Choosing and running an electric vehicle
Planning to switch from a petrol or diesel car to an electric?
If so, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how to choose an EV that meets your needs – and how to run and maintain it. In this short electric vehicle buying/running guide we offer a grounding in both. We’ll focus mainly on ‘pure electric’ EVs, but bear in mind there are several other vehicle types that use electric motors alongside internal combustion engine (ICE) systems:
Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) PHEVS have electric motors and combustion engines.
Most PHEVs harness their electric powertrain until the battery is depleted, then switch to the ICE.
Mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV)
MHEVs store the energy normally lost during deceleration and use it to switch off the engine more frequently, improving fuel economy and reducing emissions
Consider whether something like a PHEV or BEV would meet your needs, or whether you want to buy a pure electric EV (sometimes called a BEV – battery electric vehicle).
What is the best electric car for your needs?
Just as with buying a petrol or diesel car, you’ll need to think about:
● Body type (hatchback, saloon, SUV, estate, etc);
● Number of seats needed
● How much boot space you need
● Cost efficiency
● How much you can afford each month
Most EVs have a battery range of 150-300 miles, with a minimum of 130 miles. Considering the average commute is just 20 miles, even at the lower range you might only need to recharge every couple of days. Some premium EVs – such as the Tesla Model S – have a range of 400 miles. If you tend to drive long distances on a regular basis, opting for a longer-range EV would be sensible.
Charging speed: How long does it take to charge an electric car?
If you have off-street parking, it’s a good idea to install a charge point at home. These domestic chargers are limited to 7.4kW – using the ‘AC’ grid.
If you don’t have off-street parking, you’ll need to rely on public charge points. On AC, A small EV will take up to four hours to charge, while a larger Ev could take up to eight hours. ‘DC’ or ‘rapid charging’ allows for much faster charging than the AC grid. Every BEV has a DC charging rate – e.g. 50kW, 80kW, 100kW, 150kW. The higher the DC rating the faster the battery will charge.
Just 20 minutes using a motorway charger at 50kW could add 60 miles to an EV’s range. A smaller EV may take a little as 40 minutes to fully recharge on a 50kW charger.
Newer rapid chargers offer rates of 150kW. If you often travel long distances, investing in an EV with a 150kW DC rating is prudent.
Driving an EV for, say, 200 miles is considerably cheaper than driving an ICE over the same distance. But exactly how much you’ll save depends on how efficient your battery pack is.
Work out an EV’s level of battery efficiency by dividing the WLTP range figure by the usable capacity of the battery in kWh. The higher the resulting number, the more efficient a battery is.
But even a less efficient EV is much cheaper to run than a petrol or a diesel.
Many electric vehicles have superb acceleration because power is delivered to the electric motors in an instant. For example, a Tesla Model 3 Performance can reach 60mph in just 3.1 seconds.
Even a Nissan Leaf has a zero-to-60mph time of 7.4 seconds. If performance matters to you, spend time comparing these figures.
Day-to-day running and maintenance
Because you don’t need to pay for things like oil changes, transmission servicing, or replacement spark plugs, drive belts and air filters, your overall maintenance costs should be much lower compared to an ICE.
Indeed, it has been estimated that EV owners spend around a third of what an ICE owner would on servicing.
Get optimal range
If range anxiety is a big issue for you, there are a number of ways you can make your battery charge last longer.
● Drive smoothly
● Keep under 60mph
● Using regenerative braking when possible
● Limit heater and AC use
● Optimally inflate tyres
● Remove unnecessary weight
● Don’t add accessories than increases drag
● Take efficient routes
Find a quality used EV with Letchworth Motor Auctions
You’ll find a wide range of used EVs on Letchworth Motor Auctions. We primarily serve Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Suffolk, Midlands and London – but help motorists buy and sell EVs across the UK.
Take a look at our EV auction stock list today, and begin your electric vehicle journey.