Quick acceleration, zero engine noise, more boot space. What’s not to love about electric cars? If the idea of buying a car that you can plug into the wall instead of refilling at a gas station appeals to you, then you’ll have realized by now that there are many choices available.
Tesla, Volkswagen, Nissan, BMW, Jaguar, Porsche, and even Vauxhall offer a range of electric cars to choose from. However, there are a few questions you need to ask before you decide to switch from gas to electricity.
1.What’s the Range?
The biggest limitation that EVs have right now is their range. While the thought of plugging them into a wall to recharge them sounds great it isn’t that simple in practice. Recharging infrastructure is still in its infancy, even if it’s being built up quickly.
Hence, the range has to be at the top of your priority list when looking at an EV. Most EVs can travel far enough to cover the average daily commute in the UK. However, take the time to calculate what your daily driving distance is and check which EV performs comfortably above this range.
2. What’s the Local Infrastructure Like?
There’s a petrol station seemingly everywhere, but electric recharging stations have yet to appear in such numbers. Some councils have EV stations on every corner, while others have none in sight. Typically, EV stations are placed near convenience stores that allow you to charge your vehicle while you wait.
If your employer offers EV charging stations, then you can afford to relax your range requirements a bit since your daily range needs will be cut roughly in half. Something else to consider is the availability of infrastructure during long-distance drives.
For those living in the city, EVs are great in city traffic. However, your garage has to be equipped with a charging outlet, and we don’t mean a wall socket either. You might have to modify your garage’s infrastructure before adopting an EV. This adds to your overall cost, so keep this in mind.
3. Are There Any Incentives?
There’s a ton of incentives in the UK for you to buy an EV. This question isn’t so much about making sure you receive incentives as much as it’s about counting the money you’re going to get paid by the government.
The Plug-in car grant reimburses you up to 3,000 pounds in case of an electric car. If your car costs less than 40,000 pounds, it’s exempt from vehicle excise duty. This might put the brakes on your desire to buy that Tesla or luxury EV.
If you own a business, buying the car in your business’ name allows you to write down 100% of the car’s purchase price against your corporate tax liability, as long as the vehicle emits no more than 50g/KM CO2.
There are local schemes to leverage as well. The City of London waives congestion charges on EVs while some councils offer free parking. Buyers in Northern Ireland can receive a grant of up to 5,000 pounds when purchasing an EV. Those in Scotland can receive an interest-free loan of up to 35,000 pounds to cover costs.
4. What are the Costs?
While EVs tend to have lower running costs than internal combustion-powered cars, they have unique costs you have to account for. The biggest increase will occur within your electricity bill, which will now be fueling your car.
Your driving routine also plays a role with regards to choosing a supercharger. Level one superchargers are cheap and plug into wall outlets easily. However, a Level two charger will become a semi-permanent part of your garage’s infrastructure while providing much faster recharging.
If you drive long distances every month, then you might have to rent a conventional car if EV infrastructure isn’t present along the way. These trips will add to your car ownership costs as well.
5. What’s the Service Warranty?
EV technology is still new, and these vehicles break down more often than their manufacturers would have you believe. It’s best to check their warranties and the servicing network. In the case of traditional manufacturers, you won’t have to worry about servicing. However, with fancier vehicle marques such as Tesla or Porsche, accessing a dealership might be a hassle.
There’s also the fact that you cannot repair these vehicles yourself, or you might find the software on them disabled when you wake up the next day. You need to read the fine print on the warranty of all parts and understand what this means for ownership costs.
6. Are You Better off with a Hybrid?
EVs are great, but the lack of infrastructure supporting them makes ownership a bit tricky. A good crossover solution is to opt for a hybrid. These cars are manufactured by established marques and you can rely on existing infrastructure.
If the thought of a hybrid brings the image of a boring Prius to mind, then consider that even the likes of Ferrari and Mclaren produce hybrids these days.
Do Your Research – via Magazine, Automotive Podcast, Etc
It’s best to do your research by reading magazines or listening to an automotive industry podcast that can help you understand what it’s like to live with an EV daily. These informational sources can help you reach answers to all of the above questions, plus answers to questions that you may not even know you should be asking when at the dealership.
Many Questions, Many Choices
There are a few questions to consider, as you can see, but there’s no doubt that EVs are the future of the automobile. As technology improves, choosing a vehicle will become a lot easier. For now though, make sure you conduct thorough research as per the points above.