Thinking of making the switch to an EV but still have a few questions?

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been asked:

What is an EV?

An EV is a vehicle that operates using an electric motor powered by a battery.

It is charged up by being plugged into a compatible EV ChargePoint instead of relying on petrol or diesel.

How do EVs work?

  • Pure or Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) operate using an electric motor powered by a battery 100% of the time.


  • Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (E-REVs or REEVs) operate as electric vehicles all the time, but a small engine can act as a generator for the battery if it becomes depleted. There are currently no Extended-Range Electric Cars on sale in the UK, although there are some Extended-Range Electric taxis, vans and trucks.


  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) feature an electric motor powered by a small battery, and usually a petrol engine, or occasionally a diesel engine. PHEVs typically only have a short electric driving range, possibly between 20-50 miles (depending on make and model); the vehicle can operate on its petrol or diesel engine for longer journeys.

How many different EV models are there?

There are currently over 80 different models of EVs available in the UK (compared with just 18 in 2018). The number of makes and models of electric cars is increasing month by month, and this trend is set to accelerate over the coming years.

Already there is an electric vehicle in most car body styles and there are increasing numbers of electric vans coming to market, and even electric trucks and buses.

How much do EVs cost?

Most electric vehicles cost from around £20,000 to £100,000.

Some electric vehicles are more expensive to buy than similar petrol vehicles, but electric vehicles have much lower running costs – fuel costs can typically be around one-fifth of the fuel costs of petrol vehicles – so EVs are usually cheaper to run on a whole life cost basis than petrol or diesel vehicles.

Forecasts suggest that EVs will reach cost parity with petrol vehicles in the years to come. The residual values of EVs are also rising.

Can you buy second-hand EVs?

There are now increasing numbers of second-hand electric cars and the growing used EV market is one of the most popular places for first-time EV buyers because it offers industry-leading technology for a more affordable price.

What is the driving range of EVs?

Battery electric cars can vary between 100-400 miles before requiring charging. According to the SMMT, the average distance an electric car can travel on a single charge is now 236 miles.

A 100 mile range may be enough for a car that is primarily used in the city, whereas a 300 mile range is more useful for a car that is frequently used on motorways.

Plug-in hybrids will commonly have a electric-only range between 20-50 miles before switching to running on the petrol or diesel engine.

What are EVs like to drive?

When most people try an EV for the first time they prefer the driving experience to that of a petrol or diesel vehicle. This is because EVs are virtually silent, they’re very refined, and they have instantly available torque, which means strong, linear acceleration.

There’s no clutch and no changing of gears. And most EVs have their batteries in the floor, resulting in a low centre of gravity, and therefore good handling.

In summary, they find EVs easier and better to drive. This feedback is typical for people trying both electric cars and electric vans. Once people have driven an EV the vast majority don’t want to go back to a petrol or a diesel vehicle.

How much do EVs cost to run?

Just like petrol and diesel cars, the cost of running an electric vehicle will vary depending on the model, make and specifics of the vehicle. However, EVs are cheaper to run than petrol or diesel cars as they require less maintenance and the cost of electricity is much lower than petrol or diesel fuel. (potentially one-fifth of the fuel costs of petrol cars).

In addition, there are various financial incentives offered by the Government (see the sections below), and you can also get a discount (or possiby even drive for free) in cities that have introduced Congestion Charge zones.

Zap Map have put together this Journey Cost Calculator tool which allows you to compare EV running costs with the ones of a petrol or diesel car.

What financial incentives are there for EVs?

Until 1 April 2025, pure electric cars benefit from £0 a year Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Until that date, zero emission vehicles are also exempt from the Vehicle Excise Duty ‘expensive car supplement’ (currently all cars with a list price above £40,000 pay a £355 supplement for five years from the second time a vehicle is taxed).

There is also a Plug-in Car Grant (PICG) available for Wheelchair accessible vehicles (up to 35%, capped at £2,500), mopeds, motorcycles, vans and trucks.

What financial incentives are there for EVs for businesses?

The current Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rate for electric cars is set to 2%, and it will remain at 2% for the 2023/24, and 2024/25 financial years.

After this time it will rise by 1% in the following three years until 2027/28 when it will be 5%.

These rates are still far lower than those for a conventional petrol or diesel car, which might attract BiK of 25%. Switching to an EV is likely to save company car drivers – and companies – thousands of pounds per year, and the Total Cost of Ownership of EVs will, in most cases, be much lower than petrol and diesel equivalents.

Are there any grants for home chargers?

The EV Chargepoint Grant allows homeowners who live in flats and people in rental accommodation to claim £350 (or 75% off the cost to buy and install a socket, whichever amount is lower) off the cost of an EV charging point and its installation.

There are certain criteria that you must meet to qualify for it.

Are there any grants for workplace chargers?

There are two types of grants available to businesses. Both for the installation of charging points and infrastructure:

1. The EV Infrastructure grant for staff and fleets is available to small and medium-sized businesses. This grant helps out with costs related to building and installation work needed to install multiple chargepoint sockets, such as wiring and posts.

The grant covers 75% of the cost of the work, up to a maximum of £15,000. You can get:

  • Up to £350 per chargepoint socket installed
  • Up to £500 per parking space enabled with supporting infrastructure

You can receive up to 5 grants across 5 different sites.

2. The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme run by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV). It is available to businesses, charities, and public sector organisations that meet the eligibility criteria.

This scheme provides support towards upfront costs of the buying and installation of EV chargepoints and can be used at the same time as the EV infrastructure grant for staff and fleets. (Both grants can be used for the same site, but never the same chargepoints)

The workplace charging scheme cover of up to 75% of the total costs of purchasing and installation of chargepoints. You can get:

  • Up to £350 per socket
  • Up to 40 sockets across all sites per applicant

How do you charge an EV?

Most people charge their electric vehicles at home overnight using a home charge point. There is also an ever-increasing public charging infrastructure around the UK, including rapid chargers, which are located at virtually all motorway service stations.

Some public charging points are ‘open access’ (free). But most belong to one of the main network providers. You may need either their contactless RFID card or mobile app, depending upon the provider. There is a government and industry push for inter-operability of charge points, which means that you could use any charge point without having to be a member of that network.

There’s an agreed standard for the sockets found on the latest charging points – all now using the universal ‘Type 2’ socket. All new cars have Type 2 sockets, apart from the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which still has a Type 1 socket. Teslas have their own sockets which are compatible with the Tesla Supercharger network, but you can use an adaptor to charge Teslas at standard rapid chargers. The Tesla Model 3 can use a Type 2 connector.

Most electric vehicles come with a cable with a 3-pin plug to allow for easy charging at home or anywhere without a designated charging point, although charging times will be significantly increased. However, a cable with a 3-pin plug should be for occasional use only; it is recommended that a charging point should be used rather than a 3-pin socket.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Many people charge at home overnight. Charging at home or at the workplace can cost as little as 3p per mile, as opposed to 19-21p per mile for a typical petrol or diesel car. This equates to around £2.40 per charge for around 80 miles depending on your electricity provider.

If restricted to only charging at public chargepoints, costs will be more.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

How long it takes to charge an EV depends on the type of vehicle, how depleted the battery is and the type of charge point used. Charging rates vary from destination chargers, which can take 6-10 hours to completely recharge, to rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, which can provide a 0-80% charge in 20-30 minutes.

Electric vehicle charging is dependent both on technology built into the vehicle and that built into the charging infrastructure. For example, when the charging capability of the vehicle is less than that of the charger, then the vehicle will charge only at the maximum speed allowed by the vehicle. When the charging capability of the vehicle is greater than that of the charger, then the vehicle will charge at the maximum rate allowed by the charger. It is always best to check your car’s specification to understand the car’s charging capabilities.

How long do electric car batteries last?

While electric car batteries do experience some degradation over time, examples have shown that this happens too slowly to be considered a concern.

Most vehicle manufacturers offer extensive battery warranties, for example Nissan offers an 8-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty on the new LEAF, during which time Nissan will provide a new battery free of charge if there is a failure or if degradation reaches an unacceptable level (a reduction of 25% from its original capacity).

Can the electricity grid cope with charging electric vehicles?

In terms of the national picture, primarily because of different people using electricity at different times around the UK, the industry believes that there shouldn’t be a huge problem.

There may be challenges at a local level, when a large number of people on one street – or more specifically on one substation feeder – all plug in their EVs at peak time. This could result in too much demand on the local electricity network.

There are a range of solutions to this issue, which are being implemented, including smart charging (the time when an EV is charged can be managed to avoid all EVs charging at peak times) and battery storage (electricity from eg. off-peak renewable energy such as solar or wind can be stored in the battery and used at peak times to reduce the demand on the grid). There are a number of trials of vehicle to grid (V2G) charging, where energy can be taken out of an EV’s battery and put back into the grid at peak times if required; V2G is expected to be rolled out in the coming years.

Are EVs greener than petrol or diesel cars over their entire lifecycle?

In terms of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, electric cars require more energy to manufacture so on average have higher embedded GHG emissions than a petrol or diesel car. However even when using UK grid electricity to recharge the car this is more than offset during the car’s use.

Over an average car’s life an electric car will usually be responsible for around 30% – 50% less GHG emissions than an equivalent petrol or diesel car when manufacture, use and disposal is considered. Using renewable electricity to recharge reduces this further.

Transport & Environment (T&E) have put together this tool that allows you to compare how much CO2 an EV can save compared to a diesel or petrol car over its lifetime.

Does the electricity for EVs just come from fossil fuels?

The electricity used to charge electric vehicles ultimately comes from a range of sources within the grid, some of which use fossil fuels. However, in a country such as the UK with a mixed energy grid, electric vehicles are much cleaner than their petrol or diesel counterparts.

Renewables’ share of electricity generation is growing all the time, and some energy suppliers offer 100% renewable tariffs.

As the grid decarbonises with the increased use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, an electric vehicle’s emissions will continue to reduce over time.

What is "smart-charging"?

Smart charging means charging the car during off peak periods when electricity demand is lower, and means that drivers can benefit from cheaper electricity and avoids triggering unnecessary additional investment in the electricity network.

Got a question on EVs that we haven’t answered? Contact us!

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