Considerations When Buying
Follow our practical advice when buying an electric vehicle.
Assuming you need a car (read our "Do you need a car?" blog) and are condistering buying an EV, think first carefully about your standard daily usage, 70% of car journeys are 15 minutes or less accoding to the CSO 2019 findings.
The perfect EV for you depends on your needs, a Battery Electric Vehicle or BEV should complete your typical daily journeys on a single charge and be recharged when parked at home overnight.
Decisions to make
Battery electric vehicle or Plug-in Hybrid?
This is one of the first items to decide on. Many see PHEVs 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 PHEV, then consider whether you really need it.
BEVs offer larger batteries and longer electric driving ranges than PHEVs. Some new BEV models offer ranges in excess of 300km which makes them a suitable for longer journeys. 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 30kWh battery most of the time, then why buy a 50kWh or 70kWh 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.
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 motor 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.Read about cost savings Buying a used EV advice
Charging - where and when
EVs can be charged at home, at work, on the street or on the public charging infrastructure, the speed of charging is determined by the charger power and the vehicle’s onboard charger capacity – whichever is the slower.
The most convenient and least expensive way to run an EV for most owners is to use home charging. There is a grant available for the installation of a home charger. As of August 2022 you can apply for this grant even if you don’t an EV yet.
The average car spends 22 hrs per day parked and 80% of charging is done at home.Read more about charging