What is an Electric Vehicle?

An electric vehicle is one that that is powered by an electric motor rather than a traditional combustion engine. Instead of using petrol and diesel to fuel the vehicle an electric car has a rechargeable battery that is charged by plugging the vehicle into a charging point to take electricity from the power grid.

Electric vehicles are the most known alternative fuel source to petrol and diesel and with the government’s ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles coming into force in under ten years they are becoming more and more popular.

Types of Electric Vehicles

Under the electric banner there are two types of vehicles; fully electric vehicles (EVs) which are sometimes known as battery electric vehicles (BEV) and hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid vehicles combine an electric motor with the traditional internal combustion engines and so are often seen as the stepping stone between a petrol or diesel and fully electric model. They typically fall into three categories; plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), self-charging hybrids which are also known as full hybrids, and mild hybrids (MHEVs).

This guide will focus on EVs. For a more detailed breakdown of the types of hybrids and what they offer please take a look at this guide.

Charging Electric Vehicles

As mentioned above in order to charge your electric vehicle you will need to plug it into a charging unit.

There are a number of public charging locations, and you’re likely to have seen chargers at shopping centres, public carparks, motorway service stations and even at the supermarket.

If you would like to see just how many public chargers there are available across the UK then take a look at carwow’s interactive map here. 

Depending on the vehicle, model of charger and its power ratings there are different connectors that you will need to use in order to charge your vehicle. Most cars come with a Type 1 or Type 2 connector for slow and fast charging and then either a CHAdeMO or CCS for rapid charging. Teslas are the exception to this as they use a Type 2 connector for rapid charging as well.

Rapid, fast and slow are the three speeds of chargers in the UK. Just click on each of them below to find out more about each of them.

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Rapid

  • Rapid chargers offer 50 kW via DC charging or 43 kW via AC charging.
  • There are also rapid charger that offer up to 120 kW of DC charge.
  • Not all vehicles are able to accept rapid charging speeds, but most units will adapt to the level of charge your car can accept.
  • These are not as common as fast chargers on the public network.

Fast

  • Fast Chargers offer between seven and 22 kW of power.
  • Usually use a Type 1 or Type 2 connection.
  • The most common type of charger on the UK’s public network and popular choices for home and workplace chargers.

Slow

  • Slow chargers offer three to six kW of power.
  • Typically use a Type 2 socket or three-pin plug.
  • Only older models on the public network tend to be slow chargers and you’ll more commonly find these as home models.

The time it takes for a vehicle to charge doesn’t just depend on the speed rating of the charger and the level of power it can provide but also how much power your vehicle can accept, the level of charge it is at to begin with and the location of the charger.

The most convenient place to charge an electric vehicle is at home, which is why many drivers decide to install a home charging unit.

Wessex Fleet are an official partner of Pod Point who are one of the UK’s leading home charger providers as well as their public charging units. If you would like to now more about having a Pod Point installed then please give us a call on 01722 322 888.

They are also able to install charging units at business premises if your workplace is considering installing charging units in their car park. We can also discuss this with you and the options available if you give us a call.

We’ve put together this useful article that takes an in depth look at everything you need to know about charging an electric vehicle if you would like more information on charging.

Why Choose Electric?

There are a number of reasons to opt for an electric vehicle. We’ve rounded up what we think are the top ten:

1. Fully electric vehicles produce zero emissions so are better for the environment, help to reduce air pollution in your local area and improve the air quality.

2. As there are zero emissions you will not need to pay road tax on fully electric vehicles that are listed at under £40,000.

3. Zero emissions also means lower BIK rates, and for the current tax year no BIK.

4. If you are purchasing an electric vehicle you will be eligible for a government grant to help reduce the cost. If you are looking at leasing this will be applied and help to reduce the monthly payments for you.

5. More and more chargers are being added to the public network so charging an EV is continuously becoming easier and more convenient.

6. If you have off-road parking you will be able to install a home charging unit and can apply for a grant in order to pay for part of the cost.

7. Electric vehicles have lower overall running costs as charging an EV is a lot cheaper than a tank full of fuel.

8. There are fewer moving parts in an electric vehicle so the cost of servicing and maintenance on them is generally lower.

9. Until December 2025 EVs are exempt from the congestion charge in London and many are exempt from Clean and Low Air Zones.

10. Electric vehicles make very little engine noise so not only reduce noise pollution in your area but also give you a quieter driving environment.

For more on the benefits of electric vehicles please have a look at this guide. 

Other Things to Consider With Electric Vehicles

Although there are a number of positives to switching to an electric vehicle it can still be a big change from a petrol or diesel vehicle and so there are a few things you will need to consider including:

  • The mileage range
  • Charging locations
  • Charging time
  • Purchase cost
  • Maintenance costs

Mileage Range

One of the biggest factors in deciding if an electric vehicle is suitable is the mileage range it’s able to provide.

Many people have what’s known as range anxiety when looking at an electric car, which is the worry that the distance it can travel between charges will not be sufficient for their needs.

Realistically though most drivers are able to charge their vehicle overnight with a home or residential public charger, or whilst at work, and so you only need to think of your mileage in terms of your daily needs. Ask yourself will this be enough miles for my daily journeys and usually you’ll find the answer is yes.

It’s important to note that there are a number of factors that might affect your range including the weight of the vehicle, type of road you’re driving on and even the weather. You can see a full break down of these here.

 

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Home Charging

If you are not able to install a home charging unit you will need to think about how you will charge the vehicle in a convenient time and location. This might be a case of speaking to your employer about a workplace charging scheme or your local authority about installing residential public chargers.

Before purchasing an electric vehicle or even a PHEV you should always think about how you will charge this and if you can adjust to accommodate charging.

Charging Time

The other thing you’ll need to consider is the time it takes for an electric vehicle to charge. If you have a home charging unit then you will be able to charge it overnight at home which shouldn’t inconvenience you at all.

However, if you’re doing a long journey or coving a lot of miles during the day then you might also need to use a public charger. When planning journeys, you’ll need to take into account the charging time of the vehicle, and where you will be able to stop to charge.  

Purchase Price

The upfront purchase price of an electric vehicle tends to be higher due to the technology they involve. However, the government still has a grant available to reduce the cost by up to £3,000.

If you are looking at a lease vehicle this reduction is usually included in the price of the vehicle paid by the lease funder and passed onto you through lower monthly rentals.

As the car industry as whole moves towards electric models and more appear on the market we can expect to see the cost reduce a little as well. 

Maintenance of Electric Vehicles

As electric vehicles do not have as many moving parts they typically do not require as much maintenance work on them.

When a part does need replacing though because of the technology involved it may be slightly more expensive than you are used to.

If you would like to know more about hybrid vehicles then please have a look at this guide as this is designed to explore the benefits and costs of hybrids.

For any other questions please email us here or give us a call on 01722 322 888.

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