The charge towards electric cars is gathering momentum, so we thought we’d answer seven of the most pressing questions about electric car ownership.
Q1: What is the range of an electric vehicle?
Electric vehicle ranges can vary from around 100 to 250 miles. However, some makes and models can almost make 400 miles on a single charge. Those with the biggest single-charge ranges used to be more expensive, however, as technology progresses and manufacturers embrace electric vehicles (EVs), even the less costly models can go a long way. For example, the Kia Nero costs £36,495 and has a 282 mile range. And the Renault Zoe can cover 185 miles and costs around £21,000.
Q2: How many charging points are there in the UK right now?
The UK’s charging infrastructure has come a long way and, as of July 2019, there were almost 14,500 electric car charging devices, with more than 24,500 connectors at over 9,000 locations across the UK.
The best way to ensure you can access as many of these chargers as possible is to join a charging club that gives you access to multiple providers.
Q3: Is a pure electric vehicle my only option if I want to go green?
Not at all. You can also choose a hybrid vehicle which uses an electric battery to boost the traditional combustion engine. This reduces the amount of fuel that’s used, making a single tank of fuel go much, much further so reducing your CO2 emissions.
The electric motor can also be used to power the vehicle on its own. This is particularly helpful for urban driving as it removes emissions from built up areas where pollution is at its worst. Hybrid vehicles can often travel around 30 to 50 miles on electricity only and they boost miles per gallon to as much as 75-90mpg.
To attract the best benefit-in-kind tax breaks - and there are some really good ones on the horizon - you need an electric vehicle that emits the least amount of CO2 possible and can travel more than 130 miles on electricity only. A vehicle that emits 1-50g/km CO2 and can travel less than 30 miles on electricity only will incur a BIK rate of 12% in April 2020. Whereas a pure electric vehicle with no emissions will not incur any BIK tax at all.
Q4: Are electric vehicles more expensive than traditional fuelled vehicles?
It depends how you look at it. Historically, electric vehicles came with high ticket prices, however costs are rapidly shrinking. You’ll also find that choosing a vehicle from a car benefit scheme means you’ll benefit from a salary sacrifice arrangement reducing your costs further.
But that’s not all. In addition to your tax break saving, the whole-of-life cost for electric vehicles is much lower. It costs much less to charge an electric vehicle than it does to refuel a petrol or diesel car: to travel 100 miles in a petrol or diesel car is around £9-12. In an EV it’s just £2-3. Tusker drivers find that, on average, they save £750 per year in fuel.
Multiply £750 by the number of years your lease lasts and add it to your BIK tax savings to see how much you could save annually.
Q5: I have range anxiety, how do I plan a journey in an electric car?
If you’re concerned about where to find your next battery top-up, follow these simple journey planning tips:
1. Visit Zapmap, enter your car details and plot your route to identify all the places you can stop and charge on your journey.
2. Join a charging club that gives you access to a wide range of charging points across the UK so you’re always able to charge.
3. Make sure you have your charger in your car before you leave at either end of the journey.
4. Fully charge your battery before leaving: you can charge from a normal socket if you’re staying somewhere without a special charging point.
5. Take your laptop or an eye mask or plan a lunch stop and make the most of your 30-40 minute break as your car recharges at one of the many charging points on your journey.
Q6: If I got an electric car, what are my charging options?
There are so many places you can charge: at home, work and in public. Here are just a few possibilities:
1. Charging your car at home is like charging your mobile phone; use it in the day, charge it at night when electricity is at its cheapest.
2. More workplaces are installing electric charging points, so if you arrive at work approaching empty, you’ll soon be able to top up.
3. Longer journeys are well supported by an extensive network of motorway charging points all over the UK. There’s even talk of introducing roads that charge your car as you drive.
4. Petrol stations are installing rapid chargers so, instead of buying petrol, you can stop in and charge.
5. More public parking places are including electric charging points as part of their offering for customers with EVs. You can now charge at railway stations, town centre car parks, leisure centres and even at the visitors’ centres at Land’s End and John O’Groats.
The cheapest place to charge your car is at home, overnight. However, if you do need to top up at any time, there’s an extensive network of alternative options.
Q7: What are the best electric cars on the market right now?
The answer to this really depends on what you’re looking for. Like traditional cars, EVs come in all shapes and sizes; from SUVs and estates, to hatchbacks and sports cars, there’s something for every lifestyle and budget.
Our top three cars are:
1. Renault Zoe - for its great range, attractive styling and affordability. It’s also won a slew of awards including best electric car for the fourth time.
2. BMW i3 - fast and futuristic with great build quality, this car is developing a reputation for the best small premium car you can drive.
3. Tesla Model 3 - delivers many of the amazing technological features of earlier, more expensive Teslas at around half the price while retaining an exceptional single-charge mileage of around 350 miles.
The good news is, you can take up any of these cars through Tusker with an all-inclusive maintenance, servicing and insurance package at more competitive prices than retail.
Driving an electric car isn’t the expensive nice-to-have it once was. With sizeable single-charge ranges, lower prices and an extensive charging network, electric cars are about to become a normal part of modern life.