The opportunity to own a brand new car presents you with the exciting possibility of going electric. But when you’re used to petrol or diesel, this raises a whole host of questions. How far could you travel? Where can you charge your car? Is it expensive to own an electric vehicle?
We answer all these questions and more in our buyer’s guide to electric cars and charging.
Different kinds of electric car
Full electric vehicles (EVs) are powered solely by battery and will take you 100-200 miles on a single charge. The average driver covers around 20 miles a day so, when considering electric vs petrol or diesel cars, you need to decide if this will be sufficient to cover your typical mileage.
Should you need to go on very long journeys, owning or hiring a second fossil-fuelled car is an option, leaving shorter drives to your electric vehicle.
If you want one car that does it all, consider a hybrid. Hybrids share the work of driving the vehicle between the gas and electric motors. By giving the car a boost of power from the electric engine, for example as it climbs a hill, the car is more efficient.
Hybrids come in two forms:
1. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) capture the power that’s usually lost through braking and feed this into the car’s battery. You won’t need to charge this type of vehicle.
2. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) also combine electric battery power with petrol or diesel engines but you will need to charge this car.
The major benefits of hybrid cars are that they extend the range you can travel on a single tank of fuel saving you money and reducing your emissions. You can cover around 450 miles - the equivalent of Manchester to Glasgow and back - on a single tank of fuel in a BMW I3.
Electric Car Batteries
Like your mobile phone or laptop, electric and hybrid cars run on lithium ion batteries that are charged using a plug and socket. Capacity is usually measured in Kilowatt Hours (kWh) although sometimes it can be measured in Ampere Hours (Ah) depending on the brand of car.
Electric cars come with their own charging cable and use either the Type 2 Mennekes seven pin plug or the Type 1 five pin plug. Like mobile phones, you can buy adaptive cables allowing you to connect to both five and seven pin charging points regardless of your make and model.
Historically, one of the biggest concerns about electric vehicles was the battery life. But improvements in technology mean that batteries come with a five-to-eight-year warranty - well within the typical length of a company car scheme agreement.
As with all lithium ion batteries, you can expect them to hold less charge over time, with capacity declining to around 80% after about eight years.
One of the main advantages of Tusker’s car benefit scheme is that you can choose to take up a new electric car with a new battery at the end of your agreement. And if you decide to purchase the vehicle, you can feel confident there’s still plenty of battery life left.
Charging your electric car
Charge your car overnight at home and a slow charge won’t be a problem. But stop at a motorway services and you want your car ready to go, pronto. Charging point manufacturers know this so they provide a range of re-charging speeds:
• Slow - 3kW (kilowatts) takes around six to eight hours to fully charge a Nissan Leaf
• Fast - 7-22kW charges a Nissan Leaf battery in about three to four hours
• Rapid - 43-50kW will fill a Nissan Leaf to 80% within half an hour
To give you an idea on cost, one of the biggest motorway charging providers, Ecotricity, price their half-hour rapid fill at just £6.
It’s not just motorways that offer charging points. You can charge your electric car from a mains socket at home although this will be much slower than installing a slow or fast home charger.
Plus there’s a whole network of public chargers in car parks and a wide range of other locations. There are over 6,500 places to charge your car and tools like Zap-Map will help you locate them and plan your journey.
As you can see from our guide to electric cars, there are plenty of benefits of hybrid and electric cars in comparison to their petrol and diesel cousins. Whichever option suits you best, you can be confident that Tusker provides the latest makes and models with cutting-edge technology and the best single-charge range.