the distance you cover daily becomes a crucial factor.
Embarking on the journey to buy an electric car is an exciting step toward a greener and more sustainable future of transportation.
As the UK’s 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel cars gradually approaches, the car industry is undergoing a dynamic shift towards electrification.
At the same time, more drivers are shifting towards electric vehicles.
We delve into the essential factors to consider when buying an electric car.
From practical considerations to technological innovations, this guide will provide help in making an informed decision when it comes to buying an electric car.
Average Driving Distance
Compared to conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, most electric cars generally offer a significantly shorter range.
For instance, in real-world driving scenarios, a Nissan Leaf covers approximately 86 miles, while the eGolf and Hyundai Ioniq reach around 120 miles.
Even top-tier EVs manage just a little over 220 miles on a full charge. Therefore, the distance you cover daily becomes a crucial factor.
Fortunately, the situation is improving for EV owners, as public charging points are becoming more widespread, including locations such as fuel stations, shopping centres, and even town-centre car parks.
Additionally, there is increasing funding in the pipeline. However, despite these advancements, recharging an EV is still not as straightforward as refuelling a petrol or diesel vehicle.
It’s important to note that the charging time for EVs can be lengthy, requiring several hours.
Ideally, when purchasing an EV, you should aim for a range that, when fully charged, comfortably exceeds your daily travel needs.
Although an electric car’s range is a crucial factor, the ability to recharge the vehicle is equally significant and may require advanced planning, electrical adjustments, or even construction at your home or workplace.
Interestingly, nearly all currently available EVs offer the option to recharge using a standard household socket.
Nevertheless, waiting 8-12 hours for a full charge may not be ideal for everyone.
Opting for a more potent charging system is a viable solution, and this upgrade is typically available for most EV models at an additional cost.
It can substantially reduce the recharge time, potentially bringing it down to under half an hour, depending on your choice of EV and charger.
However, it’s essential to be cautious, as high-current chargers often demand a dedicated power supply and usually require professional installation.
Maintenance & Battery Life
Another thing to consider before you buy an electric car is the battery, its lifespan and the potential cost of replacement.
Despite EVs requiring less maintenance compared to traditional petrol and diesel vehicles due to fewer moving parts, it is essential to monitor the condition of the battery.
Manufacturers claim that their batteries can endure over 100,000 miles, suggesting that replacement might not be necessary during your ownership if you stay below that mileage threshold.
However, it’s important to note that EV batteries degrade over time, leading to diminished charge-holding capacity and a subsequently reduced range.
To illustrate the magnitude of this issue, replacing the battery in a Nissan Leaf can cost upwards of £5,000, and for a Tesla Model S, that price can double.
Consideration should also be given to the environment in which you reside, as EV batteries generally perform better in moderate temperatures compared to cold weather.
Driving petrol or diesel cars means frequent trips to the fuel station, which has a cost.
Switching to an electric car and charging it at home transfers this expense to your electricity bill.
However, in practical terms, unless your daily mileage is exceptionally high, the impact on your electricity bill is unlikely to be significantly increased.
For example, the average cost of charging an electric car overnight is around £3.00. For a longer-range Tesla Model S, it’s £9.00.
This cost per mile is considerably lower than that of a traditional fuel-burning vehicle.
An average driver travelling 16 miles per day would spend approximately £20 per month on electricity when using an average electric car.
The insurance cost for electric cars tends to be higher compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.
This doesn’t necessarily indicate that electric cars are less safe or more prone to accidents.
The main reason for the increased insurance premium is the higher initial price tags associated with electric cars.
Additionally, the cost of repairs for electric cars is generally higher than that for traditional cars.
One contributing factor to the elevated repair costs is the specialised nature of electric vehicle components and technology.
The intricate and advanced systems found in electric cars often require specialized skills and equipment, leading to higher repair expenses.
However, it’s important to note that this scenario may undergo significant changes in the coming years.
With the rapid expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure across the country, there is a growing trend toward more affordable electric car options.
As the market matures and economies of scale come into play, the overall cost of electric cars is expected to decrease.
This, in turn, may have a positive impact on insurance costs as repair expenses become more standardised and accessible.
Government support in the form of incentives and tax breaks plays a pivotal role in reducing the overall costs associated with electric vehicles.
It is crucial to verify the available tax benefits to accurately gauge the potential savings when purchasing an eco-friendly car.
These governmental initiatives are designed to enhance the affordability of electric cars, aiming to incentivise individuals to opt for environmentally friendly transportation.
This not only benefits consumers by making electric cars more cost-effective but also contributes to a broader commitment to greener alternatives, ultimately fostering positive impacts on the environment.
Hardware & Software
Electric cars come with a plethora of software and hardware components, making regular updates a critical aspect of their optimal performance.
The intricate nature of these components requires frequent updates to enhance functionalities, improve efficiency and address potential issues.
Some manufacturers offer them for free while others charge a small fee.
The updates are not limited to just the vehicle’s operating system; they often extend to critical components such as battery management systems, charging protocols and other crucial elements.
Staying informed about these updates is essential for electric vehicle owners, as it can impact the overall functionality, safety and efficiency of the vehicle.
Being aware of the manufacturer’s policies regarding updates, whether they are provided free of charge or involve additional costs, is an important factor when buying an electric car.
Vehicle Size & Style
When in the market for an electric car, vehicle size and style are important considerations for various reasons.
Firstly, it is essential to ensure that the size of the electric car aligns with your needs, considering factors such as seating capacity, cargo space and overall dimensions.
This evaluation is crucial whether you intend to use the vehicle for commuting, family transportation or other specific purposes.
Driving range is also a factor as larger electric cars often house larger batteries, providing an extended driving range on a single charge.
In urban environments where manoeuvrability is key, the size of the electric car plays a significant role.
Smaller electric cars are generally more manoeuvrable, making them well-suited for navigating tight parking spaces and traffic commonly encountered in city settings.
The style and design of the electric car also impact its aerodynamics and overall efficiency.
Sleeker designs contribute to better energy efficiency, a crucial factor for maximising the driving range on a single charge.
Should I go Hybrid or Electric?
Deciding between hybrid and electric cars depends on your environmental concerns and driving needs.
Electric cars are ideal for those with a strong commitment to environmental sustainability as they significantly reduce carbon footprint.
But it is important to note that the feasibility of electric cars depends on the availability of a robust charging infrastructure.
On the other hand, hybrid cars are a greener alternative to ICE vehicles as they integrate both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine.
While hybrid cars offer a compromise between electric and traditional options, choosing an electric car not only minimises direct emissions but also establishes a more sustainable solution for the long term.
Electric vehicles have been in the market for quite some time.
However, the resale value of newer models remains uncertain, unlike their counterparts powered by petrol and diesel.
It’s important to factor in potential depreciation on an EV beyond the usual norms.
When the time comes for replacement, you may find that the accumulated mileage negatively influences its resale value, with buyers highlighting concerns about the cost of a replacement battery.
In the ever-evolving landscape of automotive technology, the decision to embrace an electric future is a monumental one.
The shift towards sustainable transportation is not merely a trend but a conscious and impactful choice.
From range considerations to charging infrastructure, and from environmental impact to the joy of driving innovation, each facet plays a vital role in shaping your electric car ownership experience.
As you stand on the brink of this transformative decision, armed with insights and knowledge, remember that your choice goes beyond the confines of a vehicle – it’s a commitment to a cleaner planet and a more efficient mode of transportation.