How to buy an electric vehicle

Everything you need to know about EVs – and our top ten EV choices

Over 67,000 alternatively-fuelled vehicles – including full electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars – have been sold in the UK so far in 2017. Not bad for what’s still regarded as a niche market.

Cars like the BMW i3, Nissan LEAF and Renault Zoe have shown that there are no space compromises demanded by electric cars. And, especially for drivers who spend most of their time in towns and cities, electrified cars save can save a great deal of money on fuel and road taxes relative to petrol and diesel rivals.

Charging an electric car is certainly much cheaper than filling up a petrol or diesel car. Based on an electricity cost of 10p per kWh, it will cost just £3 to fully power up a Nissan LEAF. A quick charge on the motorway will take the batteries up to 80% of their total capacity for about £6. Even ‘range anxiety’ is becoming less of a problem, with the latest-generation electric cars capable of some 150 real-world miles on a single charge.

Buying an electrified car

It’s a fact that electric and plug-in hybrid cars cost more new than conventionally-engined cars, but government grants will narrow that price gap. Cars emitting under 50g/km of CO2 and able to run for at least 70 miles just on electric power qualify for a £4500 grant. One that will do between 10 and 69 miles on electric power will get a £2500 grant. Then there are the incentives of around £2000 that car makers like BMW and Mercedes are offering for ‘scrappage’ trade-ins on older diesel cars.

But which type of electric car should you buy? A welter of jargon has sprung up to confuse buyers, so let’s try and untangle that.

Alternatively-fuelled vehicle: any car that doesn’t solely rely on a conventional petrol or diesel engine.

EV: full EVs (or electric vehicles) run only on electric power, like the Nissan LEAF. Rather than a ‘normal’ engine, they are driven by a battery-powered electric motor charged from a mains power source. These EVs escape road tax and the London congestion charge.

Read more: Evening Standard

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