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Electric Car Guide video

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The Electric Car Guide video is an engaging, user-friendly introduction to pure Electric, Plug-in Hybrid and Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (E-REVs).

The Electric Car Guide animation tool explains the differences between electric, plug-in hybrid and extended-range electric vehicles, and communicates the many benefits that electric vehicles offer to motorists, including lower running costs.

Watch the Electric Car Guide

Electric Car Guide

Electric Vehicles explained

Today you can buy vehicles that are fully electric, as well as vehicles that are part-electric which are able to run on electricity for shorter journeys before continuing on petrol or diesel power.

Fully Electric Vehicles (or EVs) don’t need any other fuel such as petrol or diesel. They’re powered 100% by electricity, which is stored in a battery in the vehicle.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (or PHEVs) combine petrol or diesel engines with a battery and electric motor. They can be plugged in to the mains electricity to provide a substantial driving range on electric-only power.

There are also Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (or E-REVs). Drive is always provided by an electric motor, which takes energy from a battery. If the battery becomes depleted, a petrol engine can continue to power the electric motor.

So what are the benefits of Electric Vehicles?

Low running costs

Electric cars are very cheap to run; they cost £2 to £3 to fully charge, which gives a typical range of 100 miles.

A petrol or diesel car costs £12 to £18 to drive 100 miles – in other words six times the cost of an electric car.

No vehicle tax

All types of plug-in car are currently exempt from VED (Vehicle Excise Duty, or road tax).

No company car tax

For company car drivers, there is zero ‘benefit in kind’ tax to pay on fully electric cars, until 2015.

No London Congestion Charge

All types of plug-in car currently attract a 100% discount on the London Congestion Charge.

Electric Vehicles benefit from free or subsidised parking in some areas. In Camden, for example, resident permits for EVs are 10% of the cost of those for the most polluting vehicles.

Electric cars emit less CO2 per mile travelled

Pure EVs – and Plug-in Hybrids and Extended-Range Electric Vehicles while being driven on electric power – emit zero ‘tailpipe’ carbon dioxide emissions. Man-made CO2 emissions are a key contributor to climate change.

To be truly zero-CO2, Electric Vehicles must be recharged with electricity generated from renewable energy. The Energy Saving Trust can advise on renewable electricity supply: call the advice line on 0845 602 1425.

Electric Vehicles don’t produce local air pollutants

Unlike vehicles with internal combustion engines, pure EVs – and Plug-in Hybrids and Extended-Range Electric Vehicles while being driven on electric power – don’t produce local air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. These pollutants are known to increase rates of heart and lung disease, cancer and asthma.

Electric Vehicles are great to drive

Electric Vehicles have strong and smooth acceleration from rest. Modern electric cars easily keep pace with other traffic.

Electric cars are almost silent, and because there’s no clutch or gears they’re ideal to drive in cities.


Questions everyone asks about EVs

How do you recharge an Electric Vehicle? 

Electric Vehicles need to be recharged from the electricity grid. It’s recommended that a dedicated charging point is fitted to ensure that charging is safe. Costs of charging points vary, but are typically from £500 to £1000.

If you’re considering charging from a domestic plug socket, ensure that your wiring is checked by a qualified electrician.

A national network of publicly-accessible charging points is being developed. See the government’s ‘Plugged in Places’ scheme, which includes charging point maps.

Free charging is available in some areas, including London.

How long does it take to recharge an Electric Vehicle? 

The length of time it takes to charge an EV depends on the type of vehicle, how depleted the battery is, and the type of charge point used.

Extended-Range Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrids generally take less time to charge than pure electric cars – usually less than four hours. Most pure electric cars currently take around eight hours for a full charge – so it’s best to do this overnight (when electricity is cheapest), or while parked at work.

Charging times for electric cars will reduce due to improved technology. Public fast chargers provide an 80% charge in just 30 minutes for vehicles that can use such equipment.

How far will an Electric Vehicle go on one charge? 

A modern fully Electric Vehicle has a range of 80 to 130 miles on a full charge.

If you want a vehicle to drive in electric mode for short journeys, but also have the ability to drive for longer distances, then an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle could be ideal. An E-REV will provide you with an electric-only range of 40 to 50 miles, with the petrol generator providing a total range of around 300 miles.

Extended-Range Electric Vehicles are designed to be used mainly in electric mode, when they’re most efficient, offering the lowest emissions and greatest economy.

A Plug-in Hybrid operates primarily on its petrol or diesel engine. It can drive on purely electric power, but typically for shorter distances than an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle.

How many years will an EV battery last?

The long-term life of an EV battery depends on the type of battery and the mileage covered. It is expected that most batteries will last at least eight to ten years before any reduction in performance is significant for the user.

Is an EV cheaper than a conventional vehicle over its total ownership period?

Although electric cars cost more upfront, their total ownership costs over the life of the vehicle are similar to conventional cars. If an EV is being used in London, or as a company car – when it benefits from additional tax breaks – it can have a lower cost of ownership.

Some manufacturers charge a lower purchase price for their Electric Vehicles, then rent the battery to the owner for a monthly fee. This helps to spread the cost of the vehicle.

Are financial incentives available for buying EVs? 

Certain Electric Vehicles qualify for a government grant. The Plug-in Car Grant provides a subsidy of 25%, up to £5,000, towards the cost of an electric car. The Plug-in Van Grant provides a subsidy of 20%, up to £8,000, towards the cost of an electric van.

So should you consider an Electric Vehicle?

Electric Vehicles could save you money and help the environment.

A Plug-in Vehicle, whether an EV, E-REV or Plug-in Hybrid, may be suitable for you depending upon your driving patterns and your local recharging infrastructure. For example a pure EV may be ideal if you drive short distances and you can recharge it every day.

The Energy Saving Trust can advise on choosing an appropriate car or van. Call the transport advice line on 0845 602 1425 for free, impartial advice.

Try one for yourself

The best way to know if a vehicle is for you is to try one. Visit your local showroom, or a green vehicle show. Businesses in some parts of London might be able to try vehicles through free trials with their local council. Visit for more information.

Further information

For information about air quality and low emission vehicles in Camden:

For travel and transport advice:

For more information about electric, hybrid and green vehicles: