The Benefits of Electric Cars
An electric car can have so many benefits to its driver and society in general. Cheaper running costs from fuel and maintenance, better everyday driving performance, as well as being better for the environment. But, the picture is a little more complex than that. This article aims to provide an overview of the benefits of electric cars, as well as a small word of warning…
Saving money with an electric car
The cost of charging an electric car depends on when and where you’re charging.
Charging your electric car at home
The price will vary according to your tariff. But on average, it costs about 14p per kW. So, if you’re charging a Nissan Leaf with a 30kWh battery, it will cost about £0.14×30 to get to 100%. That’s just £4.20.
N.B. You shouldn’t ever really let your battery get below 10%, so you’ll never charge from 0% to 100%!
Charging your electric car at work
This depends on your boss. But many companies allow employees to plug in for free (or an allowance of free charging) while they’re at work.
Even if you have to pay a nominal amount, it will likely be at a cheap domestic rate. We have a user who only spent £33 to cover 2,000 miles of driving thanks to a great scheme offered by her employer.
Charging at public charge points
The cost of charging your electric vehicle at a public charge point depends on the charger type.
Slower charge points in supermarkets, pubs and other car parks are often free to use if you’re a customer.
Rapid chargers (usually found in motorway service stations) cost around £6.50 for 100 miles of charge (roughly).
If you want to see which public charge points would work for you on your regular routes, have a look on ZapMap.
No electric vehicle road tax
Road tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), is calculated based on a car’s tailpipe fumes. Pure electric cars are zero-emission so one of the major advantages of electric cars is you don’t pay any road tax regardless of the original listing price.
The other tax advantage is that there is no duty to pay on fuel, unlike with petrol and diesel, which the government tax heavily.
No congestion or zone charges
Pure electric cars are exempt from the daily £15 London congestion charge to enter the new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) until at least October 2025.
Lower maintenance costs
Electric cars have fewer moving parts which means less can go wrong. No valves, cylinders and gaskets to worry about. They are basically just brakes, wheels and a battery.
You don’t need to check oil levels and your chances of breakdown are considerably lower than in a petrol/diesel. That means fewer surprise costs and less stress!
Free or cheaper parking
To encourage EV adoption some local councils allow electric car drivers to park at a discounted rate or even for free in some areas. York offers a 50% discount on resident contract permits, season tickets, and most priority parking scheme (ResPark) permits. Q-park also offers 25% off season tickets for electric vehicle owners.
Electric cars are a joy to drive
The latest technology
Everyone loves a new toy or the latest gadget. Vehicle manufacturers know that electric cars will soon simply be ‘cars’ to us.
Their focus is increasingly shifting towards designing and developing electric cars equipped with the latest technology to make our journeys as hassle free and enjoyable as possible.
Customers who want the best user experience with their car – whether that’s the navigation, the sound system or the seat massagers – should now look to the new electric cars coming out. The new Fiat 500e boasts a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with ‘Uconnect 5’.
EVs offer great performance
Car geeks will talk about power, torque and acceleration. They will refer to drag races and other tests performed on tracks which highlight the amazing performance of expensive electric cars.
But, for us and the everyday car user that’s not really the point.
What is important for us, is that even the most basic electric cars are awesome to drive. Basically, because there is no inefficient combustion process: when you put your foot on the throttle you get instant power (without any noise).
This creates a nippy and fun driving experience in even the humblest EVs.
We recently delivered an electric vehicle to elmo customers who live on a farm in Dorset. It was night when the car was delivered and we were told in advance that the dogs would make a racket as soon as a car pulled into the driveway.
So there were some surprised and embarrassed doggos when our delivery driver knocked on the door of the house having silently pulled up outside!
Cute story, but so what?
Well, just imagine a world without the noise of traffic, where you don’t have to listen to the roar of engines as you try to sleep at night or focus during the day. Instead, you hear the calmer sounds of the world and its natural rhythms. So, one of the major benefits of driving an electric car is the noise – or should that be lack of noise.
Electric vehicles are safe
Electric Vehicles have design advantages, which cause them to be inherently safer than their petrol and diesel counterparts. The Tesla Model S recorded the highest safety score possible (5 stars) in frontal, side, rollover, and overall crash categories.
Since the battery of an electric vehicle is placed lower in the car, the weight is distributed more evenly causing better handling and a lower chance of rolling over.
You may think standing by the petrol pump is easy enough. But, remember cars are not in use 95% of the time. Electric cars can ‘fuel’ themselves in this down time, totally unsupervised!
A private vehicle is also a lot safer and more convenient than public transport. Especially during these times! Read our thoughts on COVID and how it changed transport.
Good for people and the planet
Better for the environment
We’ve mentioned the reduction in noise pollution, but let’s not forget the significant impact switching to electric could have on global CO2 emissions – one of the primary drivers of climate change.
The UK transport sector in 2019 made up a whopping 34% of our annual CO2 emissions – the largest contributor of any sector.
Read more about why electric cars really are greener.
Reducing CO2 emissions is one thing, but illness and death as a result of air pollution in cities has increased dramatically in recent years as our urban environments become increasingly congested.
Electric cars don’t produce any of the particulate matter or fumes which lead to polluted and dangerous air.
Electric cars: too good to be true?
Here at elmo we are huge advocates of the electric car, and we aim to make the process of going electric super easy for the whole of the UK.
But we also think it’s important to be realistic and transparent about the benefits of electric cars, and also the potential drawbacks.
They’re not an optimal solution for all UK drivers right now, but with every year that passes we anticipate these potential drawbacks will lessen.
High upfront costs
For a start, they’re about £5,000 to £10,000 more expensive as an upfront purchase than their equivalent petrol/diesel models.
For most people, that is too much of a premium to pay. And while the running cost savings are good, it will take time to recuperate that extra £10,000 you potentially shelled out.
That’s where new ownership models can help. Getting an electric car on subscription means you can benefit from the day to day cost savings in running a car from the first day of driving. There’s no upfront cost (unlike a purchase) nor a big deposit (as with a lease) – you just pay your monthly fee and drive.
You may have heard of ‘range anxiety’. It’s the soul-sapping fear you get when you realise you may not have enough charge to get to your destination; and you don’t know where or if there is a charge point en-route. And it’s getting dark. And you’re probably hungry…
Range anxiety is an overstated issue, especially as the number of public charge points is increasing rapidly; as is the range capacity on new EVs. Our Renault ZOEs now offer 210+ miles of range.
But, it’s still so important that people understand how and if an EV could work for them. Because, though it pains us to say, most EVs on the market (especially the affordable ones) will not work for everyone right now.
Would an electric car fit your lifestyle?
Try our 3 minute tool to find out:
- The truth about your driving habits
- How much you could save in £s and CO2
- Which EVs on the market are the best fit for you
We think this could be a really important tool for helping people understand EVs. If you find your results interesting, please consider sharing the test and even encouraging any naysaying friends to try it!
Here are a few of the most common questions people ask about electric cars:
Do electric cars cause pollution or give out emissions?
No, electric cars don’t have an exhaust, so don’t create emissions like petrol or diesel cars.
Do electric cars need a service and MOT?
Yes, you still need to ensure your electric vehicle is serviced and is road legal.
Do electric cars need oil?
No, electric cars don’t require oil like petrol or diesel cars.
Can you charge an electric car from a three-pin plug?
Yes, however you will need a cable specific to an electric vehicle. That means it’s simple to charge an electric car at home.
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
Depending on how long and how far you need to drive, the time varies – but it can take between half an hour and half a day.
Are all electric cars automatic?
Yes, electric cars don’t use a gearbox, so all are classed as automatic.