Early EVs had limited range, however battery technology is developing all the time and latest models offer over 150 miles on one full charge – or even up to 300 miles or more in some cases. Range will be affected by driving style and other factors such as temperature. Charging infrastructure is developing and expanding rapidly, with good coverage on motorways, however some more rural locations still have low numbers of chargers. There are a number of websites and apps that help with planning a journey in an EV.
EVs can be more expensive to buy than a petrol or diesel vehicle, but running an electric vehicle can offer savings of around £100 per 1,000 miles depending on the vehicle and driving conditions. Servicing costs are significantly lower too, this is a saving of around 10p per mile over an internal combustion engine vehicle. A survey of Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV drivers shows that they are driven on EV power alone over 50% of the time and can achieve real-world fuel consumption of 100MPG (source: Green Car Guide). ZapMap offers a useful home charging cost calculator amongst the range of tools on its website. For a 40kW Nissan LEAF the energy cost for a range of 188 miles is around £6.60 when charged at home, compared to over £22 for an equivalent petrol vehicle. For an EV this works out at 3.5p per mile.
The driving range of an EV can be maximised by employing fuel-efficient eco-driving techniques. The EST can offer a range of packages, either part or fully-funded courtesy of the DfT: Find out more.
A number of manufacturers and dealerships are now very much embracing EVs and working hard to provide clear and concise information, for example the Kia UK website has useful pages covering the range of ULEV vehicles it currently manufactures: Find out more.
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles is currently offering the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme which provides funding of up to 75% of the cost of installing EV chargepoints at domestic properties in the UK. Most car dealerships will take prospective purchasers through this process and will even arrange all the paperwork as part of the sales process for new and used EVs. More details here. If you don’t have off-street parking at your address, there is funding that local authorities can access to install on street charging facilities. You will need to lobby your local authority to do this, details of the scheme are here.
Public charge points – the publicly accessible charge point network – is growing rapidly. ZapMap is a useful source of information to check coverage in your area. There are some locally developed sources of information on publicly accessible charge points such as Electric Brighton.
Many older EV models have a range of 100 miles or less, so it is true that range can be a concern, however battery technology is improving all the time and most new EVs now coming to market offer over 200 miles of range.
In households with two cars, the first, or main, vehicle travels on average 37 miles per day, with the second vehicle travelling around 13 miles per day. So both cars could be EVs, but at least the second car.
98% of all car journeys are under 50 miles which is well within the range of even the oldest EVs on the road today. Research from Delta-ee tells us that only 8% of charging is likely to happen at public charge points over the next decade, with most owners charging at home or at work.
ZapMap offers a route planner via an app and its desktop site to help you ensure that longer journeys take you via public charge points – the information on the site is updated in real-time to give details of any issues with particular charge points.
Many manufacturers offer free recovery if you run out of charge.
There are a number of reports about life cycle assessment of EVs compared to petrol and diesel cars. Find out more.