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Electric Vehicle 101: Is It Right For You?

Last week we looked at the rise of the electric vehicle, and explained the different types of charging points available throughout the UK. When electric vehicles (EVs) were first released, they appealed to a relatively small market due to lack of choice, restricted charging options, and the high cost of purchasing an EV. However, with more manufacturers making electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles, there are more options available to motorists. As a consequence, costs are coming down and, as EVs are around for longer, there will be more opportunities for people keen to go green to buy used EVs.

Over the next couple of weeks, we explore what you need to know about buying an EV, starting with the big question: should you buy an electric car?

Is an EV right for you?

There are three key bits of information that will determine whether an EV is right for you:

Do you have access to off-street parking?

The easiest and most convenient way to charge an electric vehicle is overnight, at home; in fact, 80% of EV users in the UK have access to off-street parking. Therefore, having access to a driveway, garage, or other private off-street parking is important. There are government schemes to subsidise the installation of EV charging points at home and, in some cases, on the street. If you would like to explore the possibility of installing an on-street EV charging point, contact your local authority; they will apply for funding and manage the installation if funding is granted.

Do you drive less than 150 miles a day?

Are you a regular short-distance commuter, or do you drive longer distances for work? Depending on the type of EV that you are considering, you need to have a daily mileage of under 100-150 miles a day, preferably on regular routes that you are familiar with. Most current EV drivers use their EVs for regular commutes of under ten miles.

Are you looking to buy a new or nearly new vehicle?

Because the EV market is so new, there are not really any bargains to be had when it comes to EVs. If you are looking for a cheap run around, you will need to wait a few more years. If you are on a budget, the oldest EV you are likely to find will be around 5 years old and there won’t be many available (after all, in 2013, there were only 3,500 EVs on the UK roads). Don’t worry, though, bide your time and the options for second-hand EV buyers will grow steadily. Equally, the cost for new EVs on the road will reduce as manufacturing increases and competition rises.

If you are on the lookout for an EV, check in with your local car sales- if they don’t have any at the moment, they may be able to contact you if and when they do get second hand electric vehicles.

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