Choosing an electric car in 2019

17 September 2019

Electromobility is the future. And with this driving revolution comes a new world of decision making when choosing a new car.

Don’t let change put you off going electric - there are many benefits, including saving significant sums on fuel each year and reducing your benefit-in-kind to as little as 0%. And then there’s the small matter of helping the UK to reach its net zero target and saving the planet.

We look at the details you need to consider when choosing the right electric vehicle (EV) for your lifestyle.

 

Consideration #1 - fuel and tax savings

Electricity is a much cheaper option than petrol or diesel - in fact, charging an electric vehicle to travel 100 miles reduces your fuel costs by around half. Over the course of a year, Tusker drivers save an average of £750 by going electric: that’s over £2,100 across a three-year lease.

Road tax also reduces significantly for EV drivers and, at Tusker, this saving is passed on in the form of lower lease values helping to make EVs a highly competitive option.

The other major benefit of EVs is that they attract significant benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax breaks. From April 2020 - April 2021:

  • Cars that emit zero emissions will not need to pay any BIK tax
  • Those that emit 1-50g/km CO2 and can travel over 130 miles on electricity only will incur a 2% BIK rate

Efficiency - and therefore tax and fuel savings - is highly dependent on the make and model you choose. All-electric vehicles cost least to run as there’s no need to add fossil fuel and they’ll attract the biggest BIK savings.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles still offer excellent energy and tax savings. How much you save will depend on the kind of driving you do - short journeys powered by electricity alone will cost less than using petrol or diesel. And if you do need to use your combustion engine, the range-extending capability of your vehicle will generate more miles per gallon from one tank of fuel. Choose a plug-in hybrid with great electric-only range and you could also attract a low BIK rate.

If cost is the driving factor in your new car choice, it’s worth comparing different cars in detail to ensure you’ll get the best mileage - financially and physically - from your new car.

 

Consideration #2 - all or part-electric?

There are three main types of electric vehicle:

  1. Electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by battery alone usually taking you from 100 miles up to almost 400 miles on a single charge. More models are now available which break the magic 200-mile mark - this is the mileage most drivers want an EV to be able to travel without needing to be charged.
  2. Hybrid EVs (HEVs) capture the power lost through braking and use this to charge the car’s battery making a tank of fuel go much further. There’s no need to plug this kind of car in.
  3. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) combine electric battery power with a combustion engine. You can drive them using electricity alone, usually for shorter distances or, once the electricity is used up, the car will automatically switch to petrol or diesel.

Deciding which style of EV is right for you will come down to the type of journeys you usually undertake and you’ll need a clear understanding of the range you can travel on a single charge for various makes and models.

 

Consideration #3 - single-charge range

When considering going electric, the biggest concern for many drivers is that they’ll run out of energy before being able to charge. However, research shows that the vast majority of concerns are unfounded indicating that we need to adopt a mindset that matches our driving habits.

Many drivers tend to only travel short distances - the average UK car driver covers around 19 miles per day - with longer journeys taking place a handful of times each year. Most drivers will find that cars at the lower end of the single-charge range (around 100 miles) will be more than adequate to get them to their destination and back, ready to charge for the next trip.
If that doesn’t appeal, or you undertake longer journeys more regularly, you could opt for a plug-in hybrid vehicle and enjoy much better mileage from your fuel, keeping your battery charged to cover shorter distances using electricity.

Don’t think you’ll remember to plug in? Then a HEV could be the right choice for you. It’s certainly one step closer to going green and, depending on the car you choose, it could still net you decent tax and fuel savings.

Choosing the right make and model is an important part of your electromobility journey and there are significant differences between the single-charge mileage that EVs and HEVs can achieve. For example, the BMW i3 REx can travel 97 miles on electricity only but still has the fuel tank for back up. Whereas some pure EVs can only travel around 100 miles on a single charge.

Understanding the differences between brands and models is at the heart of making the right choice for your lifestyle.

 

Consideration #4 - charging infrastructure at home and on the road

Another major consideration for new EV drivers is where you’ll charge your car. Homes with driveways or garages are well suited to EVs as you can charge simply by plugging in to a normal socket. However, it’s worth considering installing a faster charging point to significantly reduce charging times. Act now to secure government funding.

If you park on the street or away from your home, all is not lost. Consider alternative charging locations like at work, the train station car park or even your local supermarket. If you regularly spend time at a location with a charging point, you can incorporate charging your EV into other activities.

For longer journeys, rest assured that there are multiple charging options along the way. Motorways, public car parks and a wide range of other locations now have charging points installed. In fact, there are now more charging points than petrol stations in the UK. It’s also really easy to plan your journey to include a charging stop on the way using ZapMap.

 

Consideration #5 - model availability

As more drivers switch on to the benefits of driving electric vehicles, demand is outstripping supply for certain makes and models so you’ll need to act fast to secure the right car for you.

Swapping fossil fuels for electricity brings a new range of features to consider but you’ll still need to think about traditional features like number of seats, technology and performance to ensure the vehicle will suit your lifestyle.

For more inspiration on different EV models, take a look at our articles comparing the Tesla Models 3, S and X. Or login to your account to view the range of EVs on offer.

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