Electric cars on finance
As more and more electric vehicles (EVs) come onto the market, the number of used electric cars available on finance will only increase over time. But what are they, and what are the benefits of buying one on finance?
What is an electric car?
An electric car is powered by a battery rather than a traditional combustion engine as petrol and diesel cars are. They’re increasing in popularity in the car market because of the environmental and economical benefits – plus, car manufacturers won’t be able to make new conventional combustion engine cars as of 2035.
What types of electric cars are there?
When it comes to choosing which electric car you’d like to buy, there are lots of things to consider. Not only are you making the decision based on your personal preferences, but there are also a variety of types of EV on the market that all work slightly differently. These differences will directly impact your choice, so let’s take a closer look.
Battery electric vehicle (BEV)
This is a fully electric vehicle that is powered by a battery – they don’t have a combustion engine that you’d find on a conventional petrol or diesel car. When it comes to range, BEVs have a far bigger range to drive on electric-only power vs other EV types. Depending on the make and model, they can cover between 100-300 miles!
Plug-In hybrid (PHEV)
Plug-in hybrid cars have both an electric battery and a conventional diesel or petrol engine. As the name suggests, the battery will need to be plugged in to be charged. It is closer to a fully electric vehicle, but you still get the benefits of a car with a traditional combustion engine.
With a PHEV, once the battery has run out of charge (usually covering a relatively short distance of up to 60 miles, depending on the manufacturer) the engine kicks in to fuel the rest of your journey.
Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV)
A hybrid EV is similar to a PHEV, just minus the charging element. Their batteries have the power to charge themselves, meaning that HEVs are also sometimes referred to as ‘self-charging hybrids’.
Another type of HEV is known as a ‘mild hybrid’. These have a much smaller battery, which rather than helping to power the car, instead assists the engine. The battery helps the car get up to speeds of roughly 15-20 MPH, after which the combustion engine does the rest of the work.
How do you charge an electric car?
How you charge an EV is dependent on the type of vehicle you have. For example, you will need to use charge points for a plug-in or BEV, whereas a hybrid EV will charge itself when the battery is not being used. If you do have a car that needs charging, here’s how you do it:
If you’re thinking about buying an EV, it’s important to consider how you’re going to ensure that your car is charged. Thankfully, electric vehicle charging points are becoming increasingly available, making it easier than ever to park up and plug in. There are three places you can charge your EV:
At home – most of your charging will be done overnight. If you have a driveway or garage, the cheapest and most convenient way is to install a dedicated charge point.
At work – you can charge your car if your workplace has a charge point installed; this is a good alternative if you don’t have access to off-street parking at home.
Public charging – you can find public chargers at car parks, supermarkets or at the side of the road. For longer journeys, there are often public EV chargers at service stations.
How much does it cost to run an electric car?
The costs of running an electric car can vary depending on several factors, including the cost of electricity, the efficiency of the vehicle, your driving habits, and the specific model. The biggest costs associated with keeping and maintaining an EV include:
In the UK, there are government electric car grants that help make owning an EV more affordable. These exist to encourage more people to purchase electric vehicles, which in turn lowers co2 emissions. Some of the main grants are:
EV chargepoint grant – If you’re looking to install a dedicated charge point at home, the grant will cover up to 75% of the costs of installing a home charge point, up to a limit of £350 including VAT. The grant is available to you if you rent or own a flat with dedicated off-street parking. This grant is only available if you live in a flat, not if you own a house.
Workplace charging scheme – Like the EV charge point grant, the workplace charging scheme allows businesses and public-sector organisations to claim up to £350 per socket, up to a maximum of 75% of the cost of up to 40 sockets.
One of the biggest advantages of buying a used car that is electric is that you pay a cheaper price than you would if you were to buy the car new. Because of the advanced technology of an electric car, EVs often come with a much higher price tag. While this can mean that brand new EVs are not affordable for the majority of drivers, it makes a used electric vehicle a great choice for many. Other advantages include:
Better for the environment – different types of EVs will have different environmental impacts, but generally they don’t emit gases in the same way that conventional cars do.
Running costs – the running costs can be quite a bit cheaper than those of a conventional car. Predominantly petrol and diesel costs are higher than electricity, which means you could be saving money with an EV.
Performance – as more and more manufacturers have created EVs, their performance keeps getting better. That’s not to say they’re better than conventional vehicles, but EV technology is certainly improving.
Low or no vehicle tax – if you choose a fully electric vehicle then you won’t need to pay any road tax on the car (until April 2025 at least). If your car is a hybrid, then you will have to pay road tax, but this will be lower than what you would pay for a conventional vehicle.
Better resale value – it’s likely that over time, electric vehicles will hold their value better than a diesel or petrol car, due to rising fuel costs. Manufacturers won’t be able to produce new cars with a combustion engine as of 2035, which will also increase the value of EVs.