Tesla set the bar high with the launch of Roadster in 2008. Fast forward to 2022, and the race for delivering the boldest, longest range and most sought after electric vehicle (EV) is fuelling the motoring industry like never before.
With world leaders pushing for lower or zero net emissions in the next 20 years, ditching the traditional internal combustion engine has become a pressing issue for manufacturers. Today everyone from Audi to VW are upping the ante with their latest all-electric models that are surpassing all expectations as the “next big thing.”
EVs are popular: one in five new car sales in the UK are all-electric. So what is all the fuss about? Here are 6 things you need to know about electric cars:
What is an EV?
Unlike an internal combustion engine (ICE), where fuel combines with air, then a spark (when you turn the ignition) ignites the compressed mixture and gets the pistons and motor running, an EV relies on nothing but its electric motor and battery to get going.
Fuel pumps, dipsticks and the like are all foreign entities when it comes to an EV. You see, EVs rely on electricity alone as a “fuel” source. From battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to plug-in hybrids (PHEV), there are a series of EVs available right now that range from all-electric to a mixture of fossil fuel and electricity to operate.
Tesla has been the champion of EVs for a long time, but there is a healthy dose of competition on the field, including the VW ID.3, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Jaguar i-Pace and the Hyundai Kona Electric.
As the UK gears up to ban all new petrol and diesel sales from 2030, the motoring industry is preparing for an all-electric market. But the biggest thing you need to consider is what type of EV you should go for.
What is in an EV battery?
Regardless of what EV you have, the likelihood is it’s running off a lithium-ion battery. Made up of a series of components including lithium, aluminium, cobalt and nickel, lithium or li-ion batteries are used to store energy.
They use the classic anode and cathode set-up you’d expect in a traditional battery, with electrolytes running in between. When placed in a complete circuit, the lithium stored in the anode and cathode flows as ions and either uses the battery’s energy or charges up the battery using regenerative braking.
Like your standard battery, li-ions have different power ranges, which is reflected in the amount of range the car can travel before needing a charge up.
You can charge your EV at home.
Forget long queues at the fuel station. Park up, plugin and charge your EV overnight while electricity costs are at their lowest!
Where costs at the fuel pump are at an all-time high, EV owners can save over two-thirds or more than their petrol and diesel counterparts to “fill up” their vehicle. A full charge on a 7kW pack will take between five to ten hours, but charging your EV is no different from charging your mobile phone overnight.
You can even apply for a £350 government grant to help with the costs of installing an at-home charging point. Check out their website to see if you are eligible.
How much does an EV cost?
Arguably, there’s never been a better time to buy an EV. Manufacturers have upped their game, and there is more choice at the dealership than ever before. Yes, EVs generally have a higher purchase cost than their petrol and diesel competitors, but the benefits are enormous in comparison!
With an EV, you can expect:
- Lower running costs
- Zero road tax to pay on pure electric vehicles
- Lower maintenance costs
- Other tax exemptions such as London’s ULEZ and Clean Air Zone (CAZ) fees
- Less impact on the environment
Like all car models, the price for EVs varies across the board. In the UK, the lowest costing EVs start at less than £20,000 when combined with the government-funded Plug-in Grant (up to £1,500 if eligible). The catch? You may have to lease the batteries separately for this price. However, jump to the £25,000 price bracket, and batteries are typically included.
But why front the cost yourself? Car finance is by far the most popular way to buy any type of vehicle in the UK, so why don’t you do the same for your EV?
With car finance deals ranging from hire purchase and personal contract purchase to leasing and personal loans, there are a range of loans that not only work with your circumstances but can accommodate your new or used EV requirements. Even customers with a poor or limited credit history can apply via specialist bad credit car finance companies.
Range anxiety isn’t a big deal anymore!
A decade ago, the mileage range for EVs was a huge pressure point for motorists. The idea of only being able to make it to your nearest city and back with little juice left on the battery was enough to put people off from making the switch.
Today, EV range varies between 168 miles to 500 miles per single charge. With thousands of public or community charging points available at your nearest supermarket, train station, car park and dotted along every main road in the UK, worrying about your battery running out is well and truly a thing of the past.
Currently, the annual flat rate for road tax is £155 for the average motorist. Even hybrids, mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids can’t entirely dodge the bullet with only a £10 discount given for their slightly less polluting vehicles. However, pure electric vehicles are completely exempt from road tax!
Other savings to consider:
- London’s ULEZ charge: Commuters and residents alike have to pay £12.50 a day if their vehicle doesn’t meet the strict emission rules in place
- Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charge: Some of the UK’s biggest cities such as Birmingham, Portsmouth, and Bristol now charge an £8 fee for motorists driving a high emission vehicle
Electric cars aren’t just all the rage. They are changing the landscape of how we drive and think about the environment. But more than that, they are saving motorists hundreds of pounds a year by simply making the switch to all-electric.