Electric vehicles (EVs) have long been tipped as the future of the automotive industry, providing a greener and cheaper alternative to traditional petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. With more British road users gaining access to EVs than ever before (whether it be through leasing, buying or shared ownership schemes), what are the main pros and cons of using an electric car, and is the UK really ready for the big electric switch?
Main concerns about electric cars
As the technology is still in its infancy, the EV model is far from perfect. There have been various recalls related to serious issues such as loose wheels and faulty batteries, while police in the UK have deemed current EVs as unfit choices for service cars. Another problem is that many mechanics are unfamiliar with the new vehicle systems, which could lead to unwelcome complications if your EV requires a trip to the garage. Depending on your circumstances and the provider you choose, you could also face higher car insurance and motor trade insurance costs for EVs.
Cost-effective – With rapidly rising fuel and energy costs affecting drivers in the UK, electric vehicles are generally considered a cheaper alternative to keep on the roads – the average cost of filling a 47-litre family hatchback stands at £85 for petrol and £88 for diesel, while EV charging costs for equivalent mileage stands at approximately £41, less than half the price. EV drivers can combat rising energy costs by making use of overnight electricity rates at home and avoiding public charging points – home-charging costs remain approximately 46% cheaper than charging in public.
Zero emissions – Perhaps the most obvious advantage of EV use is the fact that electric cars do not produce waste, running on a ‘closed loop’ system that utilises the battery for power without giving off any harmful emissions. This is considered as healthier and more environmentally friendly than traditional petrol and diesel engines.
Schemes and incentives – Despite the fact that full-EVs and hybrid cars are considerably more expensive to buy than their petrol counterparts, there are plenty of buying incentives and shared ownership schemes to make use of if you want to access a vehicle. You could even secure an interest-free loan for your EV.
Free road tax – While EV insurance may generally be more costly, EVs purchased in the UK for less than £40,000 qualify for free road tax. This could also save you a considerable sum in the long run.
Expensive to purchase – As outlined above, EVs can be much more expensive to buy than traditional cars, unless you’re part of a scheme or buying incentive.
Battery life & charging – Many drivers making the switch to EVs may struggle to get used to charging their vehicle regularly and make the most of their battery life. EV batteries generally have a capacity of 150-200 miles, so new drivers may have to be strategic with their charging regimes to avoid getting caught out on the road.