Follow our practical advice when buying an electric vehicle.
If you are buying a new electric vehicle you have a good selection to choose from. Most brands have a number of electric vehicles in their range. These include full battery and hybrid. So brand loyalty should not be an issue. New models are being added all the time, as manufacturers increase production of EVs.
Buying second hand
It's no longer difficult to find second hand electric vehicles on the market. With early adopters trading in and trading up, there is a healthy amount of second hand EV's to choose from. High quality pre-owned vehicles from two to three years old and up to seven years old are available. This is in line with the growth in EV sales.
Decisions to make
Battery electric vehicle or Hybrid?
This is one of the first items to decide on. Many see hybrid vehicles as a safe option. However choosing one technology over another should be an informed choice.
Take a good look at your driving requirements. Then compare them to the driving ranges of the electric vehicles on the market. If you will rarely use the combustion engine of a hybrid, then consider whether you really need it.
Pure electric vehicles offer larger batteries and longer electric driving ranges than hybrids. But, if you make regular long distance trips and have a short commute the rest of the time, a hybrid may suit better. The more electric you drive, the cleaner and cheaper your driving experience will be.
Find out more about the types of electric vehicles
As battery sizes increase, you may no longer need the largest battery on the market. Again, it is useful to be aware of your driving habits. If you can get away with a 24kWh battery most of the time, then why buy a 40kWh or 50kWh option.
Larger batteries cost more and you will carry the weight around even when you don't need it. Deciding what battery size you need is like deciding the engine size and fuel type of a car based on driving needs.
Depending on the vehicle make, model and year, you may have an option for a more powerful on-board charger. What difference does this make and how will it affect me?
On-board chargers start at 3.6kW with larger chargers capable of accepting 7.2kW's and even 22kW's.
- If you charge at home with a 3.6kW home charge point, a larger on-board charger will not make a difference.
- If you are charging on public or destination charge points, a larger on board charger may reduce the time required. For example, a 24kWh battery takes 6 - 8 hours to charge on street with a 3.6kW on-board charger. This would reduce to 3-4 hours using a 7.2kW on-board charger.
When buying second hand vehicles, reviewing the service history has always been important. The service reports for electric vehicles usually give guidance on the health of the battery. This report provides peace of mind, that the vehicle you buy can live up to your expectations. When importing a vehicle, this is particularly important, as you may not have the comfort of going to your local dealer with an issue.
Do the math
When comparing an electric vehicle to an internal combustion engine, it is worth looking at the running costs as well as the purchase price. Reduction in fuel spend along with road tax and servicing are significant. These savings may offset the small discomfort of the occasional need to stop en-route for a charge. After all, if the trip is long, a stop is good for your comfort and concentration.