| Guide | Drivers

Looking to Buy an Electric Car? An Ultimate Guide to Buying an EV

Thanks to improvements in range, lower prices, and a rapidly expanding charging network, the UK’s EV market is booming. Here's our guide to buying an electric car.

guide to buying electric vehicle

Not only are electric vehicles a more  eco-friendly alternative to driving a petrol/diesel vehicle, but they are also increasingly fun and responsive to  drive and can future-proof your transport for years to come.  

In this blog, we outline: 

  • Benefits of buying an electric car 
  • How to reduce battery degradation 
  • Top tips for buying an EV 

Across the UK, thousands of new drivers every week are discovering the many benefits of EVs over conventional petrol and diesel cars.

As car manufacturers race to bring a range of new electric models to the market, EV ownership is set to only surge higher.

 

The benefits of EVs

Environmental benefits

Transport is the largest CO2-emitting sector in the UK, responsible for 27% of emissions. EVs are significantly better for the environment than ICE vehicles as we talk about in this blog. Although EVs still produce non-exhaust emissions, they eliminate exhaust emissions of nitogen oxide and PM2.5, whilst also reducing particulates from brake wear through regenerative braking. 

 

guide to buying electric vehicle

Cost of Ownership

EVs are:

  • Cheaper to maintain – Maintenance costs are estimated to run around 40% less for EVs because there are fewer components and drivers can bypass things like oil changes and spark plug replacements. EVs are lighter on tyres and brakes due to regenerative braking – so wear and tear is reduced.
  • More energy efficient – EVs are generally three times more energy-efficient than petrol and diesel cars, mostly because 40-60% of ICE vehicle’s energy is lost to heat and friction. Increased efficiency translates to reduced costs.
  • Exempt from congestion charges – Electric Vehicles are exempt from the congestion charge in central London and the capital’s Ultra-low Emission Zone charges – a collective saving of £27.50 a day.
  • Comfort and driveability – EVs are famously quieter and smoother to run, with most models surprisingly quick in acceleration. The lower centre of gravity allows for improved handling, responsiveness and – due to increased internal passenger space – greater comfort.

 

Battery shelf-life

Most EVs use Lithium-Ion batteries, which degrade and become less effective over hundreds of charge / use-cycles. However, recent studies show this degradation is small, at around 2.3% a year. And that drivers can expect ten years and more – or 100,000+ miles of use – making the lifespan similar to a conventional petrol or diesel model.

There are also ways to reduce battery degradation – such as keeping charge between 20-80% and avoiding very aggressive acceleration and extreme temperatures. So decline in battery capacity – especially given the rapid evolution of battery innovation  – should not now be a major concern for most EV owners.

 

Buying an EV – top tips 

Your choice of EV will likely depend on many factors, from budget to range expectations to the style and size. 

  • Decide on the type of vehicle: Do you want a battery electric vehicle (BEV), Pplug-in hybrid (PHEV) or hybrid (HEV)?  
  • Look at what models are available: In today’s market, there are many more models than there were a few years ago, from the Rolls-Royce Spectre at the high end of the price spectrum to the more modestly priced Nissan Leaf. Research everything that is on offer, and compare models by their battery size, range, price and features. 
  • See if your company offers a salary sacrifice scheme: Before you make the jump, enquire with your employer as to whether they have a salary sacrifice scheme for EVs. With such a scheme, you employer will lease the car from the scheme provider, and you will pay for the EV through exchanging a portion of your gross salary. The reduction in salary helps you save on income tax and national insurance contributions, and you do not have to worry about the potentially high upfront purchase cost of the vehicle. 
  • Consider installing a charger at home: If you have access to off-street parking or your own drive, you may want to invest in a charge point to guarantee you will always be ready to hit the road with a good level of charge. 
  • Explore your local area for public charge points: If a home charger is not feasible, do not worry as the UK’s public charging network is expanding by the day. Check out where you can charge on the network before you buy your EV, so as soon as it arrives you know where to head when you need a top-up. 

 

 

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