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How to Choose Your First Electric Car

The switch to electric is a big one. We have driven conventional cars for over a hundred years, so switching to something completely new is big.

Considering how much money is at stake, it pays to know what you’re getting into. Which is why we wrote this post.

More EVs were sold in 2021 than ever before. They made up 25.5% of all new vehicle registrations in December 2021, which is the most ever.

There are now around 370,000 EVs on the roads in the UK right now and that number is growing every day.

We appreciate switching from petrol or diesel to electric is a considerable change. It’s one we have helped many people make and continue to do so.

So here are some tips we have learned along the way.

Tips we’re sharing to help you make the switch to electric.


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Pure electric or hybrid?

There are several flavours of electric cars. There’s hybrid, plug-in hybrids and all-electric.

A hybrid, or Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) has a petrol engine and small electric motor and battery. The engine charges the battery to provide a small increase in miles per gallon.

A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is half electric and half petrol. It has a larger battery and motor than a HEV but requires plugging in to fully recharge for better fuel economy.

All-electric, Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), are purely powered by an electric motor and batteries. They need charging regularly and can provide zero emission driving.

There are other types of powertrains but they are mainly a mixture of these three.

What range do you need?

The #1 concern for new EV buyers is range anxiety. The idea of running out of charge partway through a journey when you’re miles from anywhere.

While the possibility does exist, there are so many charging points around that it would be incredibly rare you would run out of charge.

Plus, the AA and RAC now have the ability to charge your battery as well as fix breakdowns so you’re never truly stuck.

Back to the subject of range. Different cars have different ranges.

For example, the Renault Zoe has a range of up to 245 miles, which is more than enough for a small car.

At the other end of the scale, the new Citroen Ami has a range of up to 43 miles. Which doesn’t sound a lot, but if you live in a big city, that’s plenty enough for 99% of the journeys you’ll make.

Take a long hard look at how many miles you do on average each day and at the weekends.

Then choose a car that can do that distance comfortably.

Check you can charge

The one big challenge you may have to overcome is how to charge your new electric car.

Not every house in the UK will be able to install a rapid charger and may not be able to run cables across the pavement.

If you live in a terrace with no parking, consider how you can safely run a lead to charge your car without causing a hazard.

If you have parking, do you have space to install a charger? Do you have the wall space? Can you charge without tripping over the lead whenever you leave the house?

There is a solution to every problem, but it’s something you definitely have to consider before you buy your new EV.

Don’t be put off by the cost

Let’s not beat about the bush, electric cars are more expensive than standard cars. In some cases, considerably more.

But it’s about more than just that initial purchase price.

Electric cars are cheaper to run, currently do not pay vehicle excise duty, they are cheaper to repair and cost very little to run.

Consider how much you spend on fuel each month and consider you’ll be paying pennies per day to charge an electric vehicle at home.

An electric motor has very few moving parts, so should be much more reliable than internal combustion.

Servicing should be cheaper and repairs more infrequent too.

Then there’s the cost to the planet. This will be more important to some buyers than others, but you’re investing in zero emissions.

You’re joining the ever-increasing movement towards electric and are ahead of the curve.

Check reviews, lots of reviews

Reviews are subjective by their very nature but they allow you to see past the marketing and clever copywriting to the real story.

That’s why we recommend reading and watching as many reviews as you can. Compare all the makes and models within your budget and check as many sources as possible.

The clearer the picture you have, the more secure in your decision you will be.

Take a test drive

We would offer the same advice for EVs as we would for any car purchase. Take a test drive and spend as much time as practical with the car before you buy.

Cars are so much more than just stats on a page or range or price. There’s an element of feel and intangibility with our relationship with our cars, and we can only get the real picture once we spend time with it.

If you can take out an EV for longer than just an hour, or even hire one for the weekend, all the better.

The more time you spend around it, the more you’ll see electric motoring really is the future!

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