV charger installed at home?, and to work out the cost of a full charge, all you do is multiply the battery size of an EV by the cost of electricity.

BMW i4

energy cost x battery size = charging cost

For example, it costs just £11.20 to fully charge the 80kWh Mercedes EQC with an electricity cost of 14p per kWh. As this luxury SUV has a ‘real world’ range of 230 miles, this equates to a cost per mile of just 4.8p. And not only is the cost of charging so low, but EVs are also cheaper to maintain thanks to the lack of moving parts in their batteries, compared to ICE cars. Plus, you can also make huge savings on the Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge if you live in London.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Some electric cars can add hundreds of miles of range to their batteries in less than half an hour, while others take hours to charge up. It all depends on the type of charger you plug in to and the maximum charging speed of your car (or van). There are different levels of charging, including slow, fast and rapid, with the latest EV chargers offering speeds of 250kW and more. If your car is capable of charging at these high speeds you can add around 75 miles of range to your car in as little as five minutes.

Vehicle

Battery size

Real world range

Max charge speed

50kW full charge time

250kW full charge time

Kia e-Niro

62 kWh

230 miles

77 kW

63 mins

44 mins

Volkswagen ID.3

58 kWH

215 miles

128 kW

51 mins

33 mins

Tesla Model 3 Long Range

75 kWh

285 miles

190 kW

69 mins

34 mins

Most home chargers operate at speeds of 7kW. This means you can fully charge the 62kWh This should be more than enough time to restore the battery from zero to full overnight, which you can do by setting a home charger to operate when energy prices can be lower.

Our top EV lease picks

DSDS-3 CrossbackSUV

DS DS-3 Crossback 100kW E-TENSE Bastille 50kWh 5dr Auto

  • £2,430 Initial rental (inc. VAT)
  • 36 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
£270 Personal contract hire per month (inc. VAT)
  • £2,025 Initial rental (ex. VAT)
  • 36 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
£225 Business contract hire per month (ex. VAT)
DS 3 Crossback E-Tense Louvre front
Special offer
Volkswagene-UpHatchback

Volkswagen e-Up 60kW E-Up 32kWh 5dr Auto

  • £2,095 Initial rental (inc. VAT)
  • 48 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
£233 Personal contract hire per month (inc. VAT)
  • £1,746 Initial rental (ex. VAT)
  • 48 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
£194 Business contract hire per month (ex. VAT)
Volkswagen e-Up front
Special offer
Mercedes-BenzEQBSUV

Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 4Matic 168kW AMG Line Premium 66.5kWh 5dr Auto

  • £5,389 Initial rental (inc. VAT)
  • 48 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
£599 Personal contract hire per month (inc. VAT)
  • £4,491 Initial rental (ex. VAT)
  • 48 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
£499 Business contract hire per month (ex. VAT)
Mercedes-Benz EQB
Special offer

Should I buy or lease an electric car?

Leasing an electric car has become much cheaper in recent years, for several reasons. Firstly, there’s greater competition between manufacturers, which has helped drive prices down. Secondly, there’s a higher demand for second hand EVs. This has a positive influence on depreciation and residual values, which in turn has brought down leasing costs. Leasing is usually the best way to keep driving a brand-new car every two or three years, simply handing your EV back when it’s time to change. And as electric cars are progressing so quickly with huge strides made in terms of spec and tech, leasing an EV is the perfect way to stay ahead of the curve.

What are the best electric vehicles to lease?

There’s never been a better choice of EVs when it comes to leasing. There are so many different options to suit all kinds of tastes and budgets, whether you’re looking for something top end like the updated Tesla Model Y and Mercedes-Benz EQC, a performance EV like the new Ford Mustang Mach-e or a low cost lease option like the Volkswagen e-Up, with virtually all of the leading manufacturers entering the market over recent years there really is an electric car for everyone. Last year was brilliant for new models, some of which you can check out in our Class of 2020 awards. There’s much more to look forward to in 2021 too and we’re always happy to help if you want to pick up the phone and have a chat about your new EV.

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