If you’re interested in the benefits of switching to an electric vehicle (EV) but you’re confused by the options available, this information will be a good resource to help you decide what’s right for you, lets start with the fully-electric car.
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs)
BEVs (more commonly known as fully-electric cars) use a large battery for power. From speed and steering to the temperature inside the cabin, everything’s battery powered.
They’re quiet, emission free to drive, and much cheaper to run (most are under £15 to fully charge at home from empty). And they have a typical range of around 200 miles, which is more than enough for the average journey.
By now, most of the big car makers have made moves in the EV market to meet ambitious government plans and customer demand. And they come in all shapes and sizes; from luxury Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) to smaller run-arounds for town and city, such as the Vauxhall Corsa-e, Toyota Proace City and the Honda e.
Other BEV benefits
As well as being much better for the planet and massively reducing air pollution, the day to day running costs offer serious long-term savings for drivers.
With the typical home charge costing under £5 - £10 (you’ll rarely – if ever – charge an empty battery), over the long term you’ll save significantly compared to petrol or diesel. Just bear in mind that EVs can be more expensive to buy new on the forecourt compared to their fuel-burning counterparts.
The cost of servicing is another advantage of the EV when compared to petrol or diesel. With less moving parts and no combustion creating a build-up of residues, servicing is often cheaper.
The manufacturer will detail the expected miles the battery is expected to cover on a full charge, however in real world conditions this range never be achievable. If you estimate the actual achievable mileage is around 75% of that stated this will be far more accurate.
Always plan your journeys if you are traveling to a new area or covering a significant amount of miles, always be aware of where you can charge if you are away from home.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
Plug-in hybrids are powered by a combination of petrol engine paired with an electric battery, which you plug in to charge. The battery is much smaller than the one used by a fully electric though, so the car prioritises electric then automatically switches over to petrol once the battery runs out. Ford (Kuga) and Toyota (Prius) are a just a few of the manufacturers offering PHEV versions of their more-familiar models.
Get the most from your PHEV
The PHEV’s ideal for a typical daily journey within a 30-mile radius, using the engine as a backup for those occasional longer trips. And by charging overnight when electricity’s cheaper (see our dedicated EV tariff for more), you’ll have more than enough battery power for the week – and with minimal impact on your electricity bill.
How cost-effective are PHEVs?
PHEVs typically have an electric-only range of around between 20 and 50 miles, so to fully recharge the battery will probably cost less than £5 each plug in.
It’s not so great for regular longer journeys, though, because once the electricity runs out, you’re effectively carrying the weight of the battery on fossil-fuel power. That’s less cost-effective for you and less good for the environment.
And unlike the fully-electric car, the PHEV has all the parts of an electric and combustion engine, which can make for a more expensive service should something go wrong. It’s worth bearing in mind when you’re making your list of pros and cons for each version.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)
HEVs are fuelled by a petrol engine assisted by an electric battery. It optimises fuel economy by storing and transferring the energy you create when driving. But unlike the PHEV, you don’t need to plug it in to charge the battery.
HEV pros and cons?
Hybrids also have a battery-only range of 20-50 miles, with the added advantage of not needing to plug in to recharge. They’re far more fuel-efficient than standard petrol/diesel cars, but how efficient depends on the engine in your chosen model.
And like the PHEV, the combination of engine and battery-related components can make breakdowns potentially costly. The HEV is also not a great choice for regular motorway users. With higher speeds and without regular braking to replenish the battery, you’ll be relying more on engine power to get from A to B.
Making the transition to an electric vehicle is a big decision and will require a different mind-set and potentially a change in life style. However, this is a positive decision, both financially and environmentally and one that you can quickly embrace.
Charging at home for people that can, offers the most cost effective and simplest of solutions.
Charging an electric car at home
One of the major benefits of electric vehicles is that they’re cheaper to run, with electricity a more cost-efficient option than petrol or diesel. But how do you charge an electric car?
Most electric car owners use a home charging point. These dedicated charging points are placed in the location where you park your car, so your car can be charged whenever you’re not using it.
They are usually weatherproof and are specially designed to handle the high wattage required to charge an electric car.
Some electric cars also come with a standard three pin charging cable, but we’d advise against using these as they charge slowly and are not specially designed to handle high charging loads. These are however useful in an emergency, where no other option is available.
Cost of EV charger home installation
Electric car charger home installation costs in the UK can vary, but we’ve teamed up with Pod-Point to provide a 7kWh charger and basic installation spread over the period of your lease car contract*.
4 year lease, the cost would be £20.83 per month.
3 year lease, the cost would be £27.78 per month.
2 year lease, the cost would be £41.67 per month.
If you are interested simply let us know upon submission of your car application and we will arrange for Pod Point to contact you directly.
You are free to use whoever you please and do not have to use Pod Point, plenty of other providers are available and may suit you needs better.
*Not all Trusts have signed up for this arrangement, please check with the lease car team if this is available to you.
Charging electric cars in public
Charging an electric car is no longer limited to home charging. There are now public charging points all over towns and cities, and these provide a convenient way to top up the battery.
Finding these public points is easy with lots of apps displaying their locations. Many of these apps also have features that allow you to pay digitally. For those moments when you need a bigger charge, there are also rapid chargers. These are commonly found at motorway stations and can boost your range by 100 miles in as little as 30 minutes.
We would recommend using the website www.zap-map.com or downloading their app. This website provides a map of all public charging points, how to access them, if they are currently available and how much they cost to use.
Not all electric vehicles have the same charging ports, but most public charging points have multiple adapters that should fit most vehicles.
Accessing a public charge point is easy, they will have signs informing on how to use them. Some will require you to download an app, create an account and enter your card details, others will simply allow contactless payment. They usually charge per kWh and a charge of 80% usually costs around £25.00
How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?
A common electric vehicle myth is that charging takes forever. You’ll plug it in and then be waiting days before it’s charged.
This simply isn’t true. Depending on the home car charging point you have installed, charging an electric car can take as little as one hour!
Charging speeds for electric cars are measured in kilowatts (kW). Each charging point has a maximum charging speed per hour, with the most common charging speeds being 3.6kWh, 7kWh and 22kWh. There are also rapid chargers that will charge at up to 43-50kWh and for some vehicles such as Tesla 150kWh.
Therefore, a 40kW battery would take only one hour to charge using a 43-50kWh charging point, whereas it would be 11 hours with a 3.7kWh charger.
Some cars have limits on which charging speeds they can accept, so be sure to check this before choosing your charging point.
How often do you need to charge an electric vehicle?
You can charge your car as much as you like!
Some people choose to let their battery run down before charging it, while others plug it in every night so that they have a fully charged battery at the beginning of each day. When it comes to charging an electric vehicle, it’s best to do so whenever is convenient for you.
However, the life of high-voltage batteries can be shortened by charging the battery before it’s fully discharged. It’s therefore recommended that you allow the battery to fully discharge before recharging. It’s also advised that you only charge the battery to 80%, as this can also extend a battery’s life.
Did you know - Electricity rates are usually cheaper at night, meaning you could save money by charging at night instead of in the daytime. Many energy providers also have off-peak tariffs, so it’s worth researching to find the best tariff available. Any EV home chargers sold from 30th June 2022 will be set up to charge in off-peak hours by default (although this can be user-overridden), so you should be saving automatically.
Home Charging Tips
Check your car’s charging limit- If your car can only charge at 7kW per hour, you may not need a more powerful charging point. However, using a more powerful charger won’t damage your car and may be a good option if you plan to upgrade your electric car in the future.
Don’t overload your house’s electricity circuit- For the most powerful charging points, there’s the risk that the energy taken to charge your car combined with other usage within your house could be too much for your house’s consumer unit to handle. Be mindful of this and check what your electricity circuit can handle beforehand. Your charge point technician will also do this for you. Some charging points will also automatically balance the power according to your house’s electrical usage to prevent these issues from occurring.
Don’t overcharge- Only charging a battery to 80% is believed to extend the battery’s life. For this reason, most high-voltage batteries will only charge to 80% but will display 100% charge on the vehicle’s dashboard. Battery life for high-voltage batteries can also be extended by allowing the battery to fully discharge before recharging.
Government Grant for Home charging Units
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) which helps plug-in vehicle owners offset up to £350 of their home EV charger is ending on 31st March 2022 for homeowners (including people with mortgages) who live in single-unit properties such as bungalows and detached, semi-detached, or terraced housing.
The scheme will remain open to homeowners who live in flats and people in rental accommodation (flats and single-use properties).
Compare Electric Vehicle Ranges
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