With electric vehicles (EVs) featuring regularly in the media and in vehicle comparisons, and a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars being brought forward to 2030, the question lingers in early 2022, is it worth it to buy an electric vehicle? Is now the right time to switch to electric? We reviewed current research and insights into EVs to provide an up to date summary.
Are there enough charging points?
Although it is tricky to say how many charging points are needed to deal with extra demand by 2030, stats show that as of November 2020, motorists are never more than 25 miles away from a rapid charge point, which is within the range of all EVs today.
Currently there are around 28,749 EV charging stations in the UK, as of January 7th 2022, providing 48,547 electric car charging connectors!
With the 2030 ban coming up, the prime minister also promised to invest 1.3 billion pounds in accelerating the roll-out of home charging points and street chargers in the UK and on motorways across England. The number of charging stations available will grow quickly, significantly before the 2030 ban takes effect.
What needs to happen to improve charging availability?
Motorists and private companies will need to undertake efforts to install charging devices to make sure there are enough chargepoints for all EV owners. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme provides a grant of up to £350 to aid EV owners with installation costs of chargers, which will also offset public charger demands. There is also the workplace charging scheme, which is designed to help employers with the upfront and installation costs of chargepoints. Being able to recharge a battery whilst at work can make owning an electric vehicle possible for drivers who don’t have off-street parking.
Conversion of traditional fuel forecourts
A core part of supporting the shift to electric from conventional fuels is traditional forecourts and big names in fuel converting to electric chargers, with market leaders already having added electric chargers alongside their petrol and diesel pumps. BP and Shell have been focusing efforts on installing rapid-charging posts into service stations, pledging hundreds of charging points on their forecourts, which were installed in 2021. Tesco and leading supermarkets have also committed to (and started executing) the installation of a significant amount of EV charging stations.
Can I afford a new electric car?
Reports show that in the first eight months of 2021, fully electric cars accounted for 8.4% of new sales in the UK, a gain of 106.7% on the same time frame in 2020. However even in 2020, if you factor in hybrids and plug-in models as well, electric vehicles accounted for one in every ten cars sold.
Nevertheless, despite the perks of electric vehicles, the upfront cost is still typically more expensive than a petrol or diesel equivalent. There are some government pledges and incentives that can ease the cost of forking out for a new EV, discussed below.
Grants for low-emission vehicles
The government are offering a scheme that pays 35% of the price of a low-emission vehicle up to £3000. The maximum grant available for cars in £1500. (Although motorcycles, mopeds, small and large vans, taxis, trucks and wheelchair accessible vehicles are also eligible).
Cars must cost less than £50,000 with CO2 emissions less than 50g/km and be able to drive at least 70 miles (112km) without producing any emissions at all. This discount is offered through the dealership and manufacturer.
Home charging grant
The electric vehicle homecharge scheme offers a 75% contribution (with a grant cap of £350) towards the cost of a home charging point and its installation. You must own, lease or have ordered an eligible vehicle to qualify for this grant and have off-street parking at your home.
The government have confirmed plans to introduce green number plates for new electric cars. This distinction will allow local government authorities to roll out local incentives for cleaner vehicles in the future.
London residents who receive certain benefits can apply for a grant of up to £2000 to scrap cars and motorcycles that don’t meet the new Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) standards. Some car manufacturers may also offer scrappage schemes to encourage drivers to select a cleaner new car. However aside from this, there is currently no government-backed scrappage scheme to aid in buying an electric vehicle.
Tax on electric vehicles
Electric vehicle owners do not pay car tax, however while they’re exempt from any fees, they must still process their car with the DVLA’s tax portal.
Moving forward, suggestions of pay-as-you-drive road tax, increased use of toll roads and more clean air zones might be considered.
How do EVs compare to the hybrid equivalent?
The ban coming in in 2030 doesn’t prevent new hybrid vehicles from being sold. The government has advised that new cars and vans can be sold between 2030-2035 if they have the capability to travel a significant distance with zero emissions (including plug-in or full hybrids). Essentially meaning new hybrid cars can be sold until 2035.
Some things to consider when weighing up whether to purchase a pure-electric vehicle or hybrid is; upfront costs, running costs, range, maintenance and environmental impact.
- In terms of upfront cost, EVs are typically more costly than their hybrid counterpart. Hybrid cars have also been more widely available than EVs for a certain amount of time now, meaning it’s easier to pick up an affordable one.
- Considering free charging opportunities, a cheap energy provider and tax exemption, EVs are more affordable to run than hybrids.
- Historically, hybrid cars have been a first choice for people driving longer distances, however with improvements to both the range of EVs and charging infrastructure, range is becoming less of a pain point.
- In respect to maintenance EVs are generally easier to maintain, with fewer moving parts and opportunity for anything to go wrong! However, if a serious problem comes up it may be harder to locate a garage to fix this so if you’re unlucky you may have to fork out a premium.
- Focusing on the environmental impact, EVs do not produce tailpipe emissions (unlike hybrids), and Transport & Environment reported in 2021 that hybrid cars may be more polluting than is claimed by the manufacturers. EVs are the clear winner if environmentally friendly driving is your priority.
Idea on price
At the cheaper end of the spectrum for EVs in 2022 you have the Smart EQ ForTwo starting at £20.725, Fiat 500 – £21,995, Vauxhall Corsa-e – £25,805, Mini Electric – £27,000, ranging up to the luxurious Porsche Taycan starting from just over £70,000 for its new entry level 4S model (the Turbo and Turbo S models costing around £116,000 and £139,000 respectively), or Tesla Model X new for 2022, starting from £90,980.
– Are you able to install a charging point, or get easy access to charge your EV at an affordable location?
– Are you able to fund your new EV purchase? Despite the many pros of the new electric vehicles and government grants backing this, costs are still significantly higher at initial purchase than for the petrol or diesel equivalent.
– Don’t dismiss the hybrid, do your research about the pros and cons and different models you might be interested in and see what works for you!
At Budget insurance we offer flexible cover for electric vehicles, for more information and to get a quote click here.