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Making the switch to an electric vehicle: what you need to know

Making the switch to an electric vehicle: what you need to know


Making the jump to an electric car needn’t be stressful, but there’s plenty of key areas to get clued-up on before you do. Let’s take a look.

Making the jump to an electric car needn’t be stressful, but there’s plenty of key areas to get clued-up on before you do. 

With the Government announcing that the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be moving forward to 2030, it’s fair to say that electric vehicles are going to become an even more common sight on our roads. 

red nissan leaf


Range is what it’s all about when it comes to electric cars, as it dictates how far you’ll be able to travel between trips to the plug. The best plan of attack is to think about how far you travel each week. If you’re only nipping to the shops or taking shorter journeys, then even the shortest-range EVs will provide more than enough charge.

However, if you’re doing longer jaunts - up and down the motorway, perhaps - then range becomes more of an issue. That said, tip-top EVs are offering nearly 300 miles per charge, which does mean that there’s enough in the tank to undertake most journeys. 

How to charge when you get home

So you’ve got your electric car and it’s looking good to go, but how do you go about charging it when you’re at home?

Well, you could use a three-pin socket. This will provide a small amount of charge, but it’s slow and cumbersome. Plus, the likelihood is that you’ll have to trail wires through your home. 

The best thing is a wallbox. This is a charger located on the outside of your home which provides a higher rate of charge than a three-pin, which means that it’ll take less time to charge your car. 

Manufacturers are often quick to offer a wallbox when you buy a new electric car, so check out the available offers before signing on the dotted line. 

renault zoe

Is it actually cheaper to buy and run an electric car?

It’s quite clear that EVs are more expensive to buy than an equivalent petrol or diesel. However, as the technology becomes more mainstream, the prices are dropping. 

However, it’s charging where you’ll really save money. As with petrol, prices do vary between chargers, but taking an average cost you’ll be looking at around £6-7 for 100 miles of additional charge. 

How much you’ll pay to charge at home depends on your energy tariff. More companies are offering EV-focused plans, offering lower prices to charge during lower times of demand, such as during the night. However, if you take an average EV with a 60kWh battery and around 200 miles of range, you’ll be looking at around £8.40 for a full charge. 

Are there any extra benefits?

Cost savings aren’t the only benefits of course. There are some added bonuses too. Electric vehicles are supremely quiet and are, therefore, relaxing to drive around in. You’ll notice the lack of noise compared with a petrol and diesel car, that’s for sure. 

Another positive is the level of performance you get. Even lower-powered EVs really do zip off the line, offering a level of performance that not many equivalent combustion-engined cars can match. 

volkswagen id 3

Volkswagen ID 3

But isn’t there a lack of charge points?

Though many people cite a lack of infrastructure as a key barrier for EV adoption, the number of charge points available in the UK is growing with each passing day. According to ZapMap, there are more than 35,000 connectors across the country in 12,733 locations. In fact, there were 431 new connectors added to Zap Map’s database in the last 30 days. 

But doesn’t all the energy come from fossil fuels anyway?

An electric car is only as ‘green’ as the energy it’s powered by, which is why many energy suppliers are working to ensure that the power they provide to EV owners comes from green sources. All of BP Chargemaster’s charging stations, for instance, are certified as providing renewable energy.

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