Is the future electric cars?

The government, in February 2020, announced a ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars in the UK. This has been will brought forward from 2040 to 2035, at the latest. Then 9 months later they announced that the ban would be brought forward 5 years to 2030. With the COP 26 Climate change conference being held in Glasgow in November 2021 there is every reason to believe that date may change also. So if you needed anymore impetus, the time to start thinking electric is nearing! But are electric cars the future?

Hybrid vehicles are also now being included in the proposals. As a result, people will only be able to buy electric or hydrogen cars and vans, once the ban comes into effect.

The change in plans is due to analysis that the previous target date of 2040 would still leave old conventional cars on the roads following the clean-up date of 2050.

So the reality is, your next car purchase could well be an Electric vehicle. If you’re in the market this year and considering the switch to electric, you’ll soon have more choice than ever. There are secondhand  Renault Twizys available for as little as £4000 at the bottom of the market. But if you’re shopping for new wheels you’ll need to budget £27,500 for the 124-mile Mini Electric . Or £29,000 for a 186-mile Renault Zoe.  However, as of February 2020, a government grant of up to £3,500 is applied to the price of a brand new low-emissions vehicle. More specifically, the grant will pay for 35 per cent of the purchase price of the vehicle, up to a maximum of £3,500.

So are electric cars the future? And what are the factors that you will need to consider when making your choice?

How often do you drive?
If you rack up a lot of short journeys across town an electric car should suit you well. You’ll need to put some initial groundwork into learning where your local public chargers are though. And take note of what charging speeds they offer.

Electric Vehicle Charging speeds
The first thing to understand is charge rate, most commonly expressed in kilowatts. Tesla Superchargers pump out electrons at up to 250kW. Other chargers are as slow as 3kW, although these are rare. Other charge rates are branded Fast (7kW or 22kW) and Rapid (25kW, all the way up to an industry-leading 350kW).

What about longer journeys?
Here, an element of planning is required. Electric cars have charging stations plumbed into the navigation systems. So it’s relatively straightforward to include charge stops on longer journeys. Some systems, as in a Tesla, tell you exactly how many minutes to charge for at each station, and how much range you’ll have left when you arrive at your destination. They also show how many chargers are offered, and how many are currently available. We’ve put together some EV charging top tips that will give you further suggestions on how to get the best out of your EV, you can read it here.

How much does it cost to charge?
This will largely depend on make and model but as a ball-park figure, charge points at Tesco and Lidl cost 24p/KWh about £6-7 for 30 minutes of charging (about 100 miles of range). Tesla charge their customers about the same.

The cost from home then is going to be your cheapest option, modern domestic rates are around 14p/KWh. And as more people start to own electric vehicles the current availability of charging points at public places is going to reduce.

The Government is also helping in this area. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle chargepoints at domestic properties across the UK (capped at £500 inc. VAT). These schemes are bound to be updated as circumstances change so these figure are current as of November 2020. 

(For now, private chargers are installed at the side of your property, so you’re going to need off-street parking.)

UPDATE APRIL 2022 – The EVHS scheme has been withdrawn by the Government as of March 31st 2022. To see what grants are now available please see our latest blog.

What about businesses?

And if you’re a business, with a fleet of cars, the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge-points for eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations. The grant is equal to 75% of the purchase and installation costs of a chargepoint, (this is capped, please contact us for more details). To learn more about our EV charger installation services, click here

In answer to the question “Is the future electric cars?” I think the answer is – The Future Is Here…and it’s electric!