Step 1 – Where will you charge?
Let's start by thinking about where you can charge an electric car, we know that's what many people worry about.
If you have a drive or garage to charge your car at home it does makes life easier because you can have a home charge point installed. That’s the fastest, cheapest and safest way to charge.
If you don’t have the option to charge at home, find your nearest public charge point. This might mean an on-street charge point (lots of local councils have installed them), a trip to your local supermarket, petrol station or public car park, or charging your car at work. You can track down one of the 25,000 or so public charge points across the UK using What3words or Zap Map.
And there’s a third option – using a 3-pin cable. You can plug this in anywhere with a normal household socket – like you would a kettle or toaster. But as this can take 24 hours or more to fully charge it’s not very lifestyle friendly.
Step 2 - How do you drive?
Now let’s think about your daily commute and how many people you need to squeeze into your car.
The average UK round-trip commute is about 23 miles. That’s easily within the travelling range of any electric car, even the oldest second-hand models run for 60-80 miles or so on a full charge. If you regularly do longer journeys, look for an electric car with a more powerful battery. There are lots of new models that can do over 200 miles on a full charge.
Like petrol or diesel, most electric cars comfortably seat four people – or five at a squeeze. But what if you need something bigger? Until recently, you only had a few pricey electric cars to choose from. But that’s slowly changing with options on the market with six, seven or more seats. The Citroen ë-Spacetourer can fit almost a whole football team in.
Not all insurers cover bigger people carriers so make sure you get a quote first.
Step 3 – What’s your budget?
Electric cars can cost more than similar petrol or diesel cars, for example the petrol Volkswagen Up! is £13,660, but the electric Volkswagen e-Up! is £23,555. Once you get to premium models the price is usually about the same. For example, a Tesla Model 3 starts at £40,990 compared to a BMW 320i M Sport (petrol) which costs from £39,625.
But electric cars can easily save you over £1,000 every year in fuel, tax and maintenance (and more if you pay congestion charges in areas like Central London).
There are different ways to buy electric to make it more affordable like leasing – and some workplaces offer electric car salary sacrifice schemes where you pay less tax.