Is it Time to Go Electric?

Thinking about moving from Petrol or Diesel over to an electric vehicle, but when is the best time to do this and what are the pros and cons

Should your next car be an Electric Vehicle

The UK government plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2030, followed by a ban on hybrids by 2035. After 2035, all new cars and vans sold in the UK must be totally electric. Older petrol and diesel vehicles will still be available on a second-hand basis, but will increasingly come under the taxation cosh to nudge UK motorists over to electric.

At present, battery electric vehicles, BEVs, have a 10.9% share of new sales in the UK, with plug-in hybrids at 7.4%. This share is growing and is in marked contrast to a 65% fall in sales for diesel vehicles in 2021.

So, is it time for you to go EV? Here are the questions you need to ask yourself.

When do you plan to buy your next car?

If you’re planning a new car in the near future then you’ve got quite a bit of choice. Second-hand Renault Zoes, with a range of 100 miles or so, start at £5,000 if you’re after a city runaround car.

New EVs start at around £20,000, such as the 115-mile range Fiat 500e. Teslas start at £40,000, but as more people go electric, prices could come down so you need to work out your best entry point. There are also leasing schemes available, which might suit you better than buying outright.

How much do you drive?

If most of your driving involves short commutes, school runs or shopping trips, then an EV is perfect. Once you’ve sussed out your local charging points, you’ll be plugging in for a quick topup at the supermarket. 

Longer commutes mean you might prefer to charge at home or at work every day and many business parks are now installing chargers in their car parks.

Longer journeys need a bit more foresight

Then again, so do longer journeys in a diesel or petrol car. EVs have charging points in their navigation systems, so you can easily plan your charge stops. Remember to find out how quick each charging point is, however, as times vary widely.

What about the EV tax breaks?

The UK government is offering motorists a grant of up to £2,500 to help with the cost of a new low-emissions vehicle. Your dealer applies the discount and many cars are advertised at the already-discounted price.

It’s only government-approved cars with a list price of less than £35,000 and that can run off pure electric for at least 70 miles that qualify for the grant. You can also apply for £350 off the cost of a home charger.

How reliable is the UK’s charging infrastructure?

This is the big question. If you have a Tesla, then the Supercharger network covers 99% of the UK and mainland Europe and you can add up to 1,000 miles range in an hour. 

If you don’t have a Tesla, then things can get a bit more confusing. Lots of different companies provide charging services and they don’t all offer the same payment methods or the same charging rates. Plus, you might encounter queues at charging points.

There’s also different types of plugs and adapters to take into account. Thankfully, many charging providers are working to level this playing field and to expand their offerings in step with increasing EV ownership.

Is it easy to charge at home?

Your workplace might not have any charging points nearby, or you might have to compete with colleagues every day just to make sure you can drive home.

A home charger is probably the answer and you can install one for between £300 and £1,000 (not including the £350 government grant). Not all home chargers work at the same rates, with some taking up to 25 hours to fully replenish a depleted battery.

This might sound unworkable, but you probably won’t need to fully charge your battery every evening, so a partial topup when you get home will do the job. This is especially handy if your electricity is cheaper in the evenings, as charging costs start at 2p per mile.

You will, however, need off-road parking as private chargers are usually installed on an outside wall of your property. This may be changing, however, with companies and councils planning to add chargers to lampposts and pop-up bollards across the UK.