Should I buy an electric car?
It’s a question lots of people are asking right now. Yes, the government are stopping the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles in the UK from 2030, but is electric the way forward? Should you just keep running your old petrol car until it dies? Is electric really the future or will other fuel sources come to fruition?
In this blog, I’ll share my thoughts and findings on whether right now is the time to buy electric.
Why you shouldn’t buy an electric car right now
Erm, wait, what?
Bear with me. It’s good to put things into perspective, right? I could (and likely will) go into reasons why electric cars are something you should consider in 2023 but we can’t ignore the reasons why you shouldn’t… so let’s get into them:
They take longer to fill up…
Adding 300-400 miles worth of range in under 10 minutes is basically unachievable right now in a production electric car. Even an ultra-fast charging Tesla can only add about 200 miles in 30 minutes – and you have to be at a powerful enough charge point to do that.
Of course, tech will improve, and cars/chargers will get faster. But until that happens, EV drivers just have to accept that charging takes long than filling up with fuel.
You can’t go as far at once…
You can’t argue with the facts: nearly all family petrol cars can easily do 400 miles without stopping. Even the high-end EVs here in the UK can’t do that just yet.
They’re more expensive…
Compared to their petrol/diesel counterparts, manufacturers ask more for their electric models. A base spec MG for example, a company known for their affordable cars, want £17,820 for their ZS in petrol guise… but the electric equivalent is over £12,000 more than that to buy.
On paper, that’s a huge extra sum of money just to go electric.
Which leads me onto this…
Why you should buy an electric car right now
Well, if you’re superhuman and drive 400-mile round trips regularly without stopping and can’t spend 5 minutes triple checking your journey before you leave anywhere… yes, you should probably wait. Driving an electric car in the UK right now would frustrate you, I imagine.
But if like me, you do 10,000 miles a year, average 30-50 miles per day most days with the odd longer trip and are willing to get-to-know your area’s charging infrastructure (or at least look up chargers at your destination), getting an electric car right now in the UK is totally feasible – even if you can’t charge at home.
Here are some things I’d say it’d be good to consider:
Cheaper to fill up
In all honesty, charging really isn’t as big-a-deal as you think it might be. Yes, you can fill up with petrol or diesel easily in less than 10 minutes in most cases (unless you’re at a busy filling station of course), but with careful planning you can get around this.
Charging an electric car is not difficult. The principle is the same as anything else with a battery: find charger, plug charger in, switch on charger, wait (maybe even go about your day), switch off charger, unplug, leave with a full charge.
Of course, it’s more complicated in reality for cars but with a bit of practice, patience and planning at first, you can totally make it work in nearly all situations.
Yes, simply jumping in and doing a cross-country excursion might be trickier but for most people, living with an electric car every day is not as bad as you think.
You can go more than far enough
My diesel can do 8,000 miles on one tank and does 400mpg, I’m never going electric!!
Even if you haven’t driven an EV over long distances, you must be able to see this point is a bit silly? Who really drives 400 miles in one go without stopping at least once?
Which by the way is equivalent to driving from London to Edinburgh and would take over 8 hours.
It doesn’t matter what you’re driving, if you can manage that journey in one go, I’m impressed! The point is, if you drove electric, you’d just plug in at a rapid point and be on your way again after a quick bite to eat and a trip to the loo.
And even if you do a huge journey like that a couple of times a year, taking an extra 30/40 minutes to charge each way (at most twice!) when compared to the savings you’d make is not a huge sacrifice.
When I had my little pink Fiat 500e , I was working the British Motor Show for elmo and I had to drive 70 miles to the event, ferry people about throughout the weekend and then drive 70 miles back. I charged once, while I was working, and that was it. It wasn’t a hassle, it wasn’t stressful, and it was more than doable. Break down your journeys using something like our Suitability Tool and work out whether you really need a car that can do more than 150/200 miles per full charge.
My bet is, like me, you don’t.
They’re not expensive to run
Okay, so they’re more expensive outright but it’s not that simple, obviously.
Over time the EV will be cheaper to run, easier to maintain (there’s only one moving part in an electric motor) and very few people nowadays purchase a car outright anyway, instead relying on financing or leasing. Plus, most electric models tend to come with a few more goodies outright anyway.
Running costs are a huge tick in the pros box for EVs because despite electricity price increases it’s still cheaper to charge an electric car than add the same amount of fuel in a petrol car. Oh and if you drive a diesel, it’s even cheaper to switch to electric in the long run because diesel is more expensive.
How to go about charging an electric car is a huge blocker for those thinking of switching to electric, but there are so many charging solutions out there (like our elmoCharge card) that’ll make the process nice and simple for you. Servicing an electric car is cheaper on average and wear and tear for parts like brakes is far less because of the regenerative braking capabilities of an EV.
Oh, and we haven’t even begun to touch on the environmental benefits. Air pollution is real and it’s killing people, fact. It’s not fool proof (we’ve got to get the electricity from somewhere), but the day-to-day planetary and health benefits of switching to an EV are huge. They’re called “zero emission vehicles” for a reason!
You want to drive electric. Is buying the only way?
We’ve established that buying an EV is expensive but worth it in the long run if it suits your lifestyle. But ultimately, they’re out of reach for a lot of people because of those high purchase costs. Even if you’d have an EV in a heartbeat, if you can’t afford the large upfront deposit, you have to wait or go without.
What about if you’re on the fence? It’s not like getting a new car is a small purchase – if you’re wanting to try living with an EV first before you commit, what are your options?
Going to a dealership and taking a test drive is a great idea to get an initial first impression on your next car purchase, but they often only let you have an hour at most.
Some car companies may give you a car for up to 48 hours, but that’s few and far between and still not really enough to let you scope out whether making the transition to an electric car can work for you in your situation.
Other routes like leasing, for example, can be very tempting thanks to the wide range of vehicles on offer. Sadly though, that doesn’t negate the fact you’d still need to fork out 3-12 months’ worth of your lease payment upfront as a deposit. If you’re after a Tesla Model 3, for example, that could be upwards of £6,000 before you’ve even sat in your new car!
Then, you’d be tied in. Say you went for an EV lease and after two or three months realised it’s not quite working for you, because of charging, range or maybe the car just isn’t quite right for you. What do you do then? You’d be stuck in a lease because of the contract length, which can be anything from 1-5 years.
That’s where subscription comes in. Compared with a lease, subscriptions are far more accessible (with no deposit required, just your first month’s payment upfront), far more flexible (with a minimum 60-day subscription term) and everything you need to get on the road included in the price (from insurance, to servicing and maintenance and more).
So, if you’re the person on the fence, subscription means you can hand the car back if right now isn’t the time for you to go electric after all.
Or if you’re absolutely certain that you want an EV, but don’t want to fork up a huge lump sum for the privilege, subscription would work for you too.
Great. But is it worth getting an electric car right now?
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many you read on the subject or how many blogs you do or don’t visit, only you know you and your situation best.
The best advice I can give is try. I did and, despite my worries, (I myself can’t charge at home because I rent and there’s no way of installing a chargepoint), I discovered I can totally make driving an EV work in the long-run. It’s really not that much of an inconvenience to rely on public charging (depending on your situation of course!!) and the benefits can be huge.
Besides, if you can install a charge point at home, you’re laughing!
And if you’re considering the switch, that means EVs are likely something you’re (at least) interested in or (at most) passionate about. And if that’s the case, the best thing you can do is give it a go. We’re reactive creatures, we learn by doing.
Just remember to go in with an open mind – if after giving it a go it still doesn’t work for you right now, that’s cool! At least then you know… right? Besides, never say never; the world is moving quickly, and technology is moving even quicker.
What are the advantages to getting an electric car?
The short-term advantages are: they’re cheaper to run, easier to drive and simpler to maintain. The main long-term advantage is that because EVs are zero emission, our built up areas and cities will have much cleaner air for us all to breathe. That reduces risk of ill health and death and, of course, protects and preserves our planet and wildlife.
What are the disadvantages to getting an electric car?
EVs can be expensive to purchase (that’s where electric car subscriptions can help) and charging or range is a blocker for some people. It doesn’t have to be, though, as you can turn charging on its head and make it work for you with a bit of planning.
As for range, it’s said the average UK driver does no more than 30 miles per day; nearly all modern EVs would happily get you around in that scenario with just one charge per week. That doesn’t stop range anxiety creeping in of course, but Jess from the team has written about her experience and how she quickly overcame it.
How can I afford an electric car?
At the moment, electric cars are more than their ICE (internal combustion engine) equivalents. But, that doesn’t mean they’re out of reach.
You could think about leasing an electric car, but leases still often require a large upfront deposit and lengthy contracts. With electric car subscriptions, you can usually get an EV delivered to your door within a week with no deposit required and just a 60 day or 12 month minimum term.
How much will my electricity bill go up with an electric car in the UK?
A good question. The cost of electricity is in flux for a number of reasons and will likely remain so for some time. That said, even charging an electric car from home all the time, it’s highly likely you’ll still end up paying less than if you were to add fuel costs for your ICE car (internal combustion engine) to your existing utility bills.
So, in short, you’ll notice your electricity bill go up a fair bit — but when you compare to what you were spending each month overall, you should notice a saving.
We’ve written about how depsite charging cost increase, electric car drivers still save money on our blog.