Electric and plug-in cars come in all shapes and sizes with a large number of models now available. Electric vehicle technology is fast maturing and as range increases and prices come down, running one is becoming an attractive option for many drivers.
This video (narrated by Robert Llewellyn of Red Dwarf and Scrapheap Challenge fame) will guide you through the ins & outs of electric vehicles.
What models are available now?
Although electric vehicles have been available for decades, only recently have the major manufacturers invested in high quality electric models to meet the needs of the twenty-first century consumer. This has involved increasing driving range and reducing vehicle price. A new recharging infrastructure is also being rapidly developed across the UK and is growing all the time.
Models such as the Renault Zoe and All-New, award winning Nissan Leaf have helped introduce EV motoring to the public, proving that reliable cars from major manufacturers can be a viable alternative to conventionally fuelled vehicles. There are now around 125,000 plug-in vehicles on UK roads with more models being confirmed all the time.
Since 2011 the government introduced the Plug-in Grant which subsidises the purchase of eligible cars, currently up to a maximum of £3,500; for vans, the amount is up to 20% up to a maximum of £8,000.
Electric vehicles also provide much lower running costs, offering customers significant savings during the lifetime ownership of the vehicle. Potential savings compared to conventional vehicles include:
The Government recently announced it will cut BiK rates for zero-emissions vehicles down to 0% during the 2020-21 financial year, rising to just 1% in 2021-22 and 2% in 2022-23. This will apply retroactively to electric company cars already registered before the 6 April 2020 introduction date for the new rates.
For the 2019/2020 tax year, the BiK rate is set at 16%. This means that for a Nissan LEAF 40KwH N-Connecta, the BiK value for the Leaf is £4,983.20.
If you're a 20% taxpayer, you'll pay 20% of the BiK value, which equates to £996.64 per year.
Using the Nissan Leaf above as an example, company-car tax for the next
three financial years will therefore amount to £0, £62.29 and £124.58
for 20% rate taxpayers.
Three significant financial incentives significantly reduce the costs of running an electric car or van: Zero-rated car tax (Vehicle Excise Duty); Zero-rated fuel tax (electricity also only attracts 5% VAT for private use); and the Ultra Low Emission Discount Scheme (ULED) which effectively exempts EVs from paying the London Congestion Charge.
Electric cars and vans are the only vehicles exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty ('car tax'). Changes to the car tax system from April 2017 have put a greater emphasis on zero-emission electric vehicles, with nothing to pay for the First Year Rate or Standard Rate. Only EVs with a list price of £40,000 or more will be charged VED, coming under the Premium Rate rules, but these only apply for years two to six of the vehicle's registered life. Owners of electric vehicles will therefore save £140 per year compared to conventional petrol or diesel cars, and even £130 over plug-in hybrid models.
Fuel costs are also very low due to the competitive price of electricity (fuel duty is zero-rated) and to the high efficiency of the vehicles themselves – fuel costs can be as low as 2p per mile (depending on tariff). For an annual mileage of around 10,000 miles, switching from a conventional to an electric car or van could save you around £800 in fuel costs alone.
For drivers in and around London, the other major running cost to consider is the Congestion Charge. All electric cars are currently eligible for the Ultra Low Emission Discount Scheme on the London Congestion Charge, giving them a 100% discount on the Congestion Charge (although vehicles need to be registered and pay an annual £10 fee). With a standard £11.50 payable daily charge without the discount, this could provide a potential annual saving of over £2,000.
Charging at home is the cheapest and easiest way to keep your vehicle topped up. Some energy companies offer tariffs that would reward you for charging your car at off-peak times, such as overnight.
The extensive and growing UK-wide network of charging infrastructure provides coverage in many areas through subscription or pay as you go charge services. There are many chargepoint maps available that detail chargepoint locations:
Rapid chargers, which can top up a battery to 80% in 20 -30 minutes, are becoming more common and are in place at most service stations on the motorway and main road network.
Customers can also charge their vehicles at our dealerships.