What Is an Electric Vehicle?

An electric vehicle (EV) is one that runs on an electric motor rather than, or for a hybrid alongside, a traditional fuel powered combustion engine. 

The electric motor is powered by a rechargeable battery, and this is charged by plugging the vehicle into a charging unit that draws electricity from the National Grid.


The Different Types of Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles fall into two categories: full EV or hybrid.

EVs are sometimes known as pure electric vehicles or battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and they are powered entirely by the electric motor and rechargeable battery. In a hybrid vehicle the electric motor runs in conjunction with the traditional combustion engine and there are currently three main types available in the UK:

  • Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs)
  • Full hybrids (HEVs)
  • Mild hybrids (MHEVs)

These offer you different advantages depending on the type you decide is right for you.

For more information on hybrids and the different types check out our dedicated hybrid guide

EV or Hybrid?

Some drivers find hybrids to be a good way of transitioning to a full EV as they have some of the functions and benefits without the biggest two worries – charging and mileage range.

Top 5 Reasons to Get an EV

1. Zero emissions are better for the environment and your wallet, with lower tax and BIK rates as well as benefiting from preferential parking rates, no congestion or emission zone charges and many more.

2. They’re cheaper to run, charging is much cheaper than a tank of fuel, and as there are fewer moving parts there’s less wear and tear so lower maintenance costs.

3. The majority of cars offer over 100 miles in range between charges which means they can cover most drivers’ daily needs with miles to spare.

4. Charging is getting increasingly easier with an expanding public network in both residential areas and public car parks with apps that help you find a local charger, plan your route around charging stops, and give you the best rates.

5. There’s an ever-growing range of models available on the UK market, with all body shapes, manufacturers, and features available.

For more of the benefits an EV could bring take a look at this guide

Drawbacks of EVs

Although there are many benefits to driving an EV most drivers find that there are adjustments they need to make and changes they might not have expected when switching from a petrol or diesel to an EV.

You’ll need to consider:

Mileage Range

We know that mileage range can be one of the biggest barriers to taking on an EV as a company car.

A lot of drivers look at an EV and the range it can achieve between charges and compare this to what they can get on a full tank in their current vehicle but this is not the way you want to think of an EV mileage range.

As you’ll likely be able to charge the vehicle once a day you need to consider your mileage in terms of daily need, and how much you actually need to travel in one charge cycle.

We’ve also got a detailed breakdown here which will also help you with what factors will impact your achievable range.

Charging an EV

There are two areas of concern with charging an EV that we’ve noticed drivers have – finding a charger and the time it takes to charge.

The preferred method of charging for most drivers will be a home charger so they can charge their vehicle overnight.

You will need to have off road parking, permission of the homeowner if that is not you, and a suitable existing infrastructure in order to have a home unit installed.

The UK public charging network is expanding at a rapid rate, which it needs to in order to be able to provide EV charging to all drivers in the planned transition timeframe, but this does mean that while some are still driving petrol and diesel powered motors there is plenty of chargers available.

A number of supermarkets have contracts with EV charger providers, and more and more public car parks are installing EV charging bays as well.

As the push towards EVs continues you’re also likely to see public chargers in residential areas increase. In cities like London where off road parking at individual properties isn’t possible so home charging units aren’t an option there are already a number of streets with EV chargers available for residents’ use.

The time it takes to charge an EV is getting shorter and shorter as technology for battery receiving capacity improves and the speed at which chargers can provide charge develops so we expect time at the charger to continue to reduce across the board, although there are currently models that can go from 20 to 80 per cent charge in under 45 minutes.

The speed that any particular EV model can be charged at depends on the speed of charge that the unit can provide and the speed that the vehicle can be accepted.

For a more detailed breakdown of speeds and much more charging info click here

EV Servicing and Maintenance

If you are responsible for the servicing and maintenance of an EV then you will want to consider how you fund this.

Although there will be less maintenance needed on an EV due to the fewer parts when it does need any work this might be pricier than the equivalent on a combustion engine vehicle as the technology involved is more high tech and might require a specialist to complete the work.

One way to avoid any large unexpected charges is to look at a maintenance package if you are funding the vehicle yourself. If the vehicle is provided by your company then they will usually cover any maintenance work needed.


We hope that the above guide has helped you understand how EVs work a little more as well as the things you need to consider when deciding on when is the right time for you to switch to an electric vehicle. 

Should You Lease or Buy an EV?

There are many benefits to leasing a vehicle but perhaps the most notable is that as you are not needing to pay one large sum upfront but are making regular monthly payments for the use of the car then you will usually be able to afford a higher spec model. This can make a particular impact when looking at EVs as they tend to have higher purchase prices due to the technology involved in them. 

Additionally with all manufacturers investing in their EV technology and continuing to develop their technology leasing allows you to stay up to date with the latest models every couple of years when you take out a new lease. 

How Much Does an Electric Vehicle Cost?

The exact cost of an EV will vary between manufacturers, models and even spec levels just as it does for non-EVs. There can also be differences based on the size of the battery in the vehicle, as a larger battery means a longer mileage range between charges. 

We recommend doing your research on what mileage range you need, what must-have features you want and seeing what EV is within your budget. 

Is an EV Expensive to Run

An EV can be much cheaper than a petrol or diesel engine to run as using an EV charger, whether using the public network or your own charger, is cheaper than filling up at the pump. 

There are less moving parts in an EV so there are less potential points of wear to the vehicle and they do not require as much maintenance work compared to combustion engines. However, when they do need work the costs can be higher as they require specialist equipment or even specialist mechanics in order to look at them.

Which EVs Have the Best Range?

Tesla have long been considered the leader of the pack when it comes to EVs with the longest range, but in recent years we've seen other manufacturers catching up with them. The VW ID.3, Hyundai Kona and Porsche Taycan can all achieve over 300 miles on a single charge with many more in the high 290s as well.

For more on the best EV ranges available take a look at this article.

Can You Install an EV Charger at Home?

Yes, you can install a charger for your EV at home. In fact, a lot of drivers chose to do this because it is the most convenient place to charge their vehicle as well as being cheaper to use than the cost of charging on a public charger.

There have recently been changes to the eligibility criteria for the home charge grant, and it is now only open to those who live in flats and landlords. This is to ensure the funds are available to support these people in their EV journey. 

At Wessex Fleet we work with Ohme who produce and install smart home charger and if you would like to learn more about this then please get in touch on 01722 322 888.

Do You Need an MOT for Your Elecric Car?

Yes, just like a petrol, diesel and hybrid car an EV will need an MOT annually once it is three years old. 

MOTs do not only test the emission levels of a vehicle, though this is an important part of them, but also check the rest of the vehicle to ensure it is in a safe and road worthy condition which is why all cars must have a valid MOT once they reach three years old. Because they produce zero emissions EVs will not have the emissions component of the MOT completed on the but will have the rest of the MOT testing conducted and must pass this in order to receive an MOT. 

For more info on EVs and much more head back to our guides homepage.


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