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Last updated: 26 March 2021
The growing trend in car production and use is towards more environmentally friendly, electric vehicles. Not only are these becoming steadily cheaper, but with constant updates in technology they are more reliable and last longer than ever. This guide will dispel some of the myths about electric vehicles and take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing an electric car so you can make an informed choice.
What is an electric vehicle?
With growing worries about climate change, electric vehicles are growing in popularity. Governments and companies are responding in kind, making them more affordable and more reliable. There are essentially two broad categories, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Whereas BEVS get all of their power from electricity, hybrids initially run on electric but switch to a combustion engine should you go over a certain distance.
Types of Electric Vehicle
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
Running purely on electricity is where the market seems to be heading. Popular cars in this range are the Renault Zoe and the Nissan Lead. Whereas before they could only travel short distances, the latest editions can travel nearly 300 miles before you need to recharge. They can be recharged either at home, or at speciality charging points powered by the National Grid.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEVs)
These are the most common cars at the moment, with the Toyota Prius being the most popular electric car. Although the latest, high-end BEVs might travel long distances, at the moment it’s much more common that they can only travel up to 100 miles before having to recharge. PHEV models, being able to switch to petrol should you need to travel for a longer distance, are therefore more reliable and preferred by those who are still uneasy about an electric vehicle.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)
These vehicles are capable of self-charging using the car’s braking system. They work differently to BEVs and PHEVs (mentioned above) as you don’t need to plug them in to charge them.
How much do electric vehicles cost up front?
Electric vehicles often require a larger up-front costs than petrol cars, but allow you to make significant savings over time. Although, you can receive an up-front saving of up to £3,500 in government grants. There is also a scheme with HMRC which allows you to claim up to 45p per mile for the first 10,000 if you’re using your electric car for work. These incentives will decrease as more people turn to electric cars, so you’ll have to act fast if you want to take advantage of them! It’s also worth mentioning that most people these days buy their cars on finance, and studies show that the monthly payments for an EV are typically the same of a combustion engine vehicle.
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Advantages of Electric Vehicles
- Will save you money in the long run, through electric charging instead of petrol and government grants.
- Less pollution: ultimately the less pollution coming out of car exhausts is better for everyone.
- Because electric motors generally react very quickly, they are responsive and have good torque.
- Exempt from Ultra Low Emission Zone and the London Congestion Charge.
Disadvantages of Electric Vehicles
- Currently the insurance for electric cars in the UK is more expensive than for conventional cars. This is because the battery can be easily damaged and therefore costly.
- In the short term it can be more expensive due to having to buy equipment to change the batteries.
- A key drawback for many people is the charging process, not being used to it can cause difficulties in the beginning.