Running an electric car: top tips

Running an electric car: top tips

More and more, electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming a regular sight on roads around the UK. This is largely thanks to developments in battery technology, the emergence of exciting high-performance models such as the Tesla Model S P90D, and the ever-increasing availability of charge points throughout the country. Because of this, it is believed that by the year 2027, EVs will account for half of all new car registrations.

So, if you’re considering purchasing an EV, what sort of things does it pay to know in advance? We’ve put together a couple of things you should consider before buying one.

Know where charging points are

Like anything battery-powered – whether it’s your laptop or your smartphone – you’re going to have to keep your electric car charged. While EV charging points aren’t nearly as common as petrol stations, they are popping up around the country at an increasing rate.

As EVs become even more of a regular sight on our roads, this trend will only continue – with infrastructure developing to keep up with demand. At the moment, however, you would be wise to pay attention to where your closest charging points are to prevent finding yourself stranded on the side of the road with a flat battery.

Do you have access to off-street parking?

While this might sound a little bit like it’s coming out of left-field, your ability to access off-street parking at your home is something worth bearing in mind. This isn’t for security reasons, but rather because it will quickly become tiresome having to run an extension cable down the street to wherever your EV might be parked when you want to charge it up. As this will likely be most nights, you can see why access to a garage or a driveway will quickly become a necessity.

Government discounts and grants

EVs are, typically, more expensive to buy than regular petrol- or diesel-powered cars, and cost to buy is always going to be a determining factor in any decision relating to purchasing a new car. That being said, EVs qualify for the government’s Plug-in Vehicle Grant – meaning you can save yourself up to £4,500 off its price.

The amount of money you save is based on how much carbon dioxide your car emits, as well as its range on all-electric mode. As pure electric vehicles produce zero emissions, you’re already setting yourself up to receive a fairly significant discount.

How far do you travel in a day?

The Energy Saving Trust has reported that most of the EVs you can currently buy today have a range of about 100 miles. If you’re only going to be using your EV to deliver and collect your children from school, or to travel to and from the office, chances are you will be fine. However, if you’re in a line of work that sees you constantly travel up and down the length of the country every week, 100 miles of electric range might start sounding like a small figure very quickly.

Running costs

As mentioned earlier, EVs can be at the pricey end of the scale when it comes to buying one. However, they quickly make up for this higher price tag by being a lot cheaper than their petrol- and diesel-powered contemporaries to run. You will not be required to pay any Vehicle Excise Duty for starters, as pure EVs do not emit any CO2. Furthermore, figures from Go Ultra Low report that an EV will cost you less than 2p per mile to run, whereas regular petrol cars cost 12p.

From a servicing point-of-view, EVs should also be cheaper to fix if something goes wrong, as they have fewer moving parts than the standard combustion engine. It also means they can last a greater number of road hours between compulsory services. However, batteries only last a certain amount of time, and you will need to replace them at some point in the future. There are also only a limited number of independent garages set-up to fix electric vehicles, with licenced dealers performing most servicing and repair jobs. You will need to bear this in mind if you’re looking into purchasing a used EV.