Let's start with the basics so we are all on the same page. Below are some of the acronyms and meanings you will hear in the EV world:
1. Electrical Vehicle (EV or BEV) - A car that runs solely on battery power and has no internal combustion engine (ICE). It is also known as Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).
2. Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) - A car that uses a traditional combustion engine with Petrol or Diesel as its main fuel source.
3. Hybrid - A car that has both a battery pack and an internal combustion engine that work in harmony to be more fuel efficient.
4. Plug in Electric Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) - A car that has both battery and internal combustion, in this case the car will run a number of miles on electric before the engine takes over, this can dramatically improve the efficiency of the car depending on the profile of the driver.
5. Range Anxiety - This is where drivers worry whether their car will reach their destination or to the next charge point before the car runs out of battery power.
6. WLTP - This stands for Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure. This replaces the NEDC tests which originated in the 80's and is a representation of real world driving data to assign official fuel consumption data and CO2 emissions.
7. Regenerative Breaking - This is where the energy from braking is put back into the batteries to allow them to last longer on a journey. Most of the newer EV cars have this as standard now,
8. State of Charge (SOC) - This represents the capacity of the EV's battery life, the closer to 100% the better, to maintain a high SOC there are number of things you can do to preserve the life of the battery.
9. State of Health (SOH) - Same definition as above, used interchangeably.
10. Frunk - 'Front Trunk', often used to describe the space at the front of an EV where the engine would normally be kept and provide additional luggage space.
This is an area that is specific to you (and your family), asking and answering questions like:
There are a number of areas to consider before buying an EV, once you have considered these you will be in a much stronger position to know which EV will suit your needs and you will be able to target those particular dealers.
Eligibility for Government Grants
To be eligible for a government grant there are some conditions to be met, these are usually straightforward and nearly all dealerships will apply for the grant on your behalf saving you paperwork and providing the discount up front when you purchase the vehicle.
The following conditions apply:
The link below provides an updated list of eligible EV's from the government website:
Please note that Plug in Electrics no longer qualify for the government grants.
There are a few options to owning an EV much in the same way you would an ICE car:
There are only a handful of insurers that specialise in EV cars and we suspect this is why the premiums are higher. The few companies that we found were 'easiest' to insure with are:
Home Charge Points
There are a number of charge points to choose from now, and as you might suspect they all do pretty much the same thing, however there are a couple of points to consider:
Some of the basics with understanding your EV if and when you decide to take the plunge are covered below.
Changing from ICE to EV has its differences and there is a certain culture change that takes a little getting used to.
Driving an EV in most cases (and especially with the newer models) are generally a smoother, quicker and more stable drive (usually to do with the weight of the batteries providing a lower centre of gravity). Acceleration is smooth and instant.
Regenerative braking means that you don't use the brake pedal as much, and brake pads will tend to last significantly longer than an ICE vehicle. Regenerative braking works by taking the energy from the braking and feeding it back into the batteries to allow them to provide the car more range.
Nearly everything is electronic, the dashboard, all your messages and software updates over the air!
Charging your EV is different from an ICE car, traditionally you would fill up an ICE car with a full tank of petrol/diesel and off you go. With an EV you charge up (to around 80%) and keep the EV topped up where possible, it is important to never let the battery run flat and aim to keep 20% battery capacity at all times (this extends the life of the batteries).
EVs are cheaper on energy cost, your typical EV car will cost around 4p a mile (based on 15pKW/h energy price) vs around 15-20p a miles, this figure can vary wildly based on whether the ICE is diesel or petrol and what engine size, age etc etc.
General maintenance costs of EVs are also cheaper, this is due to the fact that there are fewer moving parts and hence less that can go wrong in an EV car vs an ICE car.
Daily maintenance of your EV is significantly less than an ICE car, especially an older one. Apart from checking the air in your tyres and keeping an eye on the messages you receive from the dashboard there is little to do. That said to keep the weight down on a car, most EV's do not come with a spare tyre and if you are unfortunate to get a flat tyre it is always worth carrying a Manual Car foot pump or an Electric foot pump for emergencies .
In the long term the maintenance of your EV is governed by your manufacturer and potentially by its warranty. For example the Tesla Model 3 has 50,000 mile or 4 year warranty and stipulate that if you don't need to see them, then there is no reason to service your car. Bear in mind the car has mini services by having 'updates' applied monthly (on average). These updates provide some of the latest features available.
Getting to Know your EV