The time has come. You’ve been thinking about making the switch to an electric vehicle (EV) for a little while, and now you’re faced with the decision: should you buy an electric car? Here we evaluate some of the key considerations involved, share a little bit about what to know before buying an electric car, and we’ll talk about some of the best EVs currently available too.
Should I buy an electric car?
It is estimated that around , so the answer for a lot of people is clear. There are several things to think about before you buy an electric car though. We’ve put over 4,000 fully electric cars and vans on the road across more than a decade, so we know what your main concerns are likely to be.
It’s a good idea to work out your daily usage before buying an electric car. How far do you typically travel each day, and do you often go on longer journeys? You can use this information to determine how much range you need from an EV.
Improvements in battery technology mean modern electric cars usually offer 150+ miles on a full charge, including the popular Nissan Leaf. Cars such as the Tesla Model S Long Range meanwhile offer a ‘real world’ range of more than 300 miles.
To get that range, you need to charge up your battery. With over 90% of charging done at home, this is usually the best option. Overnight electricity can cost as little as 5p per kWh on an EV-specific tariff, while a 7kW home charge point offers fast charging capability. This means you can charge a Volkswagen e-Golf – which has a real world range of 125 miles – from empty to full in around five hours.
We don’t usually recommend EVs to people who are unable to charge at home, because it’s the cheapest and most convenient way to charge. However, improving public charging networks is making EV driving possible without a charger. Just ask Nissan Leaf driver Heather. Rapid chargers are now appearing across the UK that offer charging speeds of up to 120kWh per hour mean you can add 200 miles of range in just half an hour, while you can use Zap Map to find charging points in your local area and across the UK. This allows you to easily plan journeys longer than the range of your car.
In the past, the cost of switching to an EV may have been off-putting. This is simply no longer the case. The soaring popularity of electric cars means production costs have come down, while the way you use and charge your EV will dictate how much you save when it comes to your cost per mile of driving. You could reduce it by as much as 10 times compared to a traditional petrol or diesel car.
Fuel savings are a huge driver for making the switch to electric. A Vauxhall Corsa-e, for example, costs just £2.50 to fully charge, based on an electricity cost of 5p per kWh. This gives you a real world range of 180 miles, while you’ll also enjoy reduced service and maintenance costs. This is because there are no moving parts in an EV battery, unlike an internal combustion engine.
There are government grants which offer £350 towards a home charging point, while businesses can also benefit from charging point grants to complement huge fuel savings. There’s no company car tax to pay during the 2020/21 financial year to sweeten the deal for employees, and drivers in London can save on Ultra Low Emission Zone and congestion charges. There’s also currently zero road tax for all electric vehicles.
There’s never been a better time to choose between electric cars. Almost 100 new EV models came out in 2019; more than four times as many as 2014. Many more are set to be released in 2020, there are so many different options available now to suit all kinds of needs, tastes, and budgets.
From affordable superminis like the Skoda CITIGOe iV SE to prestige SUVs such as the Jaguar I-PACE S, you can even opt for the Porsche Taycan 4S Plus if you’re after a sports car with incredible performance.
Are electric cars better for the environment?
Even if a compromise on choice, cost, charging options or range was needed to make the switch to electric motoring, there are plenty of people out there who’d still drive an EV for their environmental benefits alone. Fully electric vehicles produce zero emissions at point of use, leading to cleaner air in our towns and cities. Who wouldn’t want that?
Overall ‘fuelling’ an EV is less energy intensive than a petrol car as it takes less energy to produce electricity than it does to produce petrol from crude oil. The electricity used to charge electric cars is getting cleaner all the time. The UK is moving ever closer to eliminating coal from our energy grid, and we managed more than 30 days without coal between 10th April and 10th May 2020, as decarbonisation becomes more important than ever. By 2030, half of the EU’s energy will be renewable.
Another milestone for Britain! 👏 It's now a #CoalFreeMonth of #electricity generation in this country as of 12am on #SundayMorning. 30 days, 7 hours and 36 minutes (727+hrs) – and counting. Find out more about our #zerocarbon ambitions for GB's electricity system 👇 pic.twitter.com/KCohJNlFm6— National Grid ESO (@ng_eso) May 10, 2020
Can you lease an electric car?
You can lease an electric car or van in the same way as any other vehicle. You pick your contract length, mileage initial rental, and monthly payments, before taking delivery of a brand new EV. Leasing is an affordable way to drive a new car with zero miles on the clock, and EVs are great to lease because they have strong residual values. Less depreciation means lower monthly payments for you.
Most of our customers go for a lease of between two and four years. You simply hand the car back to us at the end of your contract, and you can then lease a newer model. Again, this non-ownership model is perfect for EVs because technology and choice are improving all the time. Whether you need more range, greater efficiency or higher-tech features, just take out a new lease and away you go.
What is the best electric car?
The best electric car is the one which suits your personal needs best. This includes everything from range and charging capabilities, to cost, size and even looks. After huge range in serious comfort? Say hello to the Tesla Model S Performance. Or only need two seats for short drives and city commutes? The Smart fortwo Coupe EQ Prime Premium could be just what you’re after.
We can help you choose the best electric car for you, so don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
When to buy an electric car
There’s no time like the present to switch to an electric vehicle. Whether you’re getting involved in Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology or benefitting to the tune of £3,500 from government incentives like the Plug-in Car Grant, there are lots of perks available right now. As electric cars become more and more popular, these incentives will disappear – so take advantage of them while you can.
Stay on the frontline of developing technology with an EV lease, and start making a positive difference to the environment around us. The time has come to embrace the future.