FAQ – Should I buy an electric vehicle? | AA Cars

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more and more appealing to drivers. They offer zero-emission driving, and lower running costs than cars powered by fossil fuels.

At the moment, EVs cost more to buy than fuel vehicles. But as battery technology improves, and more options get released, the higher price of new models will start to fall.

But is an EV the right car for you? Take a look at some commonly asked questions.

Why do EVs cost more than fossil fuel-powered cars?

The technology is still relatively new compared to combustion engines, meaning development costs are high. Manufacturers are spending lots of money on improving electric power systems, which makes them relatively expensive to buy still.

When batteries can deliver similar ranges to non-EVs, prices should start coming down.

How much does it cost to charge one up?

According to Pod Point, a leading charging provider, it costs roughly £8.40 to charge a typical EV with a 60kWh battery at home. That delivers roughly 200 miles of range on average. depending on which EV you go for.

You can also choose to buy a wallbox charging point for your EV – these often come as an option when you buy an EV. Usually up to 7kW, these charge your EV 3 times faster than a standard plug. Wallboxes normally cost around £450, but the government offers a £350 grant to help you buy one outright. So, although you pay more initially, it reduces charging costs .

If you’re out and about, many public chargers at supermarkets and shopping centres don’t cost anything to use. You can use an app like ZapMap or Pod Point to show you where they are. Some shops offer rapid chargers, which you’ll need to pay to use – although they can add more range in a shorter amount of time.

How much range do EVs have?

It depends on the capacity of the battery fitted to the car and also the size of the car itself. For example, in the supermini EV market, it can range from 124 miles for the Honda e with a 32kWh battery – while the Peugeot e-208 has 50kWh battery providing 217 miles of charge.

If you’re after a larger EV like the Jaguar I-Pace, the 90kWh battery offers a 292-mile range. The electric car with the longest range is the Tesla Model S, which can travel 379 miles on a charge in ‘Long Range’ form.

How easy is it to charge an EV?

As long as you have the right cables and access to charge point, it’s very simple. At home, you only have to plug it in with the cable provided and it should work straight away. Manufacturers recommend using a dedicated charge point, but a three-pin plug can be used occasionally or as a last resort. 

Charging times will vary depending on the model, but most EVs can be charged overnight using a dedicated wallbox at home.

Public charging times vary, though rapid chargers (typically found at service stations) are the quickest – topping an EV’s batteries up in under an hour, usually. If you’re charging at a public point, you might need to activate it on an app first.

If you have on-street parking without regular access to a charging point, then an EV might not be right for you – so think carefully about charging access before you buy.

What about plug-in hybrids?

If you travel a bit further afield on a regular basis, but want electric power to drive around town, plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) might be the answer. Normally pairing an electric motor with a petrol engine, they allow you to travel further between fill-ups and charges.

They have lower emission and fuel usage levels than conventional cars. And they may be a good stepping stone before you go fully electric next time.

Why should I buy an EV?

If you’re looking to reduce your impact on local pollution levels and reduce your fuel bills, then an EV might be right for you. Their ranges are improving, but they’re great for urban drivers.

If you’re not driving as much as you used to, or you’re using public transport more, then an EV makes a useful runaround car.

The government offers EV buyers the plug-in car grant to help with costs. The £3,000 grant reduces the sale price of an EV and mean the initial outlay isn’t as bad as you might think.

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