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The rise of electric cars

The rise of electric cars

What do I need to know about electric cars?

We can expect some of the most popular cars of the last decade, including the Mini Cooper, to get their showcase in a new electric format at the Frankfurt Motor Show over the next week and while electric cars may only make up about 1 per cent of the UK car market right now, all looks set to change as the world gets switched on to electric vehicles (EV).

So, just how big a deal are electric cars?

We’re talking shockwaves people! It’s going to be near on impossible or at least very expensive to drive diesel in the next 20 years.

New Government legislation will see Britain ban all new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040. But way before then, you’ll see significant changes…

Some of our favourite carmakers, Volvo and Jaguar Landrover, have pledged to make their entire production electric by 2019 and 2020 respectively…expect many more big names to follow.

Uber has just announced a Clean Air Fund initiative and will only have electric or Hybrid vehicles available for hire on their app by the end of 2019.

Today, Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) that only emit 75g of CO2 per kilometre travelled have significant tax benefits compared to petrol and diesel cars.

New electric vehicles, under the value of £40,000 are road tax exempt and we’ll see more infringement on drivers using non-renewable fuel sources in the years to come.

For starters, it’s likely many cities and towns across the UK will follow in London’s footsteps and introduce an emissions surcharge. From October 2017, the ‘Toxicity Charge or ‘T-Charge’ will fine drivers in the city with vehicles that fail to meet the minimum exhaust emission standards. The charge will be £10 daily when heading through the congestion zone.

What are the benefits of electric cars?

Well, electric vehicles are equally as well equipped as traditional vehicles. Their style and capability isn’t impaired simply to be more eco-friendly and you can get large family cars, hatchbacks, superminis, estates and vans as EVs.

Plus, there are many incentives to buy an EV at the moment with grants available for both the vehicle and installing a home charging point. Read more about this at Energy Saving Trust.

The battery power of typical electric vehicle is 100 miles and while this might seem limited compared to your current vehicle, how often do you actually travel that amount of miles by car? The beauty of the electric car is you can install a charge point at home, making it a very practical option.

But even further afield, charge points are becoming more common spread across the UK road and motorway network. While granted you have to do a bit of pre-planning, rapid charging points can replenish two thirds of your battery power within half an hour but it’s worth doing the research before setting off as many charge points need you to pre-register or to download a smart app to use.

The higher sticker price of electric cars is definitely outweighed by the significantly cheaper running costs. According to the, you can charge a battery from flat to full for as little as 96 pence. You also wouldn’t have to pay the London Congestion Charge and can benefit from free parking in many pay and display spots.

Are electric vehicles really better for the environment?

EVs do not emit climate damaging greenhouse gases or harmful nitrogen oxides like traditional vehicles. They’re also so quiet and easy to operate so the noise pollution is significantly reduced. So in terms of operation, they definitely provide a more eco-friendly option.

The counter argument is where the supply of electric comes from - is the charge from a renewable source? Also, the cost and energy to build an electric car is significantly greater right now, mainly due to the size of the car battery needed. While, scale of production should in time reduce this, EVs make more of an imprint on the environment right now.

How easy is it to buy a second hand electric car?

With more EVs entering the market, it goes to say there are more EVs becoming available second hand.

However, the key consideration is all to do with battery life. The length of the battery life and how long it will perform is a little unknown right now and EVs have poor depreciation based on this. If you did have to replace a battery it would be a huge expense.

However, this also means you can pick up a second hand EV at a relatively good price and if you consider a battery leasing option, which is available direct from the manufacturer on many vehicles, it can still be an affordable option.

Why not talk to Zuto if you’re looking at buying a second hand EV? Call us on 01625 619944.

What are the disadvantages of electric cars?

If you’re travelling lots of long journeys and/or aren’t that well organised, an EV might not be for you right now.

You’ve got to be well versed in where your charging points will be and not all EV charging stations are compatible with every car so you’ll have to do your research. Remember, every 100 miles you’ll need to re-charge.

The batteries are heavy and performance wise, EVs do not have the same power as a traditional vehicle. Meanwhile, all your in-car entertainment, air con and heating is powered by the battery so you’ve got to be vigilant of this, alongside the miles you’re driving.

EVs are expensive to buy. Right now, the Renault Zoe claims to be the cheapest EV on the market, starting at £14, 245 and this is a two seater. A replacement battery could also be very costly and the depreciation of EVs is poor. But, as we mentioned earlier, grants are available to help with purchase and installing charging points.

Maintenance isn’t as straight forward either. As a relatively new concept, it could be difficult to find a garage in your area that is fully kitted out to service this style of vehicle.

Are there alternatives?

If you’re keen to help the environment but don’t think an EV fits your lifestyle, you could consider a hybrid. These vehicles combine normal petrol and diesel engines with electric.

There’s different sorts of hybrids. There’s the conventional hybrid – like the Toyota Prius – which uses the electric motor when travelling at low speeds and then, when needed to accelerate or work at full power, uses the traditional engine at the same time. During operation, any excess power is used to recharge the battery.

Then, there’s the plug-in hybrid which offers you the option to plug-in and recharge the car, as well as being charged on the move. This gives you a longer running time on the electric than a conventional hybrid.

With both these options you’ll be using less fuel than conventional cars but you have the safety net of kicking in the engine when the electric charge is getting low so you can travel more miles than an electric car.

Like electric cars, the initial outlay is high but there is money to be saved in the long run and some hybrids are eligible for grants and lower running costs charges.

Decided on an electric of hybrid vehicle but need help determining what you can afford?

See what your monthly payments could be with our monthly budget calculator.