Find the answers to some of our frequently asked questions about electric vehicles
The electric range for electric cars will vary model to model. When choosing which electric car you want to order you will need to decide if its advertised range is suitable for the majority of your travel needs.
If you think you can complete most of your journeys on a single charge of electricity or by charging on route, then the vehicle should be suitable for you.
Please also note that the range achieved during real-world driving may differ from the advertised range, as range achieved will be impacted by several factors such as driving style, weight of the vehicle and journey type. Your electric car will monitor your remaining range, and some will even direct you to the nearest charge point to re-charge.
Not all electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles can be used to tow or have roof rails added to carry extra luggage. This is because the extra weight, particularly with towing, could impact the vehicle’s components such as the brakes and suspension which are already under more pressure due to the weight of the electric battery.
There are a small number of plug-in and electric vehicles which do have towing capabilities, but worth noting that the maximum weight they can take is often lower than petrol or diesel equivalents.
You will need to check exact details with the manufacturer for the car that you’re interested in to check it has type approval for towing.
Lead times for electric vehicles operate in the same way as petrol or diesel, in that they will vary manufacturer to manufacturer.
All zero emitting cars, those which have 0g/km CO2, will benefit from the 0% Benefit-in-Kind rate from April 2020.
If you have a charge point installed at home the cost per charge will depend on the tariff you are signed up to with your electricity supplier. Certain tariffs offer cheaper rates at off-peak time, which can be good when looking to charge your car overnight. Speak to your energy supplier to make them aware of your charge point and they will be able to advise on the most suitable tariff for your needs. As an approximate guide, cars will typically cost around 4p per mile when charging at home but this will vary not just by your electricity tariff but by other factors such as the vehicle model and your driving style.
Different charge point providers have different cost models for electric charging. Some will charge a pence per kWH of electricity whilst others will charge a flat fee.
With some you may also need to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee or download their app in order to access the charge points.
Some chargers are available on a pay-on-use basis whereby you can simply pay with your contactless debit or credit card for the electricity you require; this provides complete ease of use.
From Spring 2020 all new rapid or high-powered chargers in the UK will be required to accept this type of payment.
There are over 10,500 charging locations in the UK with over 17,000 devices fitted across these locations.
Exact types of charger, including their power output, charging structure and types of cable available with vary. However, there are fantastic resources such as Zap-Map which electric car drivers can use to plan their public charging and identify suitable charging locations for their specific journeys.
There are a number of different charge point providers in the UK. Most will provide an end-to-end service from applying for your charge point grant from the UK government, advising on the type of charge point required for your needs and checking your electricity meter for compatibility.
The company will provide the charge point and all suitable cabling to connect this to your main electricity supply, as well as fitting it all in the appropriate location at your home.
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles maintains a list of approved charge point providers and models list for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which allows you to get the government grant towards a new electric charge point.
Running out of electricity completely in your car is unlikely as the car will have an indicator (like petrol and diesel cars) to let you know your remaining electric range.
Running your car’s electricity down to 0% is not advised, as this can have long-term impacts on the performance of the battery. You should aim to keep a minimum 20% electric charge.
You should plan longer journeys ahead of time to ensure you identify appropriate charging locations along your route and allow for extra travel time to accommodate public charging.
If you do find you run out of electricity this should be treated the same way as any other breakdown.
Weather and driving conditions will impact the battery range of an electric car, just as it impacts petrol and diesel vehicles.
There are several other factors which will also impact the exact range you get in your electric car, for example whether you have the heating or conditioning on, the location of driving (city or motorway), the weight of the vehicle and your driving style. Your car will monitor its electric range and let you know how much mileage you have left. Some will also navigate you to the nearest public charging point to meet your charging needs for longer journeys.
When planning a long journey there are plenty of resources available to help with journey planning for an electric car. Some examples are:
- Zap-Map allows you to filter on the type of connection you require, what network you prefer, payment methods and location types to identify chargers available in locations that work for you. Users of the app can also report whether a charger is working or not and this is then made visible to alert other users.
- A better routeplanner – allows you to enter your exact electric vehicle model and your preferred charger type to calculate the best route, including details of approx. cost per charge and the level of battery you should expect upon your arrival.
In a word, yes. There’s no clutch which means no stalling and it allows you to go through the gears smoothly just like a petrol automatic. There is also regenerative brakes, which convert the heat produced from your vehicles brakes back into energy for the vehicle’s battery. And because it’s all automatic, you’re able to just focus on your journey and where you need to go.
When it comes to EVs most drivers are instantly impressed with the driving experience. EVs are highly responsive and the initial acceleration offered by even standard EVs is similar to many sports cars. And we should know, quite a few of our team drive EVs or plug-in hybrids.
We’re also lucky enough to get the first glimpse at the latest models when manufacturers come to visit. Seeing the combo of smart tech, performance and stunning design in those new cars wows us every time. There are so many EVs on the market now, we know there’s a model for everyone.
The cost of an EV will vary from model to model depending on whether you charge the vehicle at home, work or through the public network along with driving conditions on the road and your own driving style.
A great way to compare costs per mile is to take a look at our friends at Parkers website. They spend their lives test driving all kinds of cars. And they’ve put a ‘miles per pound’ list together to give you a good idea of how far you can drive your favourite EV between charges.
The short answer is yes! Electric vehicles are designed to drive in all conditions and undergo extensive testing before they reach the public.
You may notice that the cold weather is reducing your EV’s range. That’s because cold temperatures affect the batteries that store electricity in electric cars. If you’re heading on a long journey, you may want to consider pre-heating your EV while it’s still plugged in and charging.
Keep in mind that EVs can be heavier than equivalent petrol and diesel models, so remember to drive smoothly and allow for longer stopping distances.
The good news is that there are no significant differences in washing an EV compared to petrol or diesel vehicles.
It’s important to keep your EV clean to protect its paint and bodywork, and automatic car washes, including rollovers and jet washes, are safe to use. Batteries and electric motors are sealed and safe from water.
However, there are things you should be aware of before you visit your local car wash. In a wash tunnel, it’s essential to know how to put the car in neutral and how not to put the handbrake on.
Ensure the vehicle has enough battery power for the duration of the washing process and that automatic functions, such as windscreen wipers, are switched off.
There are also the usual tips around folding mirrors and removing any other external elements that could get stuck in the brushes.
One of the easiest ways to optimise the range of your EV is to get into good habits before you start your journey.
Since air conditioning uses a lot of energy, it is advisable to heat or cool the car while still plugged in. To stay warm while driving, it uses less energy to use heated seats if you have them, rather than the heating system.
It also pays to condition the battery before a journey, which means only charging the battery to 80% for daily short journeys. This helps to maintain the battery performance.
Some efficiency tips are the same as diesel or petrol cars. Don’t drive with items in the boot you don’t need and remove any roof racks or boxes when you aren’t using them because it improves the aerodynamics.
A smooth driving style is not only safer but will also help maintain range. Put simply, the faster you go, the more energy you will use. Be gentle with the accelerator to go further.