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.

Purchasing & Benefits

Since 2011 the government introduced the Plug-in Grant which subsidises the purchase of eligible cars, currently up to a maximum of £4,500; 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:

  • A full charge in a pure electric vehicle will cost around £3 to £5 and will give a typical range of 100 miles. Driving 100 miles in a petrol or diesel car will cost around £11 to £16 in fuel, which is around four times the cost of the electric car. The cost savings will be greatest when owners have access to an off-peak overnight electricity tariff.
  • There are fewer mechanical components in an electric vehicle when compared with conventional vehicles, which often results in lower servicing and maintenance costs.
  • Pure EVs costing no more than £40,000 have a zero rate of Vehicle Excise Duty.
  • Plug-in cars emitting 75g/km CO2 or less are eligible for a 100% discount from the London Congestion Charge. A regular user of this zone could be saving over £2,000 a year.
  • The lower or zero emissions of plug-in vehicles means that they will attract lower charges from Clean Air Zones being implemented around the UK and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London.
  • Free parking may also be available to further encourage the uptake of electric cars in some urban areas.

Electric Vehicle Running Costs

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.

Electric Vehicle Charging

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.

The Power Of Electric