Electric vehicles (EVs) are cars powered using electrical energy, stored in rechargeable batteries, rather than (non renewable) petrol/diesel. Modern EVs are convenient, reliable and affordable. Consequently, more and more people are switching to this new sustainable mode of transport, helping to reduce pollution.
Battery life has improved significantly, and whilst the majority of charging is likely to take place at home or at work, a fast growing national network of public charging points exists to allow you to recharge your EV’s battery on the move.
Which car should I get?
There are numerous EVs available; from superminis and city cars, all the way through to family, executive and even sports cars. Here are the main categories:
|Full EV (BEV)
Uses batteries to store energy that powers a motor. The batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electrical power source, and BEVs can also be charged by regenerative braking, i.e. storing the kinetic energy created by slowing down the vehicle.
|Plug in range extended EV (E-REV)
Powered by batteries, but also fitted with a small petrol/diesel generator that can help extend the range of the vehicle by topping up the batteries while driving.
|Plug in hybrid (PHEV)
Powered both by electric and a conventional diesel/petrol engine. The diesel/petrol engine provides power when the battery is depleted. The battery can also recharge from the engine and via regenerative braking.
| Conventional hybrid
In a sense the opposite of the E-REV, these vehicles have a conventional petrol/diesel engine which is boosted by a supporting electric motor powered by regenerative braking.
Benefits of driving an EV
- EVs have very low running costs – just 2-3p per mile!
- Your driving will be clean and green thanks to the UK’s growing generation of renewable electricity
- EVs do not emit exhaust pollutants and contribute to cleaner air
- Grants are available for up to £5,000 (car) and £8,000 (van) towards an EV’s purchase price
- EVs are exempt from vehicle tax and fuel duty
- Your EV will be fully recharged if you leave it plugged in overnight, much like a mobile phone
- The average EV can travel up to 100 miles per charge
- Battery lease options are available
- Your chances of running out of charge when stuck in traffic are about the same in an electric car as in a petrol-fuelled car
Can I get a grant to help me make the switch to EV?
A government grant scheme is in place to help people buy EVs.
Click here for more details.
- 25% off the cost of a car, up to a maximum of £5,000
- 20% off the cost of a van up to a maximum of £8,000
- Grants are available for BEVs and PHEVs; you can find a full list of eligible cars on the website.
The Office for Low Emissions Vehicles also offer The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle charge points at domestic properties across the UK.
The Workplace Charging Scheme 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.
For more information and guidance on the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme and Workplace Charging Scheme, please click here.