Is it time to switch to an electric car?

Get ready to embrace electric cars

Interested in embracing electric cars? Here’s Energy Saving Trust’s guide to going electric.

Choose an electric car and you’ll be helping to end reliance on fossil fuels. With no running emissions, you’ll be contributing to cleaner air and healthier towns and cities. 

Go all the way with a battery-electric vehicle

They’re often called ‘pure’ or ‘100%’ electric cars – because they’re powered solely by electricity. With a battery you can recharge at home, on-street or at a public chargepoint, the vehicles don’t produce any tailpipe emissions at all.

Most battery-electric cars have a real-world range of 100-300 miles, so for most journeys you’ll be covered. Heading further afield? There are now thousands of public places with chargepoints across the UK, so you can top up on the road.

What’s the cost?

Battery-electric cars can be more expensive to buy than petrol or diesel cars, but they’re cheaper to run because electricity costs less per mile than fuel.

It could cost you as little as £8-12 to fully charge a pure electric car at home, if you install a smart chargepoint and are on an off-peak overnight electricity tariff.

Say your car has a range of 200 miles – it would cost you £26-32 to drive the same distance with petrol or diesel fuel. And there are other savings to look forward to:

  • You could benefit from lower servicing and maintenance costs – with fewer mechanical components, there’s less to go wrong
  • You won’t pay a penny in vehicle excise duty until 2025, when the government is planning to introduce excise duty for zero emission vehicles1
  • You could get free parking – many towns and cities offer free or discounted parking for 100% electric cars
  • Until 2025, you won’t have to pay the London congestion charge if you’ve a zero emission car, thanks to the 100% cleaner vehicle discount

How to charge your car? You’ve got a few choices

The biggest change for any new electric driver? Apart from a much quieter journey, it’s the novelty of charging your car. Here are some of the different ways to do it.

  • The cheapest way to charge is with a dedicated smart chargepoint, if you have a garage or driveway. Then you can take advantage of cost-efficient off-peak electricity tariffs
  • If you rent your home or live in a flat (rented or owned) and have a private, off-street parking space, you can use a Government grant to buy and install a chargepoint. You’ll get 75% off the cost, up to a limit of £350. There’s a similar scheme for landlords
  • No off-street parking? If there isn’t an on-street chargepoint nearby, your local council might be able to install one, with funding from the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme. You could also use a chargepoint at work, and there’s a Workplace Charging Scheme to help your employer with the cost of installing one
  • You can use public chargepoints when you’re on a longer journey or need a quick top-up while you’re out and about. You’ll find them in shopping centres, car parks, at existing petrol stations and motorway service stations. They’re more expensive than home or workplace charging, but they’re convenient – and necessary if you’re driving a long way. Find out more about charging on the go.

Want to learn more about your charging options including how long it takes and how far you can go with a 15-min quick charge? Energy Saving Trust has everything you need to know.

Information and estimates provided by Energy Saving Trust correct as at 15 February 2023. Movements in the price of gas and electricity since this date may have an impact on the size of Energy Saving Trust’s estimated savings.

If you decide to access any of the third-party websites, you do so entirely at your own risk.

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