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The Ultimate Electric Car Guide

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1. What are the benefits of switching to electric?

More and more people are going electric, and we’re seeing charging stations popping up all over the country. Electric cars are now mainstream, and if you’re thinking about changing your vehicle, this is a great time to look at electric.

Why go electric?

  • Cheaper to run – cheaper to “fuel” than petrol or diesel
  • Cheaper maintenance, with fewer moving parts
  • Clean – they’re better for the environment, with no tailpipe emissions
  • Smoother – quieter and more comfortable to drive
  • Versatile – there are now plenty of different types and models of electric car 
  • Well-supported – you can get government grants to buy and install a home charger if you rent or live in a flat.

The downsides? The range is often a bit shorter than with petrol or diesel cars, though it’s simple to top up your battery whenever you need to, at home or at a public charge point. 

image of car 

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2. What do you need to know before you lease an electric car?

Are electric cars worth it in the long term?

Yes – they’re cheaper than petrol or diesel vehicles for tax, maintenance and fuelling costs, and these savings add up the longer you keep the car. 

One disadvantage is the high price of electric cars – and that’s one of the many reasons it makes sense to lease. ElectriX, with our leasing partner CBVC, offers a wide range of electric cars for lease on a Personal Contract Hire, Business Contract Hire basis, or through a salary sacrifice scheme. What’s more, some models can be delivered to you in as little as 30 days.

What’s it like to drive an electric car?

It’s pretty much the same as driving a petrol or diesel car. They’re easier to drive than a manual, and most drivers quickly get the hang of it.

Here’s what to expect:

  • It’s just like an automatic: there’s no gearstick, just a selector to choose between park, drive, neutral and reverse. Press the accelerator to speed up, press the brake to slow down
  • It’s quiet. You’ll soon get used to a silent start instead of your engine chugging to life
  • It’s nippy. They accelerate quickly because you get instant power. It takes a bit of time to get used to, so some cars have “chill” or “eco” modes you can start with
  • It doesn’t coast. When you slow down, it uses technology called “regenerative braking” to charge the battery. It makes things much more efficient and saves brake wear, but it feels a bit different.
man at a charging port 

Do you need a special licence for electric cars?

No – all that’s needed is a normal UK driving licence.

Are electric cars safe?

Yes, they are – they need to go through stringent safety assessments before they go to market.

Batteries have plenty of safety tech built in. A battery comprises lots of individually protected cells, so even if you damage one, it’s hard to damage them all at the same time.

They’re extremely unlikely to catch fire, especially compared with a petrol or diesel fuel tank.

There are also sensors that check battery health. If they spot a possible fault, they’ll give you plenty of warning so you can get it checked out.

And how do they cope with water? Battery packs are well sealed and fully weatherproof, so you don’t need to worry about your battery struggling with car washes, puddles or standing water.

Plenty of electric cars get top-mark 5-star safety ratings from Euro NCAP too, which means they’re some of the safest cars on the road.

Are electric cars less reliable than petrol or diesel cars?

No – they’re very reliable. They don’t have as many moving parts as petrol or diesel cars, so there’s no clutch, gearbox, spark plugs or exhaust to go wrong. They also generate less vibration, which reduces the wear on other parts and keeps maintenance costs down.

Should I lease an electric car now or wait?

While technology’s always improving, now’s a great time to get started with electric cars. Cars that use modern lithium-ion batteries have been on the road for over a decade, which has given manufacturers more than enough time to get over the teething troubles. 

 
 

What should I look for when leasing an electric car?

As with any car, it’s worth doing your homework. When you’re trying to work out what’s right for you, there are plenty of questions you should ask:

What’s the range and how big is the battery? And can I use all types of public charger? 

It’s also worth talking to owners. Check social media for local and regional electric car driver groups and see if they’re planning any get-togethers. There are also some big events like Fully Charged LIVE, where you can see and test drive a range of cars.

How do you service an electric car?

Just like a petrol or diesel, you can either use your local dealer or a mobile service. If you’d prefer to use an independent local garage, many electric-friendly garages are registered with the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Repair Alliance (HEVRA). If you choose to lease a car, you can usually opt to include servicing and maintenance as part of your agreement.

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3. How do you charge electric cars?

What sort of electric car chargers are there?

There are two main types: standard chargers and rapid chargers.

Standard chargers are the most common. They’re the sort you’ll have fitted at your home and at supermarkets and car parks. They’re great when you’re parking up for a while: you just plug in and charge up while you’re getting on with something else. You’ll need to bring your own charging cable, which should come with your car – although home chargers usually come with a charging cable attached, or “tethered”.

Rapid chargers are seriously fast, and you’ll often find them at fuel stations and motorway services. They’re a bit more expensive to use, but they can give you up to an 80% charge in 30-40 minutes.

How many different electric car charging plug types are there?

For both standard and rapid chargers, there are different plug types, which may have different power ratings. The higher the power rating, the faster your car will top up (as long as your car can handle the speed).

Standard chargers

Type 1

These 5-pin sockets were the first on the market. They’re rare on new cars, but you’ll still find them on older models. 

Type 2

These 7-pin sockets are the most common. They’re included on almost all new cars, and have a locking mechanism built in.

Rapid chargers

CCS (Combined Charging System)

This 9-pin connector is the most common rapid-charger format, and it’s what you’ll see on most cars.

CHAdeMO

This 4-pin connector is less common, but you’ll see it on some older cars such as the Nissan LEAF.

 

graphic of Type 1 connector (with 5 pins) and Type 2 connector (with 7 pins)

graphic of CCS connector (with 9 pins) and CHAdeMO connector (with 4 pins)

How fast are electric car chargers?

Different chargers have different power ratings, measured in kilowatts (kW). The higher the rating, the faster the charger.

 Your car’s on-board charger also has a kilowatt rating – and you can’t charge faster than that rating. If, for example, your car has a 100kW on-board charger and you plug it into a 150kW rapid charger, you’ll only charge at 100kW. 

According to Pod Point this is how much range you can get by charging a Hyundai Hyundai KONA Electric 64 kWh for one hour:

ChargerLocationRange per hour of charging
3.6kWHome / work15 miles
7kWHome / work / public chargers28 miles
50kWPublic rapid chargers99 miles (based on 30 mins charging in the 20-80% battery band)
150kWPublic rapid charger153 miles (based on 30 mins charging in the 20-80% battery band)

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

This depends on how much you pay for your electricity. Usally, the cheapest way is to charge at home using an EV friendly off-peak tariff. If you’re really lucky, your employer might even pay for the electricity from a charger at your workplace!

How do I charge an electric car at home?

The simplest way is to install a wall-mounted charge point, or “smart charger”, such as the Indra Smart PRO, in partnership with ElectriX. Some chargers come with a cable already attached, so you can just park up and plug in. It’s about the size of a shoebox, and you’ll need a qualified electrician to fit it. You can also get government grants for installing it if you rent or live in a flat.
 
If neither of these work for you, you could find a community charge point or charge at work (plenty of employers offer charge points now). It’s also worth thinking about where you park during the week: is there a charger at the supermarket or your gym? Some may even be free to use.

 

How do I charge an electric car on a journey?

The first step? Find a charger on our charge point map. Alternatively, you could download a charge point app. Most motorway service stations now have chargers, so you can plug in while you’re taking a break.
 
The map or app should tell you whether it’s a standard charger or rapid charger, and what sort of plug it needs. If you’re staying somewhere for a few hours a standard charger might do the job. If you’re using a rapid charger, you can add a lot of power in the time it takes for a coffee and comfort break.

 

Does my driving style affect range?

Just like a petrol or diesel car, smoother driving is more efficient. If you accelerate hard and brake a lot you’ll use more power than if you accelerate gently and let the car’s regenerative braking slow you down. And as with petrol or diesel, higher speeds also use more power, so driving faster is less efficient.
 
Other factors have an effect, too. Batteries are less efficient when they’re cold, while hilly journeys use more energy than flat ones.

 

Are electric cars suitable only for urban driving?

While electric cars are well suited to town and city driving, they’re also great for cross-country journeys.
 
More than half of the electric cars now on the market can travel over 200 miles on a full charge and over a third can do more than 250 miles. The average daily journey in the UK is under 30 miles, so electric cars are ideal for most trips. Some parts of the country have more chargers than others, though, so you should check there’s somewhere to top up before you hit the road.
 

Girl at an electric car port

 

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4. Is going electric right for you?

What are the steps I need to take towards leasing an electric car?

There are three big questions you need to ask yourself before you go for it. They’ll help you work out if electric is right for you, how you’d charge your car and how you’d use it.

1. How will I charge an electric car?

If you have a drive or garage, you can install a home smart charger. It’s the fastest, cheapest, safest and easiest way of charging up.

If not, hunt out your nearest public charger. There are about 37,000 (December 2022) in the UK, and you can find your nearest on a charge point map or app. They’re getting more and more common at supermarkets, petrol stations and in public car parks. There are also community schemes to let people share their own points with other drivers. Lots of employers also provide charge points, so you might be able to charge at work.

2. How will I use an electric car?

We all use our cars a bit differently, so think about how far you drive each day – and how many people you might take.

In the UK, the average commute is 23 miles a day, there-and-back; most new cars can do 200+ miles on a full charge. But the further a car’s range, the bigger the battery you need. So do your sums first and you might be fine spending less on a shorter-range model.

Most electric cars can fit four or five people comfortably. But you can also find smaller and larger cars. Electric superminis like the Fiat 500 are spacious in the front and smaller in the back, while bigger family wagons like the Citroen ë-Spacetourer can fit up to nine people.

3. How much should I spend on leasing an electric car?

This will depend on the factors discussed above – such as your average daily mileage, how many passengers you usually have and what type of car do you need to suit your lifestyle  

Once you know if an electric car’s right for you, it’s time to start thinking about what sort of car you want to drive.

If you’re still not sure, take our quiz to find out if an electric car is right for you. If you decide to go electric,  ElectriX  has a broad selection of cars that will suit your leasing needs. 

 

electric charging bays

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5. Leasing an electric car from ElectriX

You’ll need to take some credit and affordability checks first. Then you just pay a deposit, make regular monthly payment until the contract ends and you give your car back. It’s perfect for drivers who like getting a new car, but you’ll need to look after it carefully and give it back in good condition (there’s an agreement about what “fair wear and tear” means).

What are the benefits of leasing an electric car from ElectriX?

  • We offer a one-stop shop for leasing, charging and insurance
  •  Get a brand-new car every few years
  •  Option to include servicing and maintenance with service contract
  •  Fixed monthly payments
  • 30 day delivery on some models

To find the perfect electric car to lease for you, visit our leasing partner’s website – some cars are available to lease within 30 days.  

 
   

What grants are available?

To encourage people to go electric, there are a few government incentives to help bring the cost down:

Plug-in vehicle grant

As of June 2022, the following low-emission vehicles may be eligible for a plug-in grant: wheelchair accessible vehicles, mopeds, motorcycles, taxis, trucks and vans. The value of the grant will vary, depending on the vehicle type.

See the full list of eligible plug-in vehicles. 

Electric vehicle charge point grant

You may be eligible for up to £350 or 75% off the cost and installation of a home charger (whichever is lower) if you rent your property or live in a flat. Installing a charge point in a flat or rented accommodation.  

Salary sacrifice schemes

This means paying for a car lease straight from your salary before you pay tax. If your employer offers it, you can really bring the cost down. Salary sacrifice schemes

Company car benefits

If you run your own business, there’s a very low benefit-in-kind on electric cars. It’s been set at 2% until 2025 and will increase by 1% per year after that until 2028.

 
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6. How much does it cost to run an electric car?

Electric cars are cheaper to run than petrol or diesel, whether you’re talking about tax, maintenance or fuel. On average, electric car drivers save about £1,000 a year. That’s a big difference.

How much does it cost to maintain, service and repair an electric car?

Like most new cars, electric vehicles rarely break down. Brake pads don’t wear down as quickly as those on petrol or diesel cars. Tyres can wear slightly faster than those on petrol or diesel cars because of the higher torque. And service costs can be cheaper because there aren’t as many moving parts. Drivers often find the difference gets bigger as a car gets older, because electric cars have fewer parts to wear out.

How much is electric car tax?

Because there aren’t any emissions at the tailpipe, vehicle excise duty on electric cars is currently zero. However, following the announcement in the Autumn 2022 statement, there will be a charge from 2025. 

How much does it cost to install an electric charger at home?

Prices vary depending on the charger you choose and who installs it. You can get an Indra Smart Pro Charger for £1,149 including installation and VAT
– and you might be eligible for a £350 grant if you rent or live in a flat.

 
 

Lease an electric car

Choose an electric car lease with ElectriX and CBVC to:

  • Choose your dream electric car – pick the car you want the way you want it
  • Plan your costs – fixed monthly payments
  • Go personal or business – lease in your own name or through your business
 
See leasing offers
ElectriX is not a lender and introduces customers to CBVC Vehicle Management Ltd, who are a credit broker that use a panel of lenders. ElectriX will receive a commission for introductions that result in credit agreements being entered into.