What are the benefits of electric cars?
What are the benefits of electric cars?
They’re just cars that run off batteries, right? Wrong! Electric cars promise to save you money, bless all of us with cleaner air, and (crucially) kickstart a transport and energy revolution. What's more, impressive advancements in electric car engineering have led swathes of car enthusiasts across the globe to be won over by their first-rate performance. Thinking of buying one? Here’s why they’re worth a test-drive:
- They drive beautifully
With their spaceship-like handling, some of the latest electric cars have to be tried to be believed.
- They save you money1
Yes, the initial outlay seems high, but running costs are low so you’ll benefit in the long run.
- They reduce local air pollution2
Pure electric cars = zero emissions, which means a less polluted environment for all.
- They’re perfectly peaceful3
No noisy engine = a more serene commute.
- They help fight climate change
Electric cars are considerably more energy efficient4 than combustion engines.
And what are the drawbacks of electric cars?
Electric car sales are steadily growing, but the charging infrastructure that supports them still needs a lot of work – and it's this fear of 'running out of juice' that's putting some people off an EV purchase. Luckily, improvements are being made rapidly as manufacturers, energy suppliers and charging point companies work to create a solid network. But even without the worry of finding charging points, there are still a few pitfalls to be wary of:
- They’re costly to buy upfront
Although you can take advantage of government grants5.
- The choice of electric cars is still a little limited
Car manufacturers have only recently caught the electric vehicle (EV) bug, so the choice of models remains limited. That said, car enthusiasts and industry experts both predict that, as demand grows in the next year or so, consumers will be treated to increasingly varied, sophisticated and tempting new EV models7.
- They can be tricky to charge
People who drive long distances regularly are still quite nervous of the ‘range’ of electric cars, which, in a large part, comes back to charging infrastructure. The good news – as we said – is that there are more and more charge points springing up all over the UK6. But if you don’t have off-street parking at home, and there aren't many public charging points in your area, you might need to pop your electric car buying plans on ice for a year or two. Or even consider a hybrid car instead.
Find out more about the costs of charging your EV at home, at work or on the go, in our useful guide.
Do I want an electric car or a hybrid?
Great question! Hybrids are a halfway house between a traditional petrol car and a pure electric car. They boast both a fuel tank and a battery, making them the car of choice for many people whose driving routines combine city driving, with motorway driving. And who therefore prefer a car with greater 'range'.
In short: a plug-in hybrid or a range-extended hybrid car might be better for you if you can answer 'yes' to the following:
- Do you generally make long journeys (greater than 50 miles per day)?
- Do you struggle to get easy, dependable access to charge points?
On the other hand, a pure electric car is right for you if you answer ‘yes’ to the following.
- Do you have easy access to a power socket overnight or a local high performance charging point?
- Do you want the most ‘green’ or ‘eco’ vehicle on the market?
- Do you have access to a second car for longer journeys?
- Are the majority of your journeys quite short (eg. less than 50 miles a day)?
If you’re keen to be green, then pure electric cars will always beat hybrids simply because they don’t produce any emissions. But until the UK’s transport infrastructure is fully geared up for EVs, with increased public charging points, hybrids have their advantages. And it's worth remembering that they're still cleaner and greener than traditional combustion engine alternatives.
The famous fans of electric cars
Let's face it, if your access to charging points is a problem, you'll hardly be swayed into buying an electric car because of celebrity endorsement. However, the fact that Cameron Diaz loves a Prius, Leo Di Caprio drives a Tesla Roadster and Jay Leno drives a Chevrolet Volt is proof (if ever it were needed) that electric cars have truly arrived. And those guys aren't alone. Justin Bieber, George Clooney, and even Barack Obama are among the A-list elite who've been spotted cruising out and about in their hybrids and electric cars8.
Thinking of buying an EV?
We can help you charge your electric car everywhere, for less. Our EV Everywhere tariff is designed specially for owners of electric (and plugin hybrid) cars, and comes with fixed energy prices for two years, 100% renewable energy and free membership of Polar Plus, the UK's biggest EV charging network.
Read more about all things electric vs hybrid vs petrol, with our bumper guide no pun intended) to the pros and cons of electric, hybrid and conventional cars.
By the way, if you'd like to learn more about whether EVs really are better for the environment than petrol or hybrid cars, check out our handy guide.