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Electric Car FAQ's

Your Questions Answered

Electric Vehicles are powered either fully, or in part, by electricity, as opposed to exclusively relying on petrol or diesel. EVs can be either 100% electric or combined with a traditional gas-powered engine to form a ‘hybrid’ car. Our extensive FAQ list will hopefully be able to answer any queries you may have. If you still do not have the answers you're searching for, drop us an email ... and one of our electric experts will get back to you. 

How do electric cars work?

Electric cars are powered purely by electricity as they don’t rely on petrol or diesel. The electricity is stored in rechargeable batteries that control the electric motors which then power the wheels. The battery can then be charged via a wall socket (at home) or dedicated charging point (found at multiple locations).

Are electric cars noisy?

No, electric cars omit less noise due to the absence of a gas-powered engine.

Who makes electric cars?

There’s a wide choice of electric vehicles available to buy from a variety of manufacturers – EV options will continue to grow over the coming years. A couple of the top manufacturers with an electrical vehicle offer are Jaguar, BMW, MINI, Vauxhall, Audi, Nissan, Renault, Tesla, Audi, Mercedes, Skoda, Maserati, Seat, Kia, Fiat, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Honda, Volvo and Ford

How fast can electric cars go?

Electrifyingly fast! As electric cars don’t need a traditional gearbox,  the instant torque provided by the electric motors can see EVs reach from 0-60mph in under 2 seconds.

How far can an electric car travel?

On Average, most electric vehicles can travel about 100 miles before needing recharged, however premium EVs like the Jaguar i-Pace (awarded 2019 World Car of the Year) can travel up to 250 miles.

How long do electric cars last?

Electric cars are designed for extended life and will last longer than traditional fuel cars as there will be fewer mechanical problems. Most EV batteries are warranted for 8 years/100,000 miles.

How environmentally friendly are electric cars?

EVs provide a variety of eco-friendly benefits for the environment as they don’t emit as much carbon emissions as traditional fuel cars and have limited noise pollution.

Are they safe to drive?

Electric cars are as safe to drive as conventional vehicles.

What is a PHEV car?

 PHEV stands for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

What does BEV stand for?

BEV stands for Battery Electric Vehicles. These vehicles are also referred to a “all-electric” vehicles as they required no fuel to run

Difference between a PHEV and BEV?

The main difference is that a PHEV operates by both battery and fuel – the car will typically run on electric power until the battery becomes depleted allowing the car to automatically switch to fuel to continue the journey whereas a BEV care operate solely by battery and will need recharged once  the battery becomes depleted.

Benefits of buying an electric car?

There are several benefits to buying an EV some of which are; cheaper to run due to lower running costs, cheaper to maintain, tax incentives, government grants, free charging stations and they’re better for the environment.

Are electric cars reliable?

Branded as high-tech cars of the future, electric vehicles are branded more reliable than traditional fuel vehicles due to less maintenance and they’re equipped with a warranty that spans 8 years and 100,000 miles.

Which is the best electric car?

Tesla EVs continually come out on top as one of the best EVs however, the Jaguar i-Pace was awarded 2019 World Car of the Year  - definitely one to add to your watch list!

How does an electronic car drive?

Electronic cars are growing in popularity as a result of their smooth driving experience, cheap running costs and quiet existence.

How long do electric batteries last?

EV batteries are under warranty by manufacturers for 8 years/100,000 miles, however there are a number of factors that can affect battery lifespan such as; temperature and overcharging.

How often do you have to replace the battery?

This will depend on the manufacturer warranty as well as the usage – on average most batteries will be replaced every 5-8 years. Batteries that power electric cars can be recycled.

Where can I charge an electric car?

You can charge an electric car at home or at a public charging station. You can find charging stations here: https://www.zap-map.com/

How long do electric cars take to charge?

The time taken to charge an EV depends on the size of the battery and the speed of charging point – see more info here:

  • Slow Charger (up to 3kw)
  • Fast chargers (7-22kw)
  • Rapid chargers (43-120kw)
  • Super chargers (150kw)

Is it free to charge your car in public?

Some charging station are free to use and other (mostly ones that offer a rapid charging station) will require a fee.

Does the same plug charge all electric vehicles?

No, most EVs will be supplied with 2 charging cables;

  • Mode 2 charging cable which is used for connecting your car to an ordinary domestic socket (3 pin plug) for at-home charging.
  • Mode 3 charging cable which will connect your car to the charging station.

How much do electric cars cost?

The cost to charge an electric car will vary depending on where you charge it, mileage range and what size of battery the car has.

Most convenient and cost-effect way to charge your car.A typical electric car (60kw battery/200 mile range) will cost you around £9 to charge at home, most work places that have installed electric chargers will offer free charging as will public charge points at supermarkets/car parks. Rapid charging points will usually cost under £10 for a 30 min charge (100 mile range) and will most commonly be found at motorway service stations.

Can I get funding to install a charger at home?

Yes, the government offer a grant to install a dedicated home charge point at home.

Are electric cars automatic?

Electric vehicles (EVs) typically operate using one gear, with some high-end EVs opting for a second gear to support driving performance. Cars with an internal combustion engine are supported by a gearbox with multiple gears to allow for more efficient driving at different speeds. Electric cars, however, do not require a combustion engine, so gears are of no value to an EV. Due to the lack of a gearbox, a clutch is not required on an electric vehicle, which means they can’t be stalled like a conventional vehicle with a manual gearbox. This typically leaves two pedals, an accelerator and a brake pedal, which essentially means an EV is an automatic car. Some car manufacturers are exploring the viability of producing electric cars with multi-speed gearboxes in a bid to create normality for UK drivers who are accustomed to manual driving. However, for now, and most likely in the future, electric cars will be automatic.

Are electric cars better for the environment?

Electric cars are undoubtedly better for the environment than conventional vehicles. Fully electric cars don’t have an engine or an exhaust pipe which means they don’t emit any carbon dioxide when they are driven. Whilst an EV requires electricity to charge the onboard battery, which creates C02 emissions during the production process, nearly 50% of the UK’s energy is created via renewable sources allowing for cleaner electricity to power EV’s. In addition, most utility providers now offer homes the option of moving to a renewable energy tariff so EV drivers can have peace of mind their car is as environmentally friendly as possible. However, this does not mean electric vehicles are completely harmless to the environment especially when you factor in the production of the cars. Vehicle manufacturers still have a long way to go to ensure EV’s are carbon neutral/negative but they are definitely on the right path to ensuring their manufacturing processes are as clean as possible.

Are electric cars cheaper to run?

Electric cars are significantly cheaper to run in comparison to conventional vehicles. While EVs are typically more expensive to buy than their internal combustion counterparts, the cost of running an EV can offset the higher purchase price or ongoing monthly payments over the life of the car.For example, by running an EV, you can expect to see your fuel costs halved, or with regular home charging, roughly a third of what you would pay for fuel today. Fully electric cars are currently exempt from paying road tax, and the maintenance costs are typically lower due to fewer movable parts that require servicing. If you wish to uncover the true cost of owning an electric vehicle and the reasoning behind its cheaper running costs, then check out this page.

Are electric cars cheaper to insure?

Like insuring a conventional car, the cost of insuring an EV can vary depending on the brand of the car, its value, the insurance provider you use, and other factors, such as where the car is kept overnight. When electric cars first arrived on our roads, they were typically more expensive to insure due to the ambiguity surrounding EV’s and a lack of historical data on repair and battery replacement costs. Now that EV’s have been on our roads for several years and insurance providers have a greater understanding of the technology, premiums for electric vehicles have been reduced significantly and are more aligned with those of conventional cars.

Are electric cars exempt from the congestion charge?

Yes, fully electric cars are exempt from the central London congestion charge. Hybrid cars are required to pay the congestion charge, having previously been exempt. The congestion charge exemption is scheduled to last a few years, which is great news for drivers of fully electric cars. However, from December 2025, zero-emission cars will also be required to pay to enter the congestion charge zone.

Can I buy a second-hand electric car?

In short, yes you can. Buying a pre-owned EV is identical to purchasing a conventional used car, and most motor retailers stock a range of second-hand electric cars to buy, with premium brands typically holding their resale value for longer. When purchasing a second-hand EV, there are several items you should check prior to purchase. Checking how long remains on the battery warranty will give you peace of mind before buying, and it’s recommended to check how much range is displayed from a full charge to understand how much the battery life has been lost since the car was first registered. It is typical for a battery to lose some range over several years, but be cautious of any major losses when looking at second-hand electric cars.

Can electric cars charge themselves?

As attractive as this prospect sounds, it is unfortunately not possible. In short, electric cars can’t charge themselves, but many vehicles have the ability to regenerate power and put this back into the onboard battery. Many EV’s are produced with a regenerative braking function, which means power is redirected back into the battery when a driver takes their foot off the accelerator and/or presses the brake pedal. While the reproduction of power is minimal in these circumstances, if a fully electric car is driven efficiently, the regenerative braking function can increase the overall range of the car.

Can you charge and drive an electric car in the rain?

Living in Britain and being unable to drive in the rain would be very limiting, don’t you think? We were taught to avoid playing with electricity, especially in wet conditions, so it’s a viable question. However, we are here to reassure you that electric cars are perfectly capable of charging and driving in the wettest of conditions. Outdoor electrical equipment must adhere to certain standards, so EV charging equipment is completely waterproof and suitable for charging in any weather condition. Like conventional vehicles, EVs perform equally well in wet conditions, and rain does not impact the cars' ability. Electric cars have been carefully designed to perform and charge, even in the harshest of environments. There is certainly no reason to be sceptical about electric cars and charging in the rain as they were designed accordingly. And last of all, electric cars are perfectly fine to be put through a car wash!

Do electric cars require oil changes?

Thankfully, as an EV owner, this is another factor you don’t have to worry about when compared to a conventional vehicle. Oil is not necessary for a fully electric vehicle as they don’t have an internal combustion engine like you would find in a conventional vehicle. And because EV’s don’t require an oil change, combined with having fewer movable parts than a petrol or diesel car, servicing costs are typically lower when compared to running a conventional vehicle. However, it's important to remember that this is strictly for fully electric vehicles; hybrid models still operate with a conventional engine and will require oil changes as part of their regular maintenance cycles.

Can electric car batteries be recycled?

Electric car batteries are comprised of thousands of individual lithium-ion cells working together and, when dismantled correctly and safely, can be recycled perfectly well. The process typically involves separating out the valuable materials, which can be dangerous if precautions are not taken. Car batteries should be recycled at certified battery electronics recyclers as opposed to being discarded at home. Many schemes are in place to recycle older EV batteries that are no longer fit for their original purpose. Older batteries are being refurbished to help power a new wave of EVs entering our roads, and many corporations have turned to using a combination of redundant EV batteries and solar panels for storing self-generated energy to help power buildings and reduce their carbon footprint.

How long will my electric car's battery last?

Batteries on electric cars have many similarities to those that power mobile phones. Therefore, you can expect to see a small reduction in range over a long period of time, but there are many precautions an EV driver can take to prolong their car’s battery life. Keeping the battery regularly charged between 20 and 80 percent will help maintain performance, and it’s advised to only charge the car when the battery needs topping up, rather than plugging in overnight for the sake of it. Thankfully, most vehicle manufacturers offer an eight-year warranty on their batteries in electric cars, which ensures drivers have peace of mind should a fault occur. Therefore, if your battery sees a significant reduction in range or performance, you will be covered by the manufacturer for a repair or replacement at no additional cost. Predictions vary on how long an EV battery will last, but a common theme suggests between 10 and 20 years. Head over to our charging page to find out more information.

Where is my nearest charging station?

It’s probably closer than you think! As of January 2022, there are 29,000 publicly accessible charging devices in the UK for EV drivers to use. There are several ways to locate your nearest public charging station, but we would recommend using an app called Zap Map, which provides consolidated visibility of the public charging networks in the UK. However, if you have access to off-street parking at home, then we would highly recommend installing a dedicated electric vehicle charge point at your property, as this will become your main source for recharging your EV, which in turn reduces the reliance on using public charging infrastructure. The number of public charging stations is expected to grow year on year with several large investments secured to develop the infrastructure in the UK and to grow in line with the increased number of EV’s on UK roads.

How does the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars affect me?

In an attempt to reduce its environmental impact, the UK government imposed a ban on the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars from 2030. From this date, new petrol and diesel cars can not be sold. After this period, used petrol and diesel cars will continue to be sold; they will not be phased out entirely, but they are likely to be expensive to run. If you own a conventional vehicle, you can continue driving on the roads for the foreseeable future. You will only be affected if you had planned on purchasing a brand new petrol or diesel car after the year 2030.

Will the National Grid be able to cope with a huge increase in electric cars?

The short answer is yes! The National Grid has gone on record to say that if every car in the UK was switched to an EV overnight, then they would only expect to see a 10 percent increase in power demand to "fuel" electric cars, and the nation would still be using less power than was drawn in off the grid in 2002. So, whilst the capacity is there to cope with the demand, the National Grid is cautious to avoid huge peaks in power demand between the hours of 6pm and 8pm, when most commuters return home from work and plug in. Fortunately, most EVs are built with a timer function, which means you can set your car to start charging at a pre-defined time, typically via a mobile phone app. EV drivers are encouraged to use this function as it allows the car to be charged through the night when the demand on the grid is much lower, plus many energy providers also offer lower electricity rates during these hours, so it’s a great way of reducing your electricity costs.