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Are all electric chargers the same?

No, there are two types and they’re simply named Type1 and Type 2, however there is a universal type available that will fit both. Most of the current generation of electric cars use a standard called J1772 for 110V and 240V for charging, which is what all public chargers are all based on.  

Where are the electric car charging points?

Zap-Map is a useful app that shows you the location of charging points across the UK.Many electric cars also have sat nav that recognises these locations and can direct you to those within range.In March 2019, data from Zap-Map revealed 7,062 locations with a public charging point installed, with a total of 20,156 connectors.More than 456 new connectors had been added over the past 30 days.  

Can I install my own charger at home?

Yes. Many BEV owners opt to install an at-home charger so they can recharge while they’re parked overnight.As well as being convenient, overnight charging capitalises on the cheapest time of day to recharge.For those looking to install their own charging point, the government provides financial support by way of the Electric Vehicle Home-charge Scheme (EVHA), which can cover up to 75% of the costs associated with installation.The grant is capped at £500 (incl. VAT), but that could bring down the cost (both equipment and installation) of a standard 3kW charger to around £300, and a faster 7kW charger to £400.To be eligible, you’ll need to provide evidence of keepership, be the named user of the EV, and have a suitable location for the charger.It’ll also need to be installed by an Office of Low Emission Vehicles engineer.   

Charging Costs & Power

According to Pod Point, charging an electric car overnight at home will cost around £3.64 for a full charge.If we assume a typical range of 100 miles, that equates to less than 4p per mile – around a third as much as a very economical petrol or diesel car.Many public charging points in supermarket and town centre car parks are still free, although you may have to pay for rapid chargers – such as those found at motorway service stations – which can cost around £6.50 for a 30-minute charge.The Ecotricity ‘Electric Highway’ features over 300 charging points across Britain, covering the motorway network and beyond.It costs 17p per unit of energy used, along with a £3 connection fee for each charge. Tesla offers free unlimited ‘Supercharging’ on the Model S, but will introduce ‘pay per use’ charging on the Model 3.  

Driving needs - does an electric car suit your situation?

If you live in the Highlands of Scotland, you might believe an electric car probably isn’t right for you.On the contrary, a report by the Energy Saving Trust found that Scotland’s North Coast 500 route can be travelled using an electric car.There are 11 rapid charging points on the 500-mile route, which recharge batteries to 80% in 30 minutes.“There is now a rapid charge point within many communities within the Highlands,” said Rebecca Fretwell of the Energy Saving Trust.Conversely, when the presenters of the Motoring Podcast drove an electric Hyundai Ioniq around Britain, they found a distinct lack of rapid charging points in Wales, meaning they were effectively forced to bypass the country.Right now, EV’s limited range means they are best suited to city-dwellers or suburbanites who commute less than 100 miles a day because the existing charging infrastructure is far more developed in cities, too.That said, it may not be easy to own an electric car if – like many city drivers – you don’t have a dedicated parking space.Without a garage, driveway or dedicated parking space, an electric vehicle will be a non-starter, as ideally, you need a driveway in order to park and charge the car overnight.The Government offers grants for a free on-street charging point to be installed near your home, although that doesn’t guarantee that other residents won’t park there and plug-in.  

What’s the battery life like for an electric car? Are they expensive to replace?

You can expect electric car batteries to last for around 10 years.However, battery capacity will decline with age and use, potentially to around 60% of its original figure after a decade of typical use.That means an EV with a 100-mile range would only be capable of 60 miles on a full charge.But as electric car technology improves, so too does the likely battery life.A 2017 report found that a Tesla Model S will retain between 90 and 95% capacity, even at 93,000 miles. After 150,000 miles, a Model S can expect a reduction of just 15%.The cost of replacing batteries probably won’t prove economical as the car gets older – which could mean that an EV’s life-span is shorter than that of a combustion engine vehicle.  

Are they more or less reliable than petrol or diesel cars?

Electric cars have only sold in significant numbers since around 2013, but evidence so far suggests they are very dependable.In 2017, What Car? found faults occurred on less than 8% of Nissan Leafs, and were confined to only three areas: bodywork, brakes and non-engine electrics.All of these problems were fixed without charge and most in under a week.  

Upfront & Extra Costs

Be warned, make sure your lease includes the cost of leasing the battery, because the list prices are unlikely to include the cost of battery rental, although some Leaf owners may have bought the battery outright.As a guide, the cost of battery rental on an entry-level Renault Zoe costs £49 per month when limited to 4,500 miles, rising to £110 for unlimited miles on the ZE 4.0 model. Nissan offers a similar tariff for the Leaf, with contracts ranging from 12 to 84 months and based on 7,500 to 12,000 miles. As bonus, all cars that meet both the Euro 5 standard for air quality and emit CO2 up to 75g/km qualify for a 100% discount on the London Congestion Charge and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, to be introduced in April 2019. This could save drivers up to £24 per day.  

Does My Car Come With All Charging Cables?

This depends on each Manufacturer. The BMW I3 does not come with the rapid charge cable. This is a cost of around £299.99. Check with your advisor if any further cables are required.  

How do I pay for to charge my car at public charge points?

Most are paid on your phone via an APP. Pad Point is popular. You can opn an account online. Many Supermarkets are Free to use.

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