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Would You Save Money with an Electric Car?

When electric cars first appeared in the news, they were the butt of endless jokes. ‘Who’s going to drive around with a plug trailing behind them?’ was more or less the gist of the crack.

Now the brains behind them are having the last laugh. Following a bit of a shaky start, electric cars are becoming an attractive option for many drivers. But what are the benefits, and would you save money by investing in one?

Here we look at what’s watt

Shape of things to come

If you’re imagining something straight out of a Scalextric set, think again. Electric and plug-in cars come in all shapes and sizes and some, quite rightly, deserve the prefix of ‘Super.’ Check out Tesla if you’re in any doubt and prepare to drool a little bit.

Socket to them

There are essentially three kinds of electric cars:

  •      Battery Electric EV (affectionately referred to as BEV), a vehicle powered solely by a battery charged from mains electricity.
  •      Plug-in Hybrid EV (less affectionately referred to as PHEV), which has a plug-in battery and internal combustion engine powered by petrol or diesel.
  •      Extended Range EV (known as E-REV), a version of a plug-in hybrid with a petrol or diesel generator on board.

Trends with benefits

If you’re tempted, the up-front cost of an electric car can be a bit of a shock (couldn’t resist). It will set you back more than a conventional vehicle, but this will be offset by the lower running costs over its lifetime.

Plug-in cars offer a number of savings (1):

  •      A full charge in a pure electric car will give a range of about 100 miles for between £2 – £4. Even less if you have access to an off-peak overnight electricity tariff.
  •      Fewer mechanical parts mean less maintenance and lower servicing costs.
  •      No car tax is required on a pure EV that costs less than £40,000.
  •      There’s loads of free parking across the country for electric cars to encourage uptake.
  •      If you live in London, you could save £2,000 in congestion charges if your car emits 75g/km CO2 or less.
  •      Rapid chargers can top up a battery to 80% in just 20-30 minutes and can be found in most service stations.
  •      (2) Grants are available to help you buy a plug-in vehicle. You can get anything up to 35% of the cost of a car (maximum £2,500 – £4,500) depending on make and model; 20% towards the cost of a van (maximum of £8,000) and the same towards a motorbike (maximum £1,500).
  •      Electric vehicle owners can also receive funding to install a home charger.

And that’s the end of the plug for electric cars.