Electric Vehicle Frequently Asked Questions

Are you contemplating joining the Electric Vehicle revolution and looking to purchase an Electric Car?

If so, you’ve probably got some questions regarding safety and usage of your potential vehicle.

Having installed Electric Vehicle Chargers for both commercial and domestic users for many years now, we’ve had our fair share of questions.

So with this in mind, we’ve put together some common Electric Vehicle Frequently Asked Questions that we’ve been asked.

We’ve even included some that our customers have said they felt too embarrassed to ask but are legitimate questions none the less. there’s no such thing as a stupid question (or so my Maths teacher used to tell me!).

Click on each of the links to expand the answer:

Commercial EV Charging Points

Modern electric car batteries are run on lithium-ion batteries, similar to what you will find in your mobile phone. Unfortunately, there have been reports in the news that in the wrong conditions these can be flammable. The reality is that these instances are very few and far between. No electrical system is infallible, indeed conventional vehicles have electrical faults at the moment.

Rest assured, modern day batteries are engineered to ensure that even the chance of this is incredibly unlikely. They have to be under strict safety laws. Battery manufacturers go to extensive lengths to make sure EV batteries are safe. Electric Vehicle batteries generate heat while operating and being charged so manufacturers fit smart management systems to prevent them from overheating. So modern EV’s are designed to keep batteries cool, in fact, in some high performance Electric Vehicles liquid cooling systems are used to facilitate cooling.

Whilst any piece of equipment that uses electricity can be a potential hazard, electric vehicle manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure this risk is minimised. As most EV’s operate between 12 volts and 48 volts they are unlikely to discharge a fatal shock, it’s simply not high enough voltage. In fact, due to the safety measures put in place e.g. heavily insulated charging cables, the most you’re likely to get is a small static electric shock in the same way that you do by touching a normal vehicle.

As with a tradition vehicle you should always take care when driving through standing water. Depths of as little as 20cm deep can, if travelled through too quickly, disrupt the operation of your vehicle. Traditional vehicles have an air intake system, if this fills with water then the engine is affected and will stop. Electric Vehicles do not have this issue but they are fitted with circuit breakers, these are encased along with the battery. If the battery is submerged in water the electrical system can be disrupted and the breakers will trip. Then you’re stranded. And as the battery is at the base of the vehicle the depth doesn’t have to be large to cause this. So always take care when thinking about driving through standing or moving water.

In short, yes. All vehicles, regardless of whether they’re electric or not are put through a “soak test”. This ensures that their are no leaks that could cause water ingress (this does not include submerging the battery as when driving through deep water above but you do not face these conditions in a car wash). Feel safe in the knowledge that you can still use your favourite car wash.

It does but there are ways to mitigate this. Using your air con on maximum can reduce the range of your Electric Vehicle by as much as 15% (or 45 miles less on 300 mile range at full charge). Nowadays most electric vehicles are fitted with something called “Preconditioning”. This is a nifty feature that lets you cool down the vehicle interior before you drive off. If you’re savvy and activate this feature while your vehicle is charging overnight, not only will it be cheaper but it then wont affect your batteries range!

Absolutely, if your vehicle is fitted with a USB port then charge away. Although it will not have an enormous drain on the car battery it will be taking some of the “juice”. So in most vehicles you can enable your manufacturers version of Eco mode. This will limit the electricity available for things like device charging. As a consequence they’ll take a bit longer to charge than usual.

This is one of the Electric Vehicle Frequently Asked Questions that we get asked the most. No wonder when batteries are several thousands of pounds to replace.

The most commonly used electric vehicle battery is the lithium-ion version, similar to what you will find in your mobile phone. Any lithium-ion battery has a finite lifespan, so, as with a mobile phone a little bit of capacity is lost every time you fully charge it. This means the cars range will gradually decrease over time.

But don’t be too alarmed. The mileage you would need to complete is around 100,000 miles before you need to fork out a couple of thousand pounds on a new battery. Most owners would have traded in or come to the end of their lease period by this time.

Currently, there are only a few vehicles that are “type-approved” for towing so you really need to do your research if you intend it for this purpose. It’s all to do with how the EV’s motor and braking systems are set-up. Electric vehicles are significantly heavier than conventional vehicles, so adding the weight of a caravan or trailer may place a strain on the engine. The brakes are also different on Electric Vehicles, their regenerative braking systems are used to slow the car quickly and recapture kinetic energy which then charges the battery. This system may have an effect on what you’re towing. As a result, most EV’s are not suitable at the moment. But there are vehicles out there built for this purpose so contact a dealer or manufacturer first.

Another of those Electric Vehicle Frequently Asked Questions we get asked a lot. Like any piece of equipment with a motor or moving parts it’s always advised to get it serviced to ensure smooth, safe running. And electric vehicles are no different. Most warranties stipulate that you need to service your vehicle within the manufacturers guidelines. The good news is, as electric vehicles have significantly less parts than a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle they cost less to service. And nowadays, the electric motors used are incredibly reliable so need very little attention.

Yes, you can. But be aware that if you pass your driving test in an Electric Vehicle, they don’t have gears. As a result you will only be issued with an automatic driving licence. This means you’ll be unable to drive a geared, manual vehicle until you have retaken your test in a manual vehicle. But hopefully, you’ll be so taken with your Electric Vehicle that you wont want to go back to a manual!

All manufacturers responsibly build in safe guards and precautions to ensure that there is no possibility of you overcharging your Electric Vehicle. The same systems also prevent over-discharging and over heating.

One of the huge benefits of owning an Electric Vehicle, especially if you live in areas where there are Low Emission Zones, is that you do not need to pay congestion charges. The charges are designed to reduce emissions in an area and as your EV does not produce any emissions, you are exempt. 

No road tax is charged for Electric Vehicles. You will still need to register your EV with the DVLA but as there are no emissions you are tax exempt.

Put simply, a tethered charger has an inbuilt cable permanently connected to the unit. An untethered charger has no cable permanently attached. You will be provided a cable with most vehicles and chargers. Untethered units will need a cable to be plugged into the charger and the vehicle at each use. Some find untethered chargers more tidy. 

Yes, electric vehicles are generally cheaper to maintain. They have much fewer moving parts so there is less to replace or replace. There is no need for oil changes, no filter changes, no gaskets. It means significantly lower maintenance costs. 

A plug-in hybrid vehicle (or PHEV) works by combining a traditional petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor. This means that PHEVs can be plugged in and charged from mains power, just like EVs. But the range is much less than a pure electric vehicle so they need petrol or diesel to run for long distances.

Operating a battery regularly at nearly empty (or nearly full) can affect battery health. To limit this, manufacturers use software to ‘buffer’ the maximum and minimum charge level. Lithium-ion batteries perform best at between 20% and 80% charge. 

At the end of their useful life powering an EV, batteries have further applications for energy storage which will be increasingly useful to support the power network. There is also scope to extract the minerals and metals in the batteries and a growing recycling industry as volumes of used batteries increase.

Do you have a question that we haven’t covered in our Electric Vehicle Frequently Asked Questions section? If so please feel free to get in contact with us, we’ll be happy to get you an answer.

Recently the grants available for electric vehicles have changed. As a result we’ve put together a guide of what grants are available as of January 2024, you can read it here.