The International Energy Agency reported that worldwide, Europe has the second-highest share in the electric vehicles (EVs) market (1.2M EVs sold in 2018). A used electric car is an excellent substitute to a conventionally-fuelled car in the UK as infrastructure has expanded to support EVs with over 29,000 charging ports available in 2020, January.
So there’s no denying that electric cars have grown substantially over the last 10 years. This is largely due to the increase in eco-consciousness and heightened concerns about high CO2 emissions. In response, the UK government has introduced a number of incentives to make EVs more appealing. This has included reducing road tax on less polluting vehicles and increasing it on higher polluting cars.
The study also found that the Nissan Leaf is currently the best-selling EV in the UK with 1 in 4 drivers purchasing the model!
Did you know the UK government provides a grant towards the cost of a new EV? Known as the ‘Plug-in grant’, it offers up to £3,500 towards a new electric car.
The grant money is deducted from the total price of the vehicle, so helps to make the car more affordable.
To qualify for the grant, the vehicle must produce zero CO2 emissions. However, you also need to look out for which specific makes and models are eligible for the governments’ grants, as not all EVs qualify.
You can find a full list of qualifying EVs here.
The government also offer £500 towards buying and fitting home charging ports.
Purchasing a new EV can cost a lot of money when compared to a conventionally-fuelled car. However, as mentioned above, government grants can fund a portion of a car.
If a new EV is still out of your price range, even with the government grant, you could look at purchasing a used electric car, which can offer substantial savings.
The most popular used EVs in the UK are the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Renault Zoe.
If buying a used electric car, the most important part to check is the battery. If it’s defective, it can be expensive to replace. Meanwhile, new EVs come with a car warranty that covers the battery for a period of time or set mileage. This can range from 5 to 8 years or up to 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. So before buying a used EV, you should look for models which are still within their warranty period so that your car is protected in case of a breakdown.
Another thing to consider is insurance. Even though electric cars are cheaper to maintain, the insurance costs 14% more. According to Driving Electric this is because, lithium-ion batteries are expensive to repair and currently there aren’t enough qualified technicians to fix EVs.
If you’re looking to buy an electric car, there are quite a few options and manufacturers to choose from in 2020:
Tesla is probably the most well-known car manufacturer in the electric car market. Established in 2003, in California it was one of the first companies to produce just electric cars. It has become one of the most instrumental companies in pushing the boundaries of EVs.
Since then, it has produced award-winning models, such as 3, S, X, and Y. Its UK revenue in 2019, has reached over £110 million.
As well as impressive mileage capabilities on a single charge, Tesla is also recognised for their development of semi-autonomous driving with 360 degree cameras surrounding the car.
Top Gear rated Tesla Model 3 as the top car in the market, citing excellent engineering, satisfying drive experience & its other components, such as architecture, user interface, marketing and others. Tesla was also one of the first manufacturers to show the pure power offered by electric motoring, with the S Model being capable of reaching from 0 to 60 mph in 2.28 seconds.
Hyundai claims that the Ioniq model charges faster than a smartphone. The model first launched back in South Korea, in 2016.
It is extremely affordable compared to Tesla, with prices starting from £15,200 for used Ioniq models at Stoneacre. The Hyundai Ioniq has a sleek and modern design and is available in nine colours. It also comes with a host of driving assistance features such as autonomous braking and lane assist.
Other notable mentions include the Hyundai Kona which won Which? Best Buy 2019 Award and beat all the other EVs in the What Car’s Real Range test. The test measured how long the car can drive before the battery was depleted (all the cars in the test were charged the night before).
One of the well-known models is BMW i3, released in 2016. It stands out from the crowd with a unique design – if Shar-Pei was a car that’s how it’d look like. Top Gear, named it the best premium small EV out there. It has accounted for 150,000 sales worldwide and has been through 7 reiterations. However, Forbes has stated, BMW will end its i3 range without further successors.
Nissan Leaf is another attractive offering if you need more space – it offers plenty, with enough to fit 5 people.
Since June 2019 the Leaf EV has been available with two different battery options; Leaf and Leaf e+ which offer 168 and 239 miles respectively.
Nissan Leaf pricing is quite competitive with used car offers that start at £8,795. You can save a lot of money with this unique EV.
Kia has a lot of options to choose from when it comes to EVs. There is a crossover SUV Soul which has been upgraded to a newer version called ‘All-New Soul EV’.
There’s also E-Niro which is fully electric, while the counterpart Kia Niro is a self-charging hybrid.
Another model from the South Korean manufacturer is an Xceed PHEV hybrid. It includes handy features like Smart Parking Assist (SPA) which can help you with parallel and perpendicular parking by steering the wheel. Meanwhile, High Beam Assist (HBM) automatically changes the beam to low when the system detects other cars travelling towards the Kia Xceed.
Kia is taking the EV business seriously and is planning to roll out 11 new all-electric cars by 2026 worldwide with the first one set to be released in 2021.
Its Zoe model is one of the most popular options in Europe, alongside the Tesla S model. This fashionable & agile car can run 233 miles without needing a top-up charge.
As with most EV’s, Renault has upgraded the car to 2020 version. It now includes three variants – Play, Iconic and GT Line with each version having substantially more features.
Another Renault EV model Twizy, looks like a toy car. Twizy’s appearance is humorous and even though it looks like only one person can fit in, there’s enough space for a passenger too.
It has three options – Expression, Dynamique and Cargo. They each represent different colours, grey, blue and red accordingly.
There are a variety of charging options available when picking a car – you can charge at work, home or at public charging points.
Home charging is one of the most convenient ways to charge an EV. Much like charging your mobile phone you simply plug it in overnight and wake up to a fully-charged car. It’s cost-effective too, as on average it only costs about £8.40 to charge an electric car (200-mile range at 60kWh).
If you are charging your car overnight you can also benefit from night electricity tariffs which can be up to 6p cheaper.
When out and about, you can charge your car at designated plug-in ports for free. The Zap- Map website shows all the charging locations across the UK, as well as when the vehicle was last charged and the specifications of the ports.
If charging at public charge point, there is another choice which is called Rapid Charging. It costs a bit more money, but is good for long journeys ahead. Pod-Point has reported that charging at their Lidl ports costs 23p/kWh, while Tesco costs 24p/kWh for 30 minutes. So in total, it’d cost about £6-7 to charge a car at a Rapid Charge.
Some work places now offer charging points too. Thanks to the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) initiative from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) businesses can get grants to install charging ports for EVs. Employers are eligible to claim up to £10,000 with a maximum of 20 sockets (£500/per socket). You can check full government T&C’s here.
Here’s a quick fun fact: Greater London accounts for 25.8% of all public charging connectors, with another majority (26.6%) being Scotland and the South East.
If you do decide to go for a used EV, there are a variety of dealerships that sell electric cars.
If you have an electric car we’d love to hear about your experience. What are the advantages and challenges you face? Share it in the comments below!
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