More and more drivers in the UK are wanting to convert to an electric car. This can be for environmental reasons or long term cost savings. If you are considering converting then what do you need to know first?
When considering this there are three key questions to ask yourself. They are whether you have access to off street parking, what your daily mileage is and finally are you looking to buy a new or nearly new car?
The reason this is relevant is that if you own an electric car you will need access to a garage, drive or off street parking so that you can recharge your car. If you don’t, you can apply for a public on street charge point close to your house. Your local authority should be able to advise you on this.
Your driving mileage needs to be less than 100 miles a day and your daily commute ideally should be the same regular commute each day. This ensures that you are able to accurately calculate what your daily needs are and then calculate the charge that is required.
You need to be able to afford a new or nearly new car as most electric cars are more expensive and are not yet widely available on the used car market.
If you are sure about the above questions then what models are available to you? There are now 18 models available to choose from and the trend appears to be that more manufacturers are looking at this market. The Renault Zoe, Nissans Leaf and BMW i3 certainly helped convince drivers that an electric car could be a viable option. Some of the most rated electric cars in the UK now include the Toyota Prius, the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 and the Honda Insight.
You will find that as a general rule of thumb electric cars are on average more expensive than diesel or petrol cars. There are grants available which do help to subsidise the costs although there are price caps. You can also consider leasing as an option, in fact some models are only available as lease cars. A big benefit of leasing is that it removes some of the uncertainty about the resale value in three years’ time.
Whilst the initial costs of buying an electric car can be high you should see the benefit in the running costs. First of all you are exempt from car tax, in fact only electric vehicles with a list price of £40,000 or more will be charged any tax. Running the car will also be low as you are only paying for the price of electricity, fuel costs can be as low as 3p a mile. If you live in London you will also see savings to the congestion charge as if you have an electric vehicle you will be eligible for the ultra-low emission discount scheme.
One of the main concerns that any driver has when they need to venture further afield is the need to recharge their car. Public charging networks, as they are known, offer a mix of slow, fast and rapid charging points. Once you have an electric car you will have access to all charge points in networks in which you are registered. Maps are available of all charging points across the UK.