Electric vehicles

What you need to know

The push towards electric vehicles (EVs) is growing and is likely to become more of a focus with the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to be banned by the end of 2035. We'll take you through how much they cost, how that compares to petrol and diesel cars, and everything else you need to know to help you decide if an EV is right for you now.

  1. There are two main types of electric vehicles – fully electric or plug-in hybrid

    Each have their own advantages and disadvantages, so you'll need to decide which one's right for you.

    • Fully electric vehicles. Also known as 'battery electric vehicles' (BEVs), they run only on electricity, using a rechargeable battery to power the vehicle, and as such have zero tailpipe emissions – a key factor if reducing your environmental impact is important to you.

      The range of electric vehicles can vary massively depending on the car, from anywhere between about 80 miles with the Smart EQ Fortwo, to about 350 miles with the Mercedes-Benz EQS.

      While upfront costs are generally much higher than traditional petrol, diesel or hybrid cars, running costs do tend to be lower.

    • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). These have both a rechargeable battery and a traditional petrol or diesel engine (such as the Mercedes C 300 e or the Volvo XC60 Recharge). You'll get about 10 to 50 miles on the electric battery, then the traditional engine will take over. While they'll be no tailpipe emissions for running on electric, there will of course be if you're using the petrol or diesel engine.

      They're a bit cheaper than full EVs, and you don't have to worry as much about range or access to charge points, as you always have the traditional petrol or diesel engine to fall back on. So they're a decent option if you want to go 'greener' than petrol/diesel cars, but without being fully reliant on electric. 

      If used correctly – with the electric battery topped up to cover small journeys – they can be much more efficient than traditional cars. On the flipside, if you don't keep it charged, or you regularly travel long distances, efficiency drops dramatically due to the weight of the electric battery, and can be worse than traditional cars.

    When it comes to EVs, there's lot of technical terminology to understand – to help, check out the guides from Electrix, run by insurer LV, or Pod Point, an EV charging provider.

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  2. Range is key – make sure it's enough for you

    The range of an EV – how far you can get on a full charge – or of the electric battery in hybrid cars, is likely to be the key factor when deciding whether to buy these cars.

    Electric vehicle ranges can vary massively – what you'll need depends on how you'll use it 

    When it comes to full EVs, it's important to consider what you'll be using the car for. For short trips, you'll likely be able to opt for cheaper models with lower ranges. If you regularly drive long distances, you'll likely need to look at pricier, higher-spec models.

    There's a huge choice. From small models such as the Smart EQ Fortwo, which costs about £20,000 to £25,000 new and gives about 80 miles on a single charge, to the pricey Tesla Model Y for £45,000+ that has a range of about 330 miles.

    Be aware that when you see the range quoted by manufacturers, this might not always translate to the real world – so see it as a guide. And most manufacturers recommend that you don't charge the vehicle to more than 80% capacity to maintain its battery.

    Don't overestimate your mileage and pay for a higher-spec car than you need, too. According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, the average car journey is just 7.9 miles.

    Range is still important with a plug-in hybrid

    Running out of juice isn't an issue with plug-in hybrid vehicles, as you always have the conventional engine to fall back on if the electric battery dries up. So while the electric range isn't as vital as fully electric vehicles, it's still an important consideration.

    The main downside of a plug-in hybrid is that, when you're not using the electric battery, they have poor fuel economy compared with standard petrol or diesel cars due to the extra weight of the electric battery. So if you regularly drive further than the hybrid's pure electric range, or you can't easily charge it after every journey, then a plug-in hybrid might not be the best option.

    • Top tips to maximise the range of your vehicle

      If you are worried about this, there are a few ways to extend – or make the most use of – the range of the car:

      • Drive smoothly – a lead foot and late braking can take a heavy toll on the battery. EVs accelerate faster than petrol cars, so while it can be tempting, heavy acceleration and late braking can knock miles off your charge.

      • Use 'regenerative braking' to recover the electricity from braking. Regenerative braking is a way of taking wasted energy from braking and using it to recharge the car's batteries. Regenerative braking kicks in when you lift your foot off the accelerator, slowing the car and recovering a portion of the energy lost in this process.

        EVs use this method and traditional brake pads to slow the car. Using the brake pads won't let you recover any energy, so limiting (safely) when you need to brake firmly can help extend your range.

      • In very hot or cold weather, set your preferred temperature before you set off. Air-con can be a big drain on EV batteries, but the advantage of EVs is that many let you pre-programme heating settings via a mobile app. So when it's boiling hot or freezing cold, it's best to set the car to warm or cool down to your preferred temperature before you set off, while the car is still charging.

        Do that, and the air-con doesn't have to work as hard while you're moving to keep it at your set temperature.

      • Plan the most efficient route – motorways and dual carriageways can drain your battery quicker. Most sat-navs let you find the most efficient route to your destination – and while that may mean it'll take longer to get there, you'll go further on a charge and won't have to stop for an hour or two to top up.
  3. EVs will cost you more upfront than traditional cars

    While the price of EVs has been falling, with greater demand and more models being released, you'll still pay a big premium on the car itself if you go fully electric.

    To compare, we've picked a few popular car models that have both petrol and electric versions – you may be able to get cheaper equivalent EV models of the petrol cars below, but we've chosen models that have both traditional and EV versions of the same model for ease.

    New electric vehicle prices vs petrol cars

    Model Petrol list price
    Electric list price
    Vauxhall Corsa £19,000 £32,000
    Mini Cooper £23,000 £32,550
    Volvo XC40 £35,000 £39,500
    Note: List price are the prices if you buy directly from the manufacturer. 

    To help find the right model for you, you can check the EV database. It lets you compare the features – such as price, range, make and model – of different EVs. See below for more on how to buy EVs.

    While you'll pay more upfront, research from LV, one of the largest car insurers, found that most electric cars are "cheaper on average than petrol or diesel vehicles", over a seven-year period, when factoring in purchase price, tax, insurance, fuel and maintenance costs

    • The Government is offering grants for some electric vehicles

      The Government ended the long-running plug-in car grant in June 2022, which previously gave 35% off the list price of some electric cars, up to a maximum of £1,500. 

      However, some types of low-emission vehicles are still eligible for the grant. This includes wheelchair accessible vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds. You can apply for the grant on the Gov.uk website. Depending on the type of vehicle you get, you could have up to £2,500 knocked off the purchase price.

    You can buy used EVs

    You can buy second-hand – there is a growing market for used EVs. When we looked, we found 11-year-old Nissan Leafs starting at about £5,000, compared with a starting price of about £29,000 for a new one.

    Buying a used EV is the same as buying a new one or a traditional used car. You can check dealers or other second-hand sellers, such as the AA, Auto Trader and others.

    And if the car doesn't come with its original charging cable, you should buy one from a reputable seller or directly from the manufacturer, to ensure it meets UK safety standards. 

    Online third-party websites aren't legally obliged to check the safety of the products they sell in the same way as high street retailers, so it can be easy for these sellers to offer sub-standard products, which could be potentially dangerous. So make sure you do your research about what is the right charging cable for your EV and where is the best place to get one.

  4. It's much cheaper, and easier, if you can charge your vehicle at home

    If you're thinking of buying an EV, the key thing you'll need to consider is how to charge it. Charging your EV can take hours – a small car with a 40 kilowatt-hour battery can take anywhere between an hour and 11 hours for a full charge, depending on the speed of the charge point.

    That means if you don't have a driveway or garage, or somewhere to install a home charge point – letting you charge the car while it's parked outside your home – then owning an EV is likely to be tricky for now, though the public charging network is continuing to grow.

    While there are 10,000s of public charge points (see below for where you can charge away from the home), they are more expensive than home charging, and it could be tough to find one close-by. The cost to charge your car at home can be as low 7p per kilowatt hour compared to up to about 70p per kilowatt hour using a public rapid charge point.

    What's more, you'll be vying for the space with other EV owners in the area (and sometimes inconsiderate traditional car owners who use it just as a parking space).

    There are special energy tariffs for charging your car at home 

    In recent years, many energy providers have offered special tariffs aimed specifically at EV owners. Generally, these tariffs work by charging you one rate for your electricity during the day, for all your normal use, then charging you a much cheaper rate overnight. This lets you charge the car for cheap while you sleep. 

    If you also have solar panels, you can charge your EV with the electricity you generate, plus get paid for any electricity you don't use. See our Solar panels guide and our Electric vehicle tariffs guide for full info on how these tariffs work and what's currently available.

    How much will charging at home cost me?

    It all depends on the size of your car's battery, how often you use it, the energy tariff you're on and how much you use public charge points. But as an example, charging a Nissan Leaf from empty to full once a week (which would give you about 160 miles) would cost about £140 a year on the cheapest EV tariff.

    To compare specific models, Pod Point has a journey cost calculator that lets you compare individual petrol or diesel cars against electric cars, based on the price you pay for petrol and how much you pay for electricity.

    • It's best to get a dedicated home charger rather than using a normal plug

      It's not recommended to use a standard household three-pin socket to charge an EV as it's incredibly inefficient and there are safety issues. Charging a typical 40 kilowatt-hour EV battery could take as long as 17 hours.

      If you do need to though, the charity Electrical Safety First have some safety tips:

      • Don't use a domestic multi-socket extension lead. Only ever use one suitable for outdoor use.

      • Don't plug more than one extension lead into another for greater distance. It increases the risk of an electric fire and electric shock.

      • Always buy the charging cable from a reputable seller or from the manufacturer. To ensure it meets UK safety standards.
    • There's help available to cut the cost of installing a charge point at home – but only if you live in flats or rented accommodation

      Installing a dedicated home EV charger can cost about £500 to £1,000, but some can get them for far less. Under the Government's EV chargepoint grant, it will pay as much as 75% towards the cost of a charge point, up to a maximum of £350 (including VAT).

      To get it, you'll need an installer that's approved under the grant – and they'll simply apply on your behalf. You can find an approved installer on the Gov.uk website. Alternatively, you can ask your landlord to apply on your behalf.

      The scheme is available to homeowners or anyone who lives in rented accommodation, but you must have access to adequate street parking.

    • New homes and buildings are now required to have EV charge points

      To support electric vehicles, the Government announced that from 2022, all new homes with off-street parking and some commercial buildings will be required by law to install EV charge points.

      The rules include buildings such as supermarkets and office blocks, and includes buildings that will be renovated and have more than 10 parking spaces, as well as new homes.

      According to the Government, this should lead to an extra 145,000 new charging points each year.

    • What is a smart charger and what are the benefits?

      From July 2022, all new charge points installed in UK private homes and workplaces must have smart functionality. 

      Smart chargers can collect data to work out the best time to charge your vehicle, or let you schedule when you want it to start charging via an app that connects to your charger. This allows you to take advantage of EV tariffs that offer cheaper electricity rates overnight.

  5. There are almost 60,000 public charge points, with around 2,400 free ones – how to find your nearest

    The UK EV charging infrastructure is growing fast, with about 32,000 locations across the UK, offering 59,590 EV charge points that allow more than 90,000 EVs to be charged at once – with more being added all the time.

    There can be huge differences in how many charge points are available depending on where you live. For example, in central London, within a mile of MSE Towers there are about 20 separate places to charge an EV. In more suburban areas, there could be just one or two – while in more rural areas you may struggle to find any.

    The easiest way to find the closest public charge point to you that we could find is provided by a company called Zap-Map. It claims to have mapped over 95% of public charge points, and says it can show live availability for about 70% of them. You can simply enter a postcode, town or city to find nearby chargers, and it will even let you do a route planner to check charge points on your journey. (Know a better way? Let us know.)

    Free charge points are mostly found in public car parks

    According to Zap-Map, there are about 2,400 free charge points in the UK. To find them, it allows you to filter by payment method, including free-to-use ones. You can find some free EV charge points at supermarkets and car parks, but most now charge.

    Sainsbury's, Aldi and Asda are the last big supermarkets to offer complimentary charging – but only at some of their stores. To find Sainsbury's free charging points, use its store locator, go to the 'Customer facilities' tab and apply the 'Electric Vehicle Charging Point' filter. 

    Most free chargers are 'fast' seven-kilowatt (kW) connections – so if you're shopping for an hour or so you'd get about £2 worth of free juice for your car, or about 30 miles. 

    Other free charge points can be found at a range of locations, including public and retail car parks, car dealership forecourts, and at hotels and B&Bs, among others. 

    Always check you won't be charged before using a free charging point – some retailers that previously offered free charging, including Ikea, Lidl and Tesco, now charge a fee.

    EV charge points are operated by different networks – so prices vary and you may need lots of different mobile apps

    There are more than 30 different networks that own and operate charge points in the UK, and for some, you can't just park up, charge and pay. 

    Some may require you to download a mobile app, while a small number require an RFID card (radio-frequency identification), so you may need a plethora of different apps, and will need to register your details with a number of different firms. Also, bear in mind, for most public charge points you'll need to use your own cable.

    Public charging can be more than triple the cost of home charging, when looking at the rate you pay for each unit of electricity – at 24.5p per kilowatt hour (p/kWh) on average at home, under the Price Cap from 1 April, or as high as 85p/kWh on public chargers.

    How much you pay depends mainly on the type of charger – whether it's a 'fast', 'rapid' or 'ultra rapid' charger –– the faster the charger, the more you'll pay. Also watch out for upfront fees that some also charge just to access their networks. All charging points must clearly display the maximum price (in pence per kilowatt hour) of a charging session, including any connection or other fees.

    But prices can vary massively between networks, so always remember to check before you plug in – they all provide online maps to help you find the right one. Some of the main networks in the UK include: 

    • BP Pulse has more than 8,750 charge points. You don't need to register to access its network and can pay via contactless bank card at its charge points. However, it does offer a subscription and free membership scheme on its website and through its app, which gives access to lower rates and free charge points. See pricing info on the BP Pulse website.

    • Connected Kerb has 5,500 charge points and currently charges £0.50 per kWh, but prices may differ in private car parks. Always check on the app for actual pricing at your location.

    • Pod Point offers about 9,200 public charging bays. You can pay by card or download its app and top up your Pod Point account. Its pricing varies: some points are free, while others are charged on a per-kWh or per-hour basis. You can use its charge point finder to find pricing for specific locations. 

    • Ubitricity has more than 8,000 charge points around London and the South East, which are integrated into lamp-posts. To access its network, you'll need to scan a QR code or download the Shell Recharge app. It charges a 35p connection fee and then 46p/kWh between 7pm and 4pm (standard), or 79p/kWh between 4pm and 7pm (peak). Some charge points have one flat rate of 53p/kWh.

    • ChargePlace Scotland is owned by the Scottish Government and has more than 2,600 charge points in Scotland. You can access its network via an app, online or with a card (which costs £10). It offers free charge points or chargers on a per-kWh basis. You can use its live map to check pricing at specific locations.

    • Source London has over 2,500 charge points across the Greater London area. Its pricing varies depending on if you're a member or if you use contactless payments

    All new charge points should offer contactless payment

    While some of the big networks, and a number of others, still require you to use an app, have an account or scan a code, the Government now requires all new chargers to accept contactless payments, so it should become easier to park up and charge in future.

    • What's the difference between slow, fast and rapid chargers?

      The time it takes to charge your car on public charge points depends on the type of charger you use – these are generally grouped into four categories:

      • Slow chargers (three to five kW). Takes about 11 hours to charge a 40kWh battery from empty to full.

      • Fast chargers (seven to 22kW). Takes about six hours to charge a 40kWh battery from empty to full.

      • Rapid chargers (25 to 99kW). Takes about an hour to charge a 40kWh battery.

      • Ultra-rapid chargers (100kW+). Not all cars can use these fully (you should be able to plug yours in, but you'd only get the maximum amount your car can handle). Charging times are under an hour, typically about 20-40 minutes.

      Fast charges are the most common by far, but more and more of all types of chargers are being installed every year.

  6. Driving costs for EVs are generally much lower than traditional cars, as electricity is cheaper than petrol/diesel

    While the upfront costs of an electric vehicle are more than an equivalent petrol or diesel car, the cost of getting from A to B will be lower. That's because electricity is still much cheaper than petrol or diesel, despite the energy crisis.

    As an example, charging a Nissan Leaf from empty to full at home once a week for a year – which will get you about 8,000 miles – would cost about £500 on a standard energy tariff under the current Energy Price Cap. Using petrol, the same mileage would cost you well over £1,000. 

    That's assuming you only charge the car at home. If you use paid public charge points, your costs will be higher. Even so, you'll still likely save £100s a year against buying traditional fuel. And of course, if you had a cheaper tariff, your costs for charging would be less.

    Research from Compare The Market in 2024 also found that the average cost of driving an EV is £1,195 a year, compared with £1,720 for a petrol car – including the costs of insurance, MOT, fuel and tax. We've more on maintenance and service costs and car tax below.

  7. You'll still need to service your EV regularly, and get an MOT as normal

    EVs need to be serviced and will need an MOT at the same intervals as conventional petrol and diesel cars. For servicing, you should check your car manual to see your manufacturer's recommendations.

    Servicing should be quicker than with petrol or diesel cars, with less to check and generally less to repair. However, it might be slightly harder and more expensive to get these cars serviced in the short term, as mechanics may not be as familiar with EVs just yet, but long term, as the cars become more widespread and knowledge of them grows, this shouldn't be an issue.

    You'll also need an MOT. The rules for EVs are exactly the same as those for petrol and diesel cars – so you'll need an annual MOT once the car is more than three years old. It shouldn't cost you any more though, as the maximum amount MOT test stations can charge is capped at £54.85.

  8. EVs have fewer moving parts, so there's less to go wrong – but when it does, it can be pricey

    Conventional petrol and diesel engines have hundreds of moving parts, and that means there's a lot that could potentially go wrong over the car's lifetime. In comparison, EVs have only a handful – which should mean lower maintenance costs overall.

    Car data experts KeeResources (owned by Auto Trader) found that EV maintenance costs are 30% less than petrol vehicles over the life of the vehicle, on average.

    However, EVs do have some very complex electrical components which, if they do go wrong, could be expensive to repair.

  9. EV owners are exempt from paying car tax – but only until 2025

    Another benefit of EVs is that they are totally exempt from road tax, or vehicle excise duty – although this will end in April 2025. Currently, this can easily save you well over £100 a year compared with traditional petrol and diesel vehicles, depending on carbon dioxide emissions (the higher the emissions, the more you pay).

    However, while EVs are zero-rated for vehicle tax, it's important to note that you MUST still tax your vehicle, even though you won't actually pay anything.

    For plug-in hybrids, it's likely you'll pay some car tax – though usually at a reduced rate compared with traditional vehicles. Depending on the emissions of the car and its age, you could expect to pay up to £180 a year. Hybrids are also liable to pay the 'expensive-car tax' –  £410 a year for five years if your car cost £40,000 or more when new (if registered after 1 April 2017). To check, the Government has a calculator for car tax for new cars and used cars.

    • How will electric vehicles be taxed from April 2025?

      From April 2025, owners of electric cars registered between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2025 will pay £190 a year. For those who have an electric car registered before 31 March 2017, you'll pay just £20 a year (based on 2024/25 rates).

      For new cars registered on or after 1 April 2025, an 'expensive-car tax' is also charged on all vehicles worth £40,000 or more. You'll need to pay this - £410 a year – on top of the standard car tax for five years starting from the second year the vehicle is taxed. Fully electric vehicles with zero emissions are exempt from this until April 2025, but you may need to pay this with a new, higher-end plug-in hybrid.

      EV car tax rates based on the date your car was first registered

        April 2024 April 2025 April 2026
      April 2027
      April 2028
      April 2029
      April 2030
      April 2031
      First registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017 £0 £20 £20 £20 £20 £20 £20 £20
      First registered  between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2025 £0 £190 £190 £190 £190 £190 £190 £190
      First registered on or after 1 April 2025 and worth less than £40,000 £0 £10 £190 £190 £190 £190 £190 £190
      First registered on or after 1 April 2025 and worth £40,000 or more (1) £0 £10 £600 £600 £600 £600 £600 £190

      Costs based on current rates. These may change in future years. (1) The Expensive Car Supplement is £410 for 2024/25 and applies to cars with a list price exceeding £40,000. It's paid for five years, from year two to year six.

  10. While the cost of insuring EVs has come down in recent years, it can still be more expensive to insure one

    As EVs have become more mainstream, the cost to insure one has come down. Yet as EVs generally cost more to buy, the higher value makes for higher insurance premiums. Plus, repairs typically need to be done by specialist mechanics, which can cost more.

    According to Admiral, the average cost of insuring a new EV in 2023 was £1,175 a year - 7% more than the average of all other car types.

    But insurance prices vary massively depending on how much of a risk insurers perceive you to be, the car you're insuring and the type of policy you want. What's more, the cost of car insurance is at its highest since records began in 2012 - meaning whatever car you drive, insurance quotes have skyrocketed in recent months. See our Cheap car insurance guide for full info.

  11. If you have an EV, you may be able to get free or cheap parking

    What's on offer can vary wildly depending on the local council in your area, with some offering free parking permits for multiple cars, provided they meet certain tailpipe emissions standards, while others have no parking incentives for EV owners at all. To check, it's best to look at your council's website.

    You also usually get 'free' parking when using a public charge point, meaning you often don't have to pay an additional fee, on top of the actual charging costs, for using the space. Generally, this is only the case in places such as supermarkets and car parks – if you're parking on the street, you likely will have to pay parking charges on top. Again, the rules vary massively from location to location, so always check.

  12. EVs are exempt from low emission and clean air zone charges

    A small number of regions in the UK operate, or will soon be introducing, a low emissions or clean air zones. These schemes charge the worst polluting vehicles a set amount each day to drive within the zone. The idea is reduce emissions in cities, while also encouraging people to opt for a less polluting vehicle.

    With zero tailpipe emissions, EVs are fully exempt from paying the London ultra-low emission zone and the Birmingham and Bristol clean air zone charges. Hybrids are also almost certainly exempt from the charge as well, although some older diesel models might not pass the emissions standards, so do check before driving in LondonBirminghamBristol or Oxford.

    • How do clean and low emission zone schemes work?

      There are now four schemes in operation that affect private cars (most are aimed at commercial vehicles and taxis):

      • London's ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ). London's ULEZ operates every day (except Christmas Day), charging non-exempt vehicles a flat day rate of £12.50 to drive within the zone. To avoid the charge, petrol cars must meet certain Euro emissions standards – known as Euro 4 for petrol cars (most cars registered after 2005) and Euro 6 for diesel (most cars registered after 2015). If you fail to pay the charge by midnight on the third day after entering the clean air zone, you'll be issued a £180 fine (reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days).

      • Birmingham clean air zone. Birmingham's operates every day, charging non-exempt vehicles a flat day rate of £8 to drive within the zone. To avoid the charge, petrol cars must meet certain Euro emissions standards – known as Euro 4 for petrol cars (most cars registered after 2005) and Euro 6 for diesel (most cars registered after 2015). However, those that live within zone can get an exemption. If you fail to pay the charge within six days of entering the clean air zone, you'll be issued a £120 fine (reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days).

      • Bristol clean air zone. Bristol's operates in exactly the same way as the Birmingham clean air zone, except the daily charge to drive within the zone is £9. And as with other similar schemes, residents can get an exemption. If you fail to pay the charge within six days of entering the clean air zone, you'll be issued a £120 fine (reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days).

      • Oxford zero emission zone. Oxford has been trialling a zero emission zone (ZEZ) since February 2022, which covers nine streets in the city centre. For any vehicle that emits more than 0g/km CO2 within these roads will have to pay up to £10 a day (charges vary depending on emissions). The charges apply from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week, all year round. Blue Badge holders, residents and businesses in the zone, as well as some others, can apply for a discount. If you fail to pay the charge within six days of entering the clean air zone, you'll be issued a £60 fine (reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days).

      There are more clean and low emissions zone schemes coming soon – and EVs are exempt

      More of these types of schemes are set to be launched over the next year – many of these will apply to private cars, and of course, similar to the schemes above, EVs and virtually all hybrids will be exempt:

      • Low emissions zones (LEZs) in Scotland. LEZs officially launched in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow in May 2022, but there's a grace period, meaning no fines will be issued in Aberdeen or Edinburgh before 1 June 2024 or before 30 May 2024 in Dundee. In Glasgow, the LEZ came into force for all vehicles from 1 June 2023. For residents within the zone, you can apply for a grace period until 31 May 2024.

        Unlike the schemes above, there's no flat day rate – once the scheme starts, all vehicles must meet the required standard or face penalty charges starting at £60 (£30 if paid within 14 days). Emissions standards are the same as London ULEZ and the Birmingham and Bristol clean air zones.
  13. You can buy EVs the same way as traditional petrol and diesel cars

    New EVs can be bought in exactly the same way as conventional petrol and diesel cars – via dealerships or leased through leasing companies.

    If you're confused about which vehicle to go for, the Energy Saving Trust has a handy EV comparison tool that lets you check prices and specifications of all makes and models of full electric and plug-in hybrids.

    Used EVs can also be bought the same way as conventional cars, such as at franchised and independent dealers. If you're buying a used EV, look for a retailer certified by the Electric Vehicle Approved scheme.

    This scheme allows individual locations to certify their knowledge of EVs. It's operated by the National Franchised Dealers' Association, and is approved by the Energy Saving Trust and the Government's Office for Zero Emission Vehicles.

    See our car finance guides to help you find the best way to buy your new car.

  14. All new EVs come with long warranties on the battery – but the length varies

    Like most new cars, EVs will come with a three-year warranty on the car itself, but you'll also get a long warranty on the battery. The battery warranty guarantees that the battery will have a certain percentage of its 'as-new' capacity, usually around 70-80%, after a certain number of years – typically about eight years.

    While all batteries degrade over time, the battery warranty does protect against a massive failure or drop in the performance of the battery – which can seriously limit the range of the car.

    If your battery does fall below the performance standards in the warranty, the manufacturer will repair or replace the battery. If your battery needs replacing outside of the warranty it will be expensive, with the cost likely to be in the £1,000s.

    • Avoid charging to 100% or letting the battery drop to 0% to extend the life of the battery

      To help preserve your battery in the long run, it's generally recommended to avoid repeatedly fully draining the battery and then charging the car to 100%. This cycle of draining and fully charging can lead the battery to degrade quicker, reducing your range.

      Manufacturers generally recommend charging to only 80% and never letting the range drop to zero miles (or ideally not going much below 20%). 

      It's also worth mentioning that frequent rapid charging can cause the battery to degrade quicker over time, as these connections make the battery much hotter than fast or slow charging.

      Some newer batteries in certain Tesla and BYD models don't require you to do this, and are fine being charged to 100%. So make sure you check with your car manufacturer what's the best way to look after your EV battery.

    • On some older EV models, your battery is leased

      On some models of EVs you had the option to buy the whole car, including battery, or lease the battery and buy the rest of the car. Battery leasing was popular in the early days of EVs, when there were concerns about how long the batteries would last and the cost of replacing them.

      With battery leasing, you'd pay slightly less upfront, then about £50 to £100 a month to the manufacturer, which would continue to own the battery and would replace it if it failed.

      The concerns about batteries proved to be relatively unfounded, as they tend to last about 10 to 20 years, or about 200,000 miles, before they need to be replaced. As a result, most manufacturers dropped battery leasing as an option.

      That means battery leasing is usually only an issue if you bought an EV early on, or if you're buying second-hand.

    • If your warranty has ended or you're buying second-hand, you can get an extended warranty

      Extended warranties – also known as aftermarket warranties, bought from third-party providers – are a fairly new thing for EVs, at least ones that will cover the battery as well. These warranties, which will cover the cost of expensive parts in case of a technical failure, have only really been available for EVs in the last few years, but some providers – such as Warrantywise and MotorEasy – will now cover EVs and their batteries.

      The extent of the cover is often dependent on a vehicle check, and what you pay will depend on age, mileage and type of car.

  15. How 'green' EVs truly are is hotly debated

    The push towards EVs is all down to the Government's carbon emissions targets, and with EV's producing zero tailpipe emissions, encouraging people to make the switch is a key part of its carbon-cutting strategy.

    Yet the 'greenness' of EVs has been hotly debated – as some have raised concerns that the energy and raw materials used to manufacture them, and how the electricity used to charge them is produced, can limit their overall effectiveness in cutting emissions.

    This guide isn't about these issues, but it is one to be aware of if these issues are important to you.

  16. Need more info? There's lots more help available

    If you're still on the fence about whether to take the plunge with an electric vehicle, or you've recently bought one and need help navigating the new world of EV charging and ownership, there's plenty more advice out there.

    You can try organisations such as EVA EnglandEVA Scotland or EVA Northern Ireland. These are 'community interest companies', set up by EV drivers aiming to provide advice and support to new and prospective owners. 

    You can also try the major motoring organisations and car insurers, such as LV, The AA and RAC, which also publish huge amounts of information about EVs and EV ownership.

    The Energy Saving Trust also has plenty of information online, as well as a comprehensive guide on EV charging best practices.

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