Living with an Electric Car

electric car
electric car

The electric car or plug-in vehicles come in all shapes and sizes with a wide array of technologies making up this sector. This makes it very difficult for potential buyers to make a decision on which electric car or hybrid vehicle best suits their needs. With that in mind, we have put together some key points relating to grants, charging, range and running costs, to arm you with enough knowledge to make an informed choice.

Government support for electric car owners exists in the form of the “Plug-in Vehicle Grant” towards the purchase of vehicles, and the “Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme” to assist with costs of installation of a homecharger. The “Plug-in Vehicle Grant” provides a subsidy of:

35% of the cost of a car, up to a maximum of either £2,500 or £4,500 depending on the category the model belongs to (see below).
20% of the cost of a van, up to a maximum of £8,000.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has a list of eligible cars and vans. The grant is automatically deducted from the retail price when an eligible vehicle is purchased, so there is no additional paperwork to complete, and there’s no need to pay the full retail price and then reclaim the benefit. For both the car and van grant, minimum warranty terms apply and pre-registration conversions are eligible.

There are three grant categories for cars, differentiating between Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) on the basis of their carbon dioxide emissions and their zero emission range, whilst retaining a technology neutral approach:

Category 1: carbon dioxide emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles.
Category 2: carbon dioxide emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles.
Category 3: carbon dioxide emissions of 50-75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles.
Vans: carbon dioxide emissions of less than 75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 10 miles.

As of 1 March 2016, 2 grant rates are available: Category 1 vehicles benefit from a grant of £4,500. Category 2 and Category 3 vehicles with a shorter zero emission range, such as plug-in hybrid vehicles with a petrol or diesel engine — receive £2,500.

With the “Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme”, electric vehicle users can receive funding from OLEV to install a homecharger for their plug-in vehicle. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme provides a grant of up to 75 per cent of the eligible costs of chargepoint installation (capped at £500, inc VAT) for the registered keeper, lessee or nominated primary user of a new or second-hand eligible electric vehicle on or after 1 April 2015 onwards.

Maximising range
Most electric vehicles available on the market today have a typical range of around 100 miles. However, how far you can go on one charge largely depends on how you drive the car. Driving the car in the most efficient way maximises the car’s range and ensures driver satisfaction, see our guide to efficient driving in electric and low emission vehicles for our top tips. Public recharging infrastructure is growing across the UK. There are several chargepoint maps available that detail chargepoint locations.

Running costs
The lifetime running costs of an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle will be of great interest to potential purchasers hoping to offset the higher initial purchase price against lower running costs. Plug-in cars offer a number of potential savings compared to conventional vehicles:

– a full charge for an electric car will cost around £2 to £3 and will give a typical range of 100 miles. Driving 100 miles in a petrol or diesel car will cost around £9 to £13 in fuel, That is around four times the cost of the electric car.

– plug-in vehicles are currently exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax).
– plug-in cars are eligible for a 100% discount from the London Congestion Charge, worth up to £2,900 a year.
– free parking may also be available to further encourage the uptake of electric car purchases in some urban areas.

There are fewer mechanical components than conventional vehicles so servicing costs are likely to be lower and we anticipate that maintenance costs will be lower too.

Some energy companies offer tariffs that would reward you for charging your car at off-peak times, such as overnight.  Find out a set of tips on how to charge your electric vehicle at home for as little as possible.

Keep up with all Car Hire News here.

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