What's an electric car?

Electric cars – the basics  

It might sound a bit of an obvious question, after all isn’t an electric car, well electric? 

But car manufacturers are making things tricky by calling different types of cars electrified, even when they aren’t a pure electric car.  

An electric car uses electric motors to move the wheels and the power comes from a battery. You charge your battery by plugging it in, kind of like giant smartphone. And you can do that at home or at one of the 29,000 or so public charge points across the UK.  

You don’t need to fill it with petrol or diesel, just plain old electricity and as a bonus there are no nasty emissions coming from the car. You might hear electric cars called EVs (electric vehicles) or BEVs (battery electric vehicles). This type of car is your best option if you want to go greener and reduce running costs.  

Reasons to make the switch to electric:

  • Smoother and generally more comfortable drive    
  • There’s no engine, so less to go wrong    
  • Easier to drive as they’re automatic 
  • Cheaper maintenance       
  • No high costs for petrol and diesel 
  • Clever apps to make your life easier – defrost your car while sat in bed 
  • Cars for everyone – from a nippy city zip about to a luxury ride     
  • Governments grants to help you buy your car and install a home charge point.


What's the difference between petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric cars?

We all know what petrol and diesel cars are. But you've maybe also heard about hybrids, or electrified cars, as well as fully electric cars and are a bit confused about the differences between them.

Find out more