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5 Things To Consider When Buying An Electric Car

| In Buying Guides

Every month a new car is unveiled, with nearly all models now featuring an electric or alternatively fuelled variant. With many of us on the search for EV and hybrid vehicles, let’s take a look at what to consider when buying an electric car, plug-in hybrid and range extender vehicle, so you can confidently pick your next car.

Types of Electric Cars

Electric vehicles can be separated into three different categories, full electric, plug-in hybrids and range extenders. Here is a bit more about the different types of electric cars so you can know what to consider when buying an electric car.

Full Electric Cars

Full electric cars, or all-electric vehicles, are vehicles that are solely powered by an electric motor and emit zero emissions. They are also referred to as battery electric vehicles since they have an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine.

Plug-in Hybrids 

These vehicles feature both an electric motor and a conventional engine. The car runs like a traditional hybrid, with the electric motor used at low speed before the petrol or diesel engine takes over when the battery has died. The battery is much bigger than in a normal hybrid and therefore capable of longer journeys. The battery can be recharged by plugging the vehicle into an electric socket.

Range Extenders

Range extenders are very similar to plug-in hybrids but with one main difference. When the electric motor runs out of energy, the conventional engine is then used to re-charge the battery. This means that the car’s wheels will always be powered by electricity rather than petrol or diesel.

EV Driving

Driving an electric car is quite different to a normal car. Firstly, they’re silent. Whether it be a fully electric, hybrid or ranger extender, whilst running in electric mode, the car’s engine makes absolutely no sound. However, some of us do love an engine roar, so manufacturers have been developing models that mimic a traditional car’s sound.

When driving a conventional car, your feet are constantly switching between applying the accelerator, clutch and brake. A fully electric car is much different. When you take your foot off the accelerator, the car slows down far quicker and because they only have 1 gear, it can come to a complete stop. 

Electric Car Charging

One of the things to consider when buying an electric car is charging. In fact, most people decide against an EV because they believe it to be much more difficult to ‘fuel up’. However, charging an EV is simple and can be done at home, in some places of work and at most motorway service stations.

The most convenient and cost-effective way of electric car charging is at home overnight. It costs around 13p per kWh. This means that to fully charge a 30kWh Nissan Leaf, for example, to its 115-mile maximum range, it will only cost you around £3.60.

If you need to re-charge on the motorway, most services now offer charging and rapid-charging points. These rapid charging points do cost extra, for a 30-minute surge, they can add up to around £6.50. The majority of Plug-in hybrids cannot be charged using rapid charge points, so it is worth taking this into consideration if you are planning on doing long journeys.    

Electric Cars Range

The range of electric vehicles depends on the types of electric cars you are looking for. Fully electric cars currently have a much shorter range than a vehicle filled with petrol or diesel. The average range of a new electric vehicle is 100 miles, but considering the average UK driver covers 25 miles a day, this is plenty to get you to work and back, plus the odd trip into town.

A plug-in hybrid has a considerably shorter electric range. The Toyota Prius plug-in for example has a range in excess of 700 miles but only doe 25 of these in electric-only mode. Range extenders are slightly better, the BMW i3 has a 160+ mile combined range, of which around 90 can be covered using only electric mode.

EV Running Costs

Last on our list of 5 things to consider when buying an electric car: running cots. An electric car or hybrid vehicle can save you a lot of money. All fully electric vehicles emit zero emissions and therefore are not charged for road tax. If the vehicle was registered after 1st April 2017 with a list price of over £40,000, a yearly charge of £310 is applicable until it’s 5 years old. Plug-in hybrids and range extenders also benefit from cheaper tax rates.

Electric cars have fewer parts and have simpler engines, compared to conventional vehicles, therefore servicing and maintenance costs also tend to be lower.


We’ve given you a lot to consider. So, have you made up your mind and are ready to buy an EV? Take a look at the electric cars for sale at Cargiant to find the best model for you.