Should I buy an electric car?
When buying a new car there can be lots to weigh up, and one of the main questions that leave car buyers scratching their heads in 2023 is: should I buy an electric car? This is an especially pressing thought now that the UK plan to stop selling new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to help reduce carbon emissions.
There are lots to consider, such as electric vehicle running costs, charging ports, and safety standards. In this blog, we explore the advantages and disadvantages of electric cars to help you decide.
Benefits of electric cars
The benefits of electric cars include:
- They are environmentally friendly as they don’t rely on fossil fuels, plus EVs don’t have a tailpipe which means the majority don’t emit CO2 emissions, resulting in less air pollution.
- EVs require no fuel, so you don’t have to worry about the cost of filling up.
- They are lower maintenance than conventional vehicles due to their electric motor, and they have better performance.
- EVs are designed for the future. As the petrol and diesel ban creeps up, more people are looking to buy an electric car. The UK’s electric car market is much more adaptable now than it was just a few years ago meaning as the number of electric car owners grows, so does the number of charging ports around the country.
Disadvantages of electric cars
Although there are many benefits, there are also some disadvantages of electric cars to be aware of, such as:
- A big concern for EV owners is the lack of charging ports, with many worrying about planning their journey around nearby charging stations. However, as more people begin to own electric cars, the number of charging stations will increase.
- EVs have a high initial cost, this can put a lot of people off but over the long term, EVs are cheaper to run. Although the cost of batteries has decreased in recent years, maintaining an electric car can be high due to the specialised parts and tech involved.
- EV batteries are made from lithium-ion which results in higher emissions during production compared to conventional vehicles.
- The electric car range is limited, and this is a big concern for many potential buyers, especially those doing regular long journeys. Some newer models can travel up to 300 miles on a single charge whilst other models may only go 100 miles.
EV safety standards
With technology constantly evolving, it’s natural for people to question if it’s safe.
EV safety standards are rigorous, and electric cars are required to undergo the same safety tests as other vehicles and often receive high safety ratings.
EV batteries are considered safe too. Strict safety regulations are in place to ensure that EV batteries meet rigorous safety standards, and lithium-ion batteries in electric cars are less at risk of combusting and catching fire than with conventional fuels– according to a study by the NHTSA.
What to consider when choosing an EV
The main thing to consider when buying an electric car is what you will be using it for. Do you need it for long journeys, commuting, running errands, or do you need a family car?
Ultimately, a car needs to fit your needs. It’s not enough to just say: “It’s good for the environment” or “I like the way it looks,” you need to also consider how many miles you can go on one charge, how long it takes to charge it, how much it might cost, and more.
Range and Mileage
An electric car’s range is usually 100-300 miles on a single charge, depending on the make, model and driving conditions. This is slightly shorter than conventional cars, but more cost-effective and efficient overall.
The price of the car and the size of the battery will determine the range of the vehicle. Cheaper EVs will have a lower range and those with smaller EV batteries will also have a lower range.
It’s important to check the stats of the model you decide to choose so that you can find one that best fits your lifestyle.
How will I charge it?
You can charge your car at home, work, or any public charging station. As the popularity of EVs has grown, so has the number of public charging stations available. From service stations to hotels, many public facilities have free charging stations, and Charge Map has created a tool that shows all of them around the country so you can plan your journeys accordingly.
Charging an electric car at home can be a convenient and cost-effective way to keep your vehicle powered up, and it is possible to do through a domestic three-pin plug socket you likely have in your home, but it will take much longer. It could take up to 24 hours for your vehicle to be fully charged.
Alternatively, you can install a charging station at your home. This can typically be done by an electrician and may require a permit. Charging your car through a home charging station is much faster than through a domestic three-pin plug socket. Usually, EV owners will charge their vehicles overnight to ensure they are fully charged for their day, and this is often the cheaper option as electricity tariffs tend to charge less for “off-peak” hours.
Cost of charging an electric car
Whilst some supermarkets and public car parks offer free charging, you’ll generally need to pay, particularly at service stations and rapid charging points. Usually, this costs around £6 and will give you around a 100-mile range.
The cost of charging your electric car is around £9.20 for a full charge, but this depends on the type of car, time of day, and energy rates. The slower the charger, the cheaper the cost of charging an electric car; rapid chargers will generally cost more and increase your energy bill. It is usually cheaper to charge your car overnight rather than through the day.
EV batteries are known to be costly, which leaves many drivers wondering about how often they will have to fork out to replace them.
Like any rechargeable battery, a car battery has a limited number of charges before requiring replacement. Electric cars’ range is, on average. 181 miles on a single charge, with models like the Tesla Model S offering a much higher range of 405 miles. Though the impact of repeated charging is minimal, it becomes more noticeable over time, leading to the need for battery replacement. Typically, manufacturers offer a five-to-eight-year warranty on car batteries, and modern batteries are projected to last between ten and twenty years before replacement is necessary.
Considering the availability of an eight-year warranty and an expected lifespan of over ten years, it is unlikely that you will need to pay for a replacement battery for your electric car. This is fortunate because, although prices have decreased in recent years, they can still cost up to £10,000 to replace.
How much do electric cars cost?
A new electric car could set you back around £17,000 for a lower model, to anything up to £140,000 for a top-performing model. The average price of an electric car is £50,000 in the UK.
If you haven’t got sufficient funds to buy an electric car, you can lease one instead which is becoming a popular option.
Are electric cars cheaper second-hand?
Buying an electric car second-hand could save you a lot of money, whilst also helping the environment. As the sales of new electric vehicles rise and more drivers look to make the change to electric, there will be more nearly new and used EVs on the market for sale. You can get high-spec EVs second-hand for a fraction of the original price, making second-hand buying a much more affordable way to go electric.
Leasing an electric car
Leasing an electric car means you pay a small initial fee, along with monthly payments and drive away in a new EV. This is a more cost-effective alternative for many drivers.
There are many benefits to leasing an electric car such as:
- Lower monthly payments
- Regular payments which help to budget
- Gives you access to newer models that you may not have been able to consider before leasing
- Ability to exchange the car at the end of the agreement for a newer model
- No MOT initially as new vehicles are exempt
- Service and maintenance included
- Strong battery
Electric car running costs
Electric car running costs seem high at first because of the initial cost, but this evens out over time as they have a low running cost. The main cost saver is charging the vehicle rather than filling it up with fuel. It costs around 9p a mile to run a modern electric vehicle, which is cheaper than a conventional vehicle, plus you can save further if you’re on an electricity tariff with off-peak rates.
In addition to this, a lot of EV drivers also pay no road tax until April 2025 (for vehicles under £40,000, registered after April 2017) or congestion charges and benefit from reduced maintenance costs.
So, should I switch to an EV?
There is a lot to think about when deciding whether to buy an electric car or not, but the main things to consider are; what you are using your vehicle for, is an electric vehicle within your budget, and how you will charge your EV.
If you are looking for a more environmentally friendly option, an EV could be the perfect option for you.
Top electric car FAQs:
Is it worth getting an electric car?
When it comes to deciding whether to get an electric car, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, you need to think about your driving habits. If you have a long commute or frequently take road trips, an electric car may not be the best option for you, as the range may not be sufficient to meet your needs.
However, if you primarily use your car for short trips around town, an electric car could be a well-suited choice. Additionally, you should consider the cost savings associated with electric cars. While they may have a higher upfront cost, they typically require less maintenance and have lower fuel costs over time.
Finally, it's worth considering the environmental impact. Electric cars produce zero emissions, making them a much greener choice than conventional vehicles.
How long do electric cars last?
Depending on the make and model, electric cars will last approximately 100-300 miles per charge.
EV batteries typically last around 5-10 years, with many manufacturers offering warranties on batteries.
Do electric cars lose value quickly?
All cars naturally depreciate over time as they age, rack up the miles, and worsen in condition. However, electric cars typically don’t lose their value as quickly as conventional vehicles as they require less maintenance which helps them retain their value. Also, as more people become environmentally conscious and seek out electric vehicles, demand will grow which will further maintain their resale value.
How long do EV batteries last?
One of the main questions most of us have about electric cars is about the batteries: How long do electric car batteries last?
Replacing your EV car battery shouldn’t be needed for a long time, especially as many manufacturers offer a five-to-eight-year warranty on car batteries, and modern batteries are projected to last between ten and twenty years before replacement is necessary.
What does it cost to charge an electric car?
The cost of charging an EV varies depending on the location. Certain public charging stations, like those found at supermarkets, may offer free charging. Charging an EV at home is one of the most affordable options.
What happens if you run out of charge in an electric car?
Similar to conventional vehicles running out of fuel, an electric car will simply stop if it runs out of charge. This is when you’d need to call your breakdown provider.
Do electric cars lose charge when parked?
Yes, but only by a very minimal amount, usually around 1-4% a month. However, this will depend on factors such as temperature and battery health.