What to consider when switching to an electric vehicle
As the world continues on its path to becoming greener, there has been a big shift in how we live. Many of us are taking more consideration over our actions, whether it be reducing plastic, using more public transport or making alternative switches that are more eco-conscious. One of the bigger green decisions people are shifting toward is ownership of electric vehicles.
However, with the electric car market still new territory for a lot of car owners, there are a lot of questions about what considerations must be accounted for before making an investment. So, what do you need to know before switching to an electric vehicle? Let’s break down some of the most common queries that come up when mulling over eco-friendly vehicles.
What’s the difference between a hybrid and an electric car?
While both hybrid and fully electric models are greener choices than conventional petrol or diesel-powered vehicles, there are some key differences that make these two very different beasts. Hybrid cars gather some of their power from a conventional internal combustion engine (petrol or diesel) which means they are low-emission cars. Meanwhile, electric vehicles are fully powered by electrical sources deeming them zero-emission.
What is the car’s operating range?
Just as you would research how many miles to a gallon of petrol, you need to know how far you can go on a full charge with an electric car. This is most likely going to be important based on your planned usage. Are you intending to use the car for short trips around the city or do you plan on travelling further afield?
If you want to cover greater distances, then you need to consider where you will have access to charging stations or whether the vehicle can generate any additional top-up supply of its own. It’s worth noting you will use greater energy consumption when driving faster on motorways than lower speeds in urban areas.
How and where can I charge my electric car?
While we’ve come to rely on service stations being available fairly regularly, electric vehicle charging stations are less common. However, they are on the rise as popularity for the electric vehicle movement grows. With more than 18,000 charging points located across the UK, you can use apps such as Zap-Map to help you find one nearest to you. You can also charge directly when you’re not using your car at home to ensure it’s at max capacity for your next trip.
It’s important to note that there are several different types of charging; slow, fast and rapid. As the names suggest, these will determine how quickly you can make sure your car is full of juice. Rapid chargers are the quickest method and usually refer to DC charging, sometimes able to top up your battery within an hour depending on the model you’re driving.
Fast and slow units are the kind you’re most likely to encounter when out and about in the UK. Using apps like Zap-Map will indicate the kWh capacity of the unit, which will give you an estimate for how quickly your car will charge.
Are electric cars more economical?
While initial investments for electric cars might be higher than some of their petrol-powered counterparts, how do they rank long term? The most obvious cost saving will be the elimination of paying for petrol or diesel, which can be a huge annual cost in your budget. Some studies in the US have found that the cost of running an electric car is less than half that of petrol-based models.
Of course, you still need to factor in the cost of electricity to charge, however with electricity rates more stable than fuel prices and many energy providers offering off-peak rates, there are ways to reduce those costs too.
What maintenance is required for an electric vehicle?
Like any vehicle, there is an element of maintenance required to keep it running in tip-top shape. While spark plugs, fuel filters and oil changes are a thing of the past, you do need to ensure routine maintenance is kept up to date. This promotes a safe and healthy vehicle.
Brakes are high on the list of maintenance items for any vehicle, electric options aren’t exempt from this. The same applies to tyres. These are parts of the car that are involved with safety so they should be a top priority when it comes to keeping on top of their upkeep. These are also aspects of the vehicle that have the most wear and tear, it’s best to stick to the schedule set out by the manufacturer or engineer. Be sure to take into consideration your individual use of the vehicle too, as you would with any other.
Other key areas that require maintenance are cabin air filters, high-efficiency particulate filters, air conditioning and winter care depending on where you are based. These costs are all common among green cars as well as their fuel-powered peers.
Best electric cars in the UK
With innovative technology and a hunger for more eco-conscious options, hybrid and electric car popularity is on the rise in the UK. We’ll take a quick look at a few of the top options across the categories to give you an idea of what’s available.
The Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe are great small city-friendly electric options while the Hyundai Ioniq is a hybrid alternative. If you’re looking for something a little roomier but still ideal for urban driving, the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model X are great mid-size options. SUVs are big in the electric market with players including the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-Tron and Mercedes-Benz ECQ all top picks. If you’re after something sportier, give the Porsche Taycan a try.
It’s a personal choice
When it comes to it in the end, whether you choose a hybrid or fully-electric vehicle will come down to personal choice. There are a number of considerations that will play into your decision to switch to an eco-friendly car but in the long run, if you’re invested in finding a more green solution to driving, these are going to pique your interest.
Leasing an electric car can make things more affordable because you can pay monthly instalments instead of buying the car outright. It’s also a good way of seeing how you get on with driving an electric vehicle, without making such a big commitment.
You can explore our full range of low and zero-emission car leasing options from Rivervale to find a competitively priced eco-friendly car that will cater to your needs
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