Nowadays, many green-minded drivers are making the switch from fossil fuel-powered cars to electric vehicles (EVs). It’s not only those who are concerned about the environment that are seeing the benefits overall, despite being initially pricier, EVs are much cheaper to run and maintain in the long term. If you’re one of the many people thinking of buying an EV, for whatever reason, it is important to know what you’re getting into.
In many ways, owning an EV is similar to owning a fuel-powered vehicle. The look and feel of an EV is similar to any other car, though if you’re used to driving manual vehicles, it might take a little getting used to an EV which is automatic as standard.
EVs also need yearly MOTs once they are three years old but will not be assessed on their emissions. The biggest difference you’ll see is the charging itself; getting a charge point installed is highly recommended and the simple quietness of the driving experience.
Understand Your Own Needs
Your needs as a driver should be first and foremost in your mind when looking to buy an EV, or any vehicle, for that matter. With remote work increasingly commonplace, many households that previously owned multiple cars for commuting are now getting rid of additional cars; they simply aren’t needed any more.
You’ll need to understand how often you use your vehicle and the most common distances you travel when deciding whether to get a budget, midrange, or high-end EV, as each will have its own specs for range and charging capabilities. Consider keeping a diary of the journeys to take, how far you go and how often you do them. You can use this to determine the range to look for when you’re buying your EV.
Consider The Different Brands And Models
There are so many makes, models and brands to consider when choosing an EV and each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is worth putting the time into researching which could be the perfect fit.
Almost all car manufacturers have at least one EV or hybrid vehicle on offer, with many others being developed every day. You should research which EVs and brands are the most cost-effective long-term and have the greatest reliability so you can ensure your vehicle will be beneficial for years to come.
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Check If You Can Use Government Grants
The UK government is currently offering grants to new EV owners, helping with the cost of purchasing a vehicle and installing charging points. It is worth looking into these grants to see if they can help you save money on your purchase; not all makes, and models are included, so you may want to factor this into your considerations when choosing an EV.
Install A Home Charge Point
If you’re buying an EV, you’ll need somewhere to charge it up fully. As we’ll discuss below, you can often charge your car on the go, but for full charges, you may need to charge overnight to get your full range. Installing a home charging point is a good idea and you can use a three-point plug to charge your EV, but this is not the most efficient option.
Know Your Charging Times
One of the causes of anxiety for new EV owners is the range they can expect and how long it will take for their vehicle to charge up to its full range. This will naturally differ depending on a range of factors, including:
- The age of the vehicle
- The vehicle’s make and model
- How you’re charging the vehicle
Most EVs will charge fully overnight, meaning you can plug in your car at home after work and wake up to a full range in the morning.
If you’re charging on the go, you can normally get anywhere from 10% to 50% depending on the type of charging point you’re using and the time it spends charging. You can learn more about public charging for electric vehicles from this excellent explainer by LV ElectriX, who are industry leaders in helping drivers find the right lease for their new EV.
Learn Where You Can Charge Locally
There are plenty of places you can charge up your new EV while on the go including:
- Motorway services
- Public car parks
In some cases, on-the-go charging is free, a definite win for the cost-conscious EV driver. Before buying your new EV, you should do some research to find out where and when you can charge your car on the go. This can be invaluable for ensuring you get the best possible range, keeping you on the road for longer.
Choose A Quality Battery Warranty
Most new EVs come with a warranty on the battery, giving drivers and owners much-needed peace of mind. In most cases, battery failure can completely write off your EV, so knowing you’re protected should this occur can be truly invaluable.
You should check with the manufacturer about what level of warranty is provided, these normally apply to the vehicle itself and should transfer if you buy a second-hand EV. They’ll commonly last for eight to 10 years, but you can also invest in longer warranties if you wish.
Get The Right Insurance
Car insurance for EVs works in much the same way as car insurance for fuel-powered vehicles. The main difference is that EV insurance will normally require a level of personal liability insurance, which can cover any injuries caused while the car is charging; normally, this means coverage if someone trips or falls over the charging cable while your vehicle is on charge.
You can also find EV insurance that protects you should something go wrong with the battery, but this is not an industry standard.
Enjoy Powerful Acceleration
The accelerating power of an EV is unparalleled; even the most modest of models can go from 0 to 60 in mere seconds. This can take some getting used to, but the benefits for drive quality are well worth it. You won’t find EVs that have manual transmissions due to the differences in how the engines are put together, which will further improve the quality of the ride you’ll enjoy.
Take A Test Drive
Given the differences in acceleration and the sound of driving, it is a good idea to take a few different models for a test drive before you decide which to invest in. Test driving allows you to get a feel for EVs and their differences, though these may be fewer than you might think.
Get in touch with an EV dealer to discuss your options and try out a few different vehicles within your price range. The quiet ride might feel strange at first, but you won’t want to go back; not only is it better for your ears, but you’ll also find a significant improvement in sound quality for listening to music.
An EV can be a great investment for any driver, with restrictions on the manufacture and purchasing of fuel-powered vehicles set to become law in the future, it is a good idea to get ahead of the curve. It might feel a little daunting at first, getting used to how an EV behaves and needs to be maintained.
Many new EV drivers have anxiety about the range of their vehicles, but, like any change, you’ll get used to it with time. Just be sure to do your homework before you buy, so you can prepare and ensure that the switch to an EV goes smoothly, you won’t regret it!