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EV Stories: why I decided to lease an electric car

23 July 2021 | Celia Topping

This is the fifth in our series of EV Stories, where we meet various members of the OVO team and hear their first hand experience of electric cars. The series aims to offer you valuable insights into the reality of EVs, including real-life information on buying, driving, leasing, charging, insuring, and beyond. We hope to be able to give you all the answers you need about this exciting technology, especially if you're thinking of making the switch.

Our UX Designer, Todd Carter, moved from his native New Zealand to live in London with his wife in 2010. He’s been working for OVO for 3 and a half  years, developing the customer journey for digital products and focusing on what our members need. 

Over the last few years, he’s been doing extensive research with EV drivers. This really stood him in good stead when he started to think about moving out of London and getting an EV himself! Scotland reminded him of his homeland, so in 2020 Todd and his wife relocated to Glasgow – a much cheaper option to London, with nature on its doorstep. 

Why I decided to lease an electric car

“Glasgow’s a driving city, not like London,” says Todd, “we wanted to make the move and have our car ready and waiting for us when we arrived, so we could explore not only the city but the wonderful natural areas around Glasgow. Plus, we were having a baby, so getting a car seemed essential at this point.

Working at OVO, in the job I do, I was already well aware of the environmental advantages of having an EV. I’m committed to doing my bit for the environment and, with a baby on the way, it made even more sense to go the green route. I thought about a hybrid vehicle, but it didn’t seem like a good enough solution –   the battery would only take me about 10 miles before the engine would kick in. Not green enough, in my opinion.”

So let’s look at the reasons Todd decided to lease his car rather than buy:

1. Maximising budget

“From a financial point of view, leasing is a no brainer. Electric cars were still much pricier than traditional cars when I started looking. Prices are dropping but, per month, I would pay less to lease a more expensive car than I could afford to buy outright, or even on a payment plan.” 

This is a major plus point for leasing, rather than buying, a car. Why not have a lovely, new, top-of-the-range car that you can’t afford to buy, but you can easily afford to lease? And you can exchange it for another brand new car of your choice when your contract’s up. Total win! 

2. Changing market

“At the time I was making this decision (back in 2020), I didn’t want to buy an EV. The market was still relatively new, so things were changing constantly, and there was a lot of emerging technology. I knew if I waited a couple of years, the range of EVs available would be far bigger, better, and cheaper. Battery technology would have improved, along with range, and prices would have dropped.”

Smart move, Todd! Just 2 years down the line and EV prices have dropped significantly, while the technology has massively improved. Cars that people thought were top of the range in 2019 have been revamped,  with many more models added to the mix. Competition for market share is fierce, which can only be a good thing for those looking to buy or lease. 

3. Slower depreciation 

“As any car owner knows, depreciation is a major concern when buying a car. But as a leaser, I don’t have to worry about resale value, I just hand it back after 2 years and move on. Easy!”

This is another big tick in the box for leasing vs buying. Plus, the monthly payment plans when leasing are partly worked out based on the car’s depreciation. But because the EV market is becoming widely accepted and trusted, electric cars  are in high demand on the second-hand market. So depreciation is slowing and many models are holding their value well – which makes leasing even cheaper! 

4. Reduced running costs

“The running costs of having an EV are beneficial whether you’re buying or leasing. I don’t have to pay for road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty), the charging costs are minimal in comparison to how much it costs to fill up a tank, and I even get free charging and car parking in some places.”

Living in Scotland, Todd doesn’t have to worry about low emission zones, but if you live in London, having an EV exempts you from those charges too. EVs cost around the same to lease as their petrol or diesel counterparts, but without the cost of fuelling. Making it cheaper to lease an EV than a petrol or diesel car. 

5. Better eco credentials

“My commitment to caring for the environment as much as I can led to my decision to go for a pure EV. But as prices are higher than for traditional cars, leasing seemed to be the best option to stick with my ethical choices, cut my carbon emissions, and get the standard car I want!”

With zero tailpipe emissions, pure EVs are the only real answer for those of us wanting to achieve a net zero lifestyle. Being able to reduce your carbon footprint by guilt-free driving is one of the last hurdles in reaching net zero by 2050. 

5. Low maintenance

“Maintenance on an EV is much less hassle than with a petrol car because it has fewer moving parts to go wrong. I added a maintenance package when I was leasing the car for about £20 a month, which covers anything that happens. Again, it’s a worry-free solution to having a really nice car!”

The likelihood of something going wrong in an EV is much less than in a petrol or diesel car. And as Todd says, the maintenance packages you can add to your leasing plan take care of any concerns over the duration of your contract. 

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The process of leasing an electric car

“Once I’d decided to go for it, the leasing process was a piece of cake. I’d done some research on the cars I liked the look of and found out what to look for when thinking about getting an EV

  1. Test drive: I’d advise anyone to take the EVs you’re considering for a test drive. They vary quite substantially and you’ll generally know as soon as you drive the right one. 
  2. Choosing the car: the Hyndai Ioniq had everything I was looking for. It felt premium, looked good, and was spacious inside. It also had automatic seat controls, which my wife and I need as we are so different in height – it saves a lot of fiddling around! 
  3. Look online for the best deal: comparing prices online was easy once I knew which model I wanted. I got in touch with the leasing company who asked me a few simple questions such as how often and far we drive, and how long we want to lease for. We could even choose the exact colour we wanted. 
  4. Maintenance and insurance: I decided to go for a £20 maintenance package as it just made everything simple. But I’ve insured it myself with a dedicated EV car insurer for the best price. 
  5. Arrival of the car: I made a heartfelt plea for the car delivery to be expedited because my wife was 38 weeks pregnant. It arrived in Glasgow just as we did, for no extra charge, and just in time. Reuben was born a week later! 

The whole process was quick and easy. The car arrived fully charged and we took it for our first family outing as soon as we could. We love our EV and it’s great knowing we’re not adding to the world’s carbon emissions while exploring the beauty of the Scottish countryside.”

Explore all OVO’s leasing options with our partner Vanarama

How the EV market has moved on in a year

It’s almost a year down the road since Todd leased his EV, so did he make the right choice?

“I feel totally vindicated in my decision to lease! In the last year, EV technology has come on in leaps and bounds. We are finally getting to the sweet spot, where we can get the kind of range they need for the price we want to pay. We’re also moving out of our flat and into a house where we can have our own smart charger.  

So next time around, when my leasing contract runs out, I’m actually thinking of buying a second-hand EV, as the second-hand market will be bigger with more choice. But, we’ll see. The leasing experience has been great, so I could be persuaded to lease again without much argument!”

Charging your EV from home

Whether you’re leasing or buying, you’ll still need to charge your EV, and charging from home is the cheapest and most convenient option. Find out how you can save £70 off the latest EV smart home chargers when you sign up to OVO. And see if you’re eligible for the government’s OLEV grant for up to £350 off your home charger. 

Lease your electric car with Vanarama and OVO

Thanks to our partnership with the UK's biggest online leasing business, Vanarama, we've got access to the best cars at great prices. And with a whopping £75 of credit added straight into your account as well, you'll be in pole position when it comes to enjoying your EV. So if you want to drive a lovely new reliable car for less per month than finance methods, without the worries of depreciation, you know what to do! 

Plus, if you lease a “Hot Offer” EV, you’ll also qualify for a year’s free insurance (worth an average £538) and a fully installed EV home charger. Not bad eh?

Once you get your car, don't forget to switch your electricity to our OVO Drive tariff. It's our cheapest EV tariff for cheaper charging overnight.

Plug in to OVO Drive

OVO’s Drive tariff offers unbeatable flat rates for charging your electric car at any time. But the good stuff doesn’t stop there. Our members also get:

  • 100% renewable electricity as standard1
  • A tree planted in your name every single year you’re with us2
  • An award-winning smart meter experience (Uswitch 2020)
  • A £50 gift card every time you introduce a friend to us
  • A 5-Star TrustPilot rating by 30,000 members

So why not get a quote, and switch to OVO today? You could be charging your EV and saving money sooner than you think. 

Sources and references:

1. 100% of the renewable electricity we sell is backed by renewable certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs)). See here for details on Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates and how these work. A proportion of the electricity we sell is also purchased directly from renewable generators in the UK.

2.  Each year, OVO plants 1 tree for every member in partnership with the Woodland Trust. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so tree-planting helps to slow down climate change.

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