Today let’s chat electric vehicles and the three things you need to think about before you buy an electric vehicle. I’m concentrating on using electric vehicles at home – if you are looking for specific advice on electric vehicles for businesses and electric vehicle charging for business then bear in mind that your considerations might be slightly different.
1. New or secondhand?
One of your top considerations should be whether you buy a brand new or secondhand electric vehicle.
Newer electric vehicles are likely to be able to cover an extended range before needing charging, due to ongoing battery life improvements. This will come at a cost – expect to spend more on a new electric vehicle compared to a secondhand one. Depending on where you live there may be interest-free loans or other incentives available to help towards the cost – ask the dealer and do your research locally.
Secondhand electric vehicles are not only cheaper but also more environmentally friendly. According to a study by Toyota in 2004, 28% of carbon dioxide emissions of a vehicle over its lifetime can occur during the manufacturing process and transport of the vehicle to the dealership. Buying secondhand therefore is a better choice environmentally, however, as mentioned above, the range your vehicle can cover may be reduced.
2. How far do you normally travel?
For most people, an electric vehicle is normally more than capable of covering your day to day journeys with ease, without the threat of running out of battery between charges.
If you regularly travel longer journeys – more than around 150 miles a day – you will need to work out if you are able to factor in at least a thirty-minute breaks to be able to charge up your vehicle at a rapid-charge point (where you can charge your battery by up to 80% in around 20-40 minutes) and that there are rapid-charge points convenient to your regular route. This time will be longer if you cannot access a rapid-charge point and need to use a slower charge point, or need to wait to access a charging point.
3. Where are you going to charge your electric vehicle?
For most people, being able to charge your electric vehicle at home is the preferred solution. It costs around £1000 to have an electric vehicle charging point installed in your home, however in some parts in the country grants of up to £800 are available to help towards the cost – so it pays to do your research.
If you live in a flat, or don’t have any off-street parking such as a garage or driveway, then you will need to do research into public charging stations near you. Zap, a map of UK public charging points, is useful for this.
Things to consider include how many charging points are there near your home; if charging points tend to be available at the times that you might want to charge your vehicle; if there are any parking restrictions and or costs associated with parking there to charge your vehicle; and if the charge points are rapid-charge or if they take longer to charge your vehicle.
Would you buy an electric vehicle if you could? Do you already drive one? If so, do share your experience in the comments below.