If you’ve recently bought an electric car or you’re thinking about buying one, you’re in the right place.
With petrol car sales sent to be banned from 2030, the electric car market has expanded rapidly in recent years, with plug-in vehicles accounting for 15% of cars on UK roads by May 2021.
There’s never been more options for buyers, from small city runabouts to estate cars and SUVs. As running ranges increase, buying prices reduce and more second hand electric vehicles become available, EVs have become a realistic prospect for many UK households.
But if you’ve still got questions – how to charge, what to buy and what the future might hold – we’ve compiled guides covering everything you need to know about electric cars.
It really depends on what your priorities are for a car.
There are now lots of smaller, affordable EVs around that are ideal for commuting and daily use, but they’re not your only option.
Electric estates, SUVs and people carriers could be better options for parents and families, while cars with extra long ranges could be the right choice for those regularly making longer journeys.
The best electric car for you will depend on:
In 2021, electric cars have become a more realistic prospect than they’ve ever been in the past.
Ranges are longer and more practical and there are more places to plug in and charge.
Prices of new electric cars are coming down as there’s more competition from new models and there’s a lot more choice than in the early days of EVs.
But the technology moves fast, so some of us might not be ready to buy yet for fear of depreciation when technology inevitably moves on and leaves us with an out of date car in a few years.
And there are still challenges for people without off-street parking where they can charge a car, while there’s still a lack of cars to buy for some types of motorists, for example those who need to tow a trailer or caravan.
Even so, 2021 has so far seen faster electric car adoption than in previous years, so it’s worth considering an EV if you’re in the market for a new car this year.
Follow our top tips to choosing the right electric car for you:
Will you be able to top-up daily at your home or workplace? Or will you be dependent on public charge points? It’ll help you decide whether you need a car with a greater range or not.
You’re not limited to small, city cars for electric any more. Consider how much you’d save on fuel by replacing your large family car or SUV with battery power.
Electric cars feel and sound a bit different to drive when you’re used to petrol or diesel. Make sure you test drive any you’re interested in buying to make sure you’re happy with performance.
It’s not just the buying cost you should think about. Weigh up what you save on fuel and tax and compare electric car insurance before you commit to one.
There are some very competitive finance deals that might make a brand new electric car more appealing. Make sure you shop around to see what’s available and check whether electric car grants could make it more affordable.
Electric cars produce no tailpipe emissions, so they’re much cleaner in use than petrol or diesel cars. But their manufacture can create higher emissions than conventional cars.
They’re usually still better for the environment than combustion engine cars over their whole life cycle. You can find out more about how green EVs really are in our guide.
In 2021, the Tesla Model S has the longest range of any electric car, at 405 miles.
It’s got a price tag to match, but there are now plenty of cheaper EVs from mainstream manufacturers like Nissan, MG and Renault with ranges in excess of 200 miles – plenty for most people.
More EVs are starting to appear on the used car market, so there are deals to be had, but you need to look for different things than you would when buying a used petrol car.
You should particularly check the battery still holds charge as it should – or at least look at battery replacement costs if not. A replacement EV battery can be thousands of pounds.
Electric car batteries usually have their own warranty of at least eight years, so find out how long’s left and if it can be transferred to you.
Electric cars have fewer moving parts to petrol or diesel cars, so there’s less to break down or go wrong.
Even so, you might want to consider breakdown cover, so you’re not left stranded on the roadside, especially if you accidentally run out of charge.
Zero emissions electric vehicles are zero rated for road tax – there’s nothing to pay. You still need to go through the process of taxing them each year though, there’s just no actual charge for it.
Electric vehicles used to be more expensive to insure than conventional cars because they were more unusual, so less insurers would cover them.
But as they’ve moved into the mainstream they’ve become much more affordable to insure and prices are now comparable with an equivalent petrol or diesel car.
Some providers have ‘smart’ off-peak tariffs where you save money by charging your electric car at off-peak times, like through the night. Lots of large and smaller suppliers now offer these deals.
But it’s a good idea to compare prices based on your overall energy use to make sure you get the cheapest deal.
You still need to book your EV for its annual service and MOT, but you might find it’s a bit cheaper.
That’s because there are less filters and fluids to change, due to there being no combustion engine in an electric car.