After seven consecutive years of growth in electric vehicle registrations, continued improvement in battery range and faster than ever charging speeds, now is an ideal time to consider whether an electric car is right for you. To drive an EV doesn't necessarily mean only driving short distances or having less power and charging at home or out and about is now easier than ever, with a rapidly growing network of public charging facilities.
Most EVs can cover a range of at least 100 miles, with newer models hitting the 300-mile mark.
One of the biggest concerns of non-electric car drivers is whether they will find themselves stranded, having run out of battery power on a long journey. Thankfully, this is one of the key areas which has improved significantly over recent years and ranges of 2-300 miles are becoming increasingly common.
Charge times can be as low as 30 minutes and there are now well over 24,000 charge-points in around 8,000 public locations across the country.
The most convenient place to recharge an electric vehicle is at home or work but shopping centres, service stations and public parking locations are increasingly being equipped with the necessary technology. To find one near you, or along one of your regular routes, a good source of up to date information is zap-map.com
Access to these public charging points is typically controlled using a card issued by one of the network providers or via a smartphone app. There is also a growing number of pay-as-you-go units paid for using a standard contactless credit or debit card.
Depending on your location and schedule, speed of charging is also an important factor to consider. Currently there are three main types of charging unit available: Rapid Chargers - Recharges a typical EV to 80% within 30-60 minutes Fast Chargers - Around 3 to 4 hours for a full charge Slow Chargers - Overnight PEV charging in 6 to 12 hours
Home charging units are typically designed for longer charge times of 4 or more hours. Depending on your situation there may be Government Grants available and many providers offer a fixed priced supply and install service for around £1,000.
Most EVs come with two charging cables, one for connecting to a three-pin plug and one suitable for the majority of public charging points. If your car is capable of rapid-charging, you can use the cable which is fixed to the charging unit.
Next to vehicle finance, fuel is generally the largest running cost for most drivers and it is here that electric vehicles really come into their own.
Independent research puts charging costs at approximately 4p per mile, which is around a third of an economical petrol or diesel car.
If you were to solely charge the car at home then, depending on your tariff, a full charge would cost around £3.64*. Whilst in theory this could cut fuel costs by as much as a third, in practice some degree of public charging is inevitable and should therefore be factored in. Currently there are a large number of free public charging points available but a service station charge is likely to cost around £6.50 for thirty minutes.
There are also savings to be had in terms of congestion charging and ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zones) with cars emitting less than 75g/km qualifying for a 100% discount.
Additionally, with fewer moving parts, servicing an electric vehicle often works out cheaper than its conventional counterpart. However, insurance can be a slightly more expensive as insurers need to factor in the smaller number of specialist repair locations.
Finally, for company car drivers who incur a Benefit in Kind (BIK) charge, April 2020 will see the introduction of five new tax bands for ultra-low emission vehicles. These new rates will significantly incentivise cars with the lowest emissions and highest all-battery driving range.
*Research conducted by Pod Point
One key question for new EV drivers, is how do I install my EV charger at home? We recognise the ability to easily organise installation and charging at home is key in your decision in having an EV and using this exciting new technology.
That's why we've partnered with Chargemaster to bring you a fully comprehensive home charging solution.
Terms and conditions: Price quoted is for a Salary Sacrifice Contract Hire agreement: based on 48 equal monthly rental payments, and a per annum mileage allowance of 17,500 miles. If the vehicle exceeds the contract mileage, an excess mileage charge will apply.With a lease agreement you do not own the vehicle - it is rented to you over a period of time.