Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006
Vauxhall Astra Electric

How to choose an electric vehicle

As of 2024, there are hundreds of different passenger electric vehicles (EVs) on the market. Do you want something small and compact or big and roomy? Do you want to economise on range or do the 0-62 mph dash in under three seconds? Do you want to jump to full electric with a battery electric (BEV), or hedge your bets with a hybrid or plug-in hybrid (PHEV)? Hatches, SUVs, saloons, coupes – there’s something that suits everyone at a variety of price points. If you’re making electric vehicle comparisons for your next set of wheels, here’s what you need to consider.

How electric is electric?

At the moment, there are three variations of electric vehicles: hybrid vehicles which use a small petrol/diesel engine and regenerative braking to charge an electric battery and motor; a plug-in hybrid that you can top up with power at a charging station, and; fully electric vehicles that only run on electricity. BEVs are the cheapest to run and maintain, and have zero emissions. Which one you choose needs to depend on a few factors.

Do you have the surrounding infrastructure?

If you live in an area where fast charging or public charging is accessible, you’ll have no reservations about buying a BEV. If you make long trips and the idea of a half-hour or so wait to get back to 80% charge doesn’t appeal to you, a PHEV or hybrid may be best in your situation.

Range vs. performance

Since BEVs have upwards of 80-90% energy efficiency, factoring in the range of a car is also important. Many cars have respectable performance and handling as well as long ranges, such as the Tesla Model S Plaid+ with an incredible range of 519 miles on a single charge. However, the faster you want to go, the more electricity you will consume. Some cars may have huge battery packs, but this privilege also means paying for it. Although EVs can post some impressive 0-62 mph dash times, opting for a less powerful motor may mean longer ranges without the added cost.

Interior comforts and value-added extras

The days of “getting the undercoating” and having it be a total waste of money are numbered. Many BEVs and PHEVs actually do come with value-added and utility-added extras – meaning you can actually use them in your daily life. Some BEVs may have what’s known as Vehicle 2 Home or Vehicle 2 Grid technology, which means you can use your BEV as a portable battery for storing additional solar power for use at night or low-light conditions. It can even theoretically make you money by selling that surplus electricity back to the grid. At the moment, these are added costs. Other aspects to consider are creature comforts such as leather or premium seats, heated seats, infotainment centres, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality, and others. The more bells and whistles, the more you’ll pay.

With all this in mind, you too can drive home an EV with confidence – and gain the most value!