Should you buy an electric car? The ultimate EV buying guide

9 minute read

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Environmental sustainability is a hot topic right now and electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular for this reason. But could it work for you?

  • Could you make the move to an electric car?
  • Whether or not an EV is right for you will depend on your circumstances
  • Specialist insurance is available for electric cars

Electric cars have sparked debate since the government announced their ban on new petrol and diesel car sales from 2030. This has come alongside the introduction of ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zones) and similar schemes that penalise drivers of higher-emission vehicles in certain areas.

After electric car sales increased by 186% in 20201, nearly 20% of all new cars registered in 20211 were electric. As we enter 2022, there are an estimated 400,000 electric cars (EVs)1 currently on the UK roads and over 750,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs)1 too. Booming and often unpredictable fuel prices may be driving more people towards electric cars, but what are the benefits and what’s the cheapest electric car?

Like with any big purchase, there’s a lot to consider. That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive guide to give you a buzz about buying your next electric car. From the advantages of electric vehicles, whether it would be compatible with your lifestyle, to which electric car could be ideal for you.

Envious of going green? If you’re thinking of hopping over to electric, read on to find out everything you need to know about the bright new world of electric cars.

Ultimate electric vehicle buying guide

What are the benefits of electric cars?

There are various reasons to embrace electric. Here are just a few of the most attractive:

  • Lower emissionsElectric vehicles emit zero exhaust emissions, meaning they won’t contribute to rising air pollution. This means you won’t pay car tax or be charged in areas like London’s ULEZ.
  • Reduced running costs – The purchase cost of electric cars can be more expensive but running costs are lower. The fuel cost of a petrol Peugeot 208 is 12.5p per mile, compared to the cost of an electric 208 at 1.9p per mile2.
  • Lower maintenance – Fewer engine parts means less to go wrong and lower maintenance costs. It’s important to find a mechanic who’s trained to service EVs.
  • Growing availability – There are more options for going electric than ever before. Companies are now offering leasing packages, second-hand electric cars are on the market and manufacturers are releasing more models – making it more accessible for people to make the switch.

    There may be several more advantages to swapping to electric once you consider how it could benefit your personal lifestyle. Though, this isn’t always the case. We can help by looking into this in more detail.

Should I buy an electric car?

While electric cars are becoming more popular, the switch isn’t easy for everyone. It depends on your lifestyle, how you’ll use your electric car and where you live.

Considering your mileage 

Eco-conscious drivers who drive less than 100 miles a day may benefit from owning an electric car. It could even be a convenient and affordable choice if you’re thinking of investing in a second car. Just make sure you can get to a charging point or install one in your home.

Living compatibility 

When deciding if going electric is right for you, where you live can make a big difference. Convenient charging is an important part of an easy driving experience, and off-street parking is usually ideal. If you’re only able to park on the street at home, it could be tricky to regularly charge your electric vehicle.

To make things a little easier, there are government grants available to help offset the cost of installing home charging points. If you rent your home, it’s always best to double check your tenancy agreement or have a chat with your landlord directly before installing anything.

Many workplaces also have charging points now, making owning an electric car even more convenient and cost-effective. Find out if yours has one – if not, there are grants available for businesses, too.

Working around your budget 

Let’s be honest, going electric can be more expensive when you first invest. If budget is one of your concerns, you might be wondering what can make going electric a little easier on your wallet:

  • New electric cars are MOT-free for three years, saving you money.
  • As new electric models are introduced, the used car market is becoming more varied – offering more affordable options.
  • Spread costs by buying on finance.

What types of electric cars are available?

The two main types of electric car are pure-electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

While pure EVs use only a chargeable battery and motor for drive, PHEVs have a smaller battery and a conventional fuel engine, offering more range. You can also find self-charging electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius.

Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a variety of electric cars widely available in many sizes. Here a just a few to consider:

  • Compact cars and superminis – VW e-Up, Renault Zoe, BMW i3.
  • Hatchbacks and crossovers – Nissan Leaf, Peugeot e-208, VW ID.4, Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro.
  • Premium car brands – Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model X, Audi e-Tron, Mercedes EQC and Porsche Taycan. 

Which electric car to buy may depend on your budget. If so, let’s take a look at some of the cheapest electric cars on the market.

Buying new is always going to be more expensive. The second-hand electric market can offer some of the cheapest options for approximately £10,000 – or even less if you buy one with a shorter battery range.

If you want to go electric without breaking the bank, you can find used electric cars on finance starting from £189 per month, such as the Renault Zoe, or the practical Nissan Leaf. Perhaps this could be your affordable route to sustainable driving?

What is the best electric car for me? 

Choosing the right electric car for you can be challenging, especially as the market changes. Reassuringly, many of the same factors we consider when buying fuel cars also apply for electric vehicles:

  • The look of the vehicle – The exterior, even its colour.
  • Number of doors and seats – Do you have a family to consider?
  • Engine size and capacity – In this case, the battery, including its range.
  • Boot size – Is it practical for your hobbies and lifestyle?
  • Cost and affordability – How compatible will it be financially?

Finding out which electric car is best for you can depend on how and where you plan to use it. Are you an urban driver, a short distance commuter or a frequent long-distance driver?

Urban drivers and commuters

Electric vehicles are handy for inner-city driving. Most are automatic with only one gear, making them pretty nimble and easy to drive among traffic.

If you usually take short, local trips, electric cars such as the Renault Zoe or BMW i3 may set you up nicely. Covering around 200 miles per single charge, superminis like these are great on the open road and for popping into town.

If more range is needed for your commute, compact SUVs such as the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro may suit you better.

Long distance drivers 

There’s an outdated impression that electric vehicles can’t take you very far.

These days, many electric cars will cover more than 150 miles on a single charge. Vehicles with even higher range, such as the Kona Electric and e-Niro, can give you an extra 200 miles with just an hours’ charge to get you where you need to go.

Before going green, it’s best to do some homework and figure out your personal ‘pros and cons’ – that way you get the best out of your electric vehicle.

Whether your plan is to strike now or save up, there’s still plenty of time to contemplate before the new laws are introduced in 2030.

Thinking of swapping to electric? Rest assured that everything is covered with our dedicated electric car insurance. Discover some of the exclusive benefits included today.

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2 Cost of running an electric car | BuyaCar

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