Is it time to switch to an electric car?

Get ready to embrace electric cars

Keen to find out more about electric cars? Here’s the Energy Saving Trust’s guide to going electric.

Go all the way with a battery-electric vehicle

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

Most pure electric vehicles have a typical range of 220 miles on a full charge1, so you could be covered for many journeys. Heading further afield? There are now thousands of public chargepoints across the UK for topping up on the road.

What’s the cost?

Battery-electric cars can be more expensive to buy than petrol or diesel ones, but they’re cheaper to run because electricity costs less per mile than fuel2.

For example, for a trip of around 220 miles, you could pay around £23 to fully charge your car’s battery at home or around £41 in fuel (petrol or diesel)3. And you could save money in other ways:

  • You could benefit from lower servicing and maintenance costs – with fewer mechanical components, there could be less to go wrong
  • You won’t need to pay Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) until 1 April 2025. The first-year rate for zero-emission cars registered on or after 1 April 2017 will be lower than for petrol or diesel ones, and after that, you’ll need to pay the standard annual rate4
  • You could get free parking – some towns and cities offer free or discounted parking for 100% electric cars 
  • Until 25 December 2025, you won’t have to pay the London congestion charge if you have a battery-electric vehicle, thanks to the cleaner vehicle discount. However, you’ll need to apply for this discount and pay a £10 registration fee.

How to charge your car

One of the cheapest and most convenient ways to charge is with a smart chargepoint at home, if you have a garage or driveway. You can also research off-peak electricity tariffs, which could help you save money.

If you rent your home or live in a flat (rented or owned) and have a private, off-street parking space, you could be eligible for a government grant to buy and install a chargepoint. There’s a similar scheme for landlords.

No off-street parking? If there isn’t a chargepoint on a street nearby, your local council might be able to install one, with funding from the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure scheme. You could use or request access to a chargepoint at work, and there’s a Workplace Charging Scheme to help your employer with the cost of installing one.

You could use public chargepoints when you’re on a longer journey or need a quick top-up while you’re out and about. You can find them in shopping centres, car parks, petrol stations and motorway service stations. They can be more expensive than home or workplace charging but they’re convenient – and could be necessary if you’re driving a long way. Find out more about charging on the go.

For more information on your charging options, visit the Energy Saving Trust website.

All information and estimates provided by Energy Saving Trust are correct as of February 2024. Changes in the price of electricity, petrol and diesel since the date of their estimates might affect the estimated savings. This article isn’t advice and is for general guidance only – always do your own research before taking any action. If you access any of the third-party websites, you do so entirely at your own risk.

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