What’s the difference between a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and a fully electric car?
Hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars all use battery power to drive but to varying degrees:
Hybrids – use battery power at slow speeds and are charged internally by the car. Have a fuel tank and battery.
Plug-in hybrids – travel further on battery power than hybrids and are charged externally. Have a fuel tank and battery,
Fully electric cars – rely completely on battery power and must be charged externally. Don’t have a fuel tank.
Where can I buy an electric car?
You can buy an electric car in the same ways you’d buy a diesel or petrol car; online, in a showroom or from a second-hand seller. Electric vehicles (EVs) have been around a while now and a growing second-hand market means you can find used electric cars for sale on the usual websites and forecourts.
Are all electric cars automatic?
Yes. Although some high-performance models like the Porsche Taycan and Audi RS e-tron GT use a 2-speed gearbox, the cars automatically decide when to use them. Electric cars don’t need a gearstick and clutch to work, and more drivers are growing to enjoy the experience of driving an automatic.
Does insurance cost more for an electric car?
Insuring an electric car used to be significantly more expensive than insuring a petrol or diesel vehicle - but times are changing. According to comparethemarket.com, the average annual premium for an electric car in 2021 was only £33 more expensive than the average premium for a conventional combustion engine car1.
All insurance companies offer policies for electric vehicles however as volumes increase prices are becoming more competitive and will probably become even more affordable in the future. As with other types of car, insurance premiums are more expensive for models in higher insurance groups with parts that are expensive to replace or repair.
The usual factors also affect the cost of insuring an EV. Younger drivers and those with a history of making claims are likely to spend more on their premiums, just as they would for a petrol or diesel car.
Do electric cars need an MOT?
Electric cars must have an MOT after 3 years. Tests should be booked in time for the third anniversary of their registration and every year after their last MOT.
EVs have better pass rates than petrol and diesel cars, mainly because there are fewer moving parts, making them less vulnerable to wear and tear.
What type of garage do you need to visit to maintain an electric car?
The best way to get an electric car serviced is through its manufacturer. Independent garages are unlikely to have the equipment to fix electric cars and warranties can become void if non-manufacturer approved parts are used.
Most manufacturers have an 8-year warranty on their batteries. However, they should last between 10 and 20 years before they need to be replaced.
How many electric charging stations are in the UK?
According to Zap-Map there were 33,996 public charging devices in the UK by August 2022, that’s a 34% increase in 1 year. The number of charging devices is expected to hit 300,000 by 2030, almost 5 times the number of fuel pumps on the roads today.
When is the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK?
New petrol and diesel cars will not be sold in the UK from 2030. By 2035 no new hybrid or plug-in hybrid cars can be sold, as all new cars are required to have zero tailpipe emissions.
Although the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned, combustion-engine vehicles can still be bought second-hand. However, with improvements to range and charging infrastructure, the environmental benefits and increasing affordability, an EV may be a more appealing purchase long before the end of the decade.
Do owners of electric cars pay the ULEZ charge?
No, fully electric cars are currently exempt from the £12.50 Ultra Low Emission Zone or ULEZ charge in London. Generally speaking, petrol cars first registered after 2005 and diesel cars first registered after September 2015, are also exempt.
EVs are also currently exempt from charges in other planned and existing Clean Air Zones around the country.
How do you charge an electric car at a public charging point?
One of the easiest ways to find a public charging point is through your phone. There are a number of apps that share the location of electric car chargers in the UK from different networks and some that also allow you to pay for charging. Alternatively, EV owners can pay through a subscription or on a pay-per-session basis using debit and credit cards at compatible charge points.
You can find public chargers in motorway service stations, public car parks and at the side of residential roads too. Find out more about how electric car charging works.