Benefits And Disadvantages Of Electric Cars
The main benefits of an electric car include saving money on fuel – as charging is a cheaper alternative – plus exemptions from tax, reduced maintenance costs and a government grant to help you buy your next EV (electric vehicle). However, they’re not without some disadvantages, including being more expensive to own, considerably slower to charge compared with refuelling and model choice is limited.
Discover everything you need to know to be able to decide if an electric car is right for you in this guide.
7 benefits of an electric car
Unlike petrols, hybrids and diesels, electric cars don’t emit any emissions from the exhaust meaning they’re great for eco-friendly driving. As such, EVs can have positive environmental and health impacts.
But that’s not all. Here are seven benefits of electric cars.
1. Environmental and health benefit
It’s estimated that 4.6 million people die each year due to illnesses related to air pollution and that worldwide there are more deaths from air pollution than motor accidents.
In the UK, vehicle emissions make up 21% of all greenhouse gases – a large drop in the polluted ocean. Thankfully, electric vehicles produce zero emissions – helping to make a positive change.
Cars are also a main contributor to environmental noise pollution which can have serious impacts on our mental and physical health. Electric cars produce little to no noise and use artificial sound to make them loud enough to be heard by other road users and pedestrians.
2. Cheap/free charging
Electricity is a lot more affordable and abundant than fossil fuels, so charging tariffs are cheaper than petrol and diesel prices. There are even free charging stations to encourage electric vehicle use, making them an even more desirable alternative.
Charging at home
Charging at home provides the most convenience and the cheapest form of charging, aside from free stations, thanks to its low average cost of only 14p per kWh. This means that the average cost for a full charge overnight is only £8.40! This is a huge difference to filling up your tank with standard fuel.
Charging at work
An increasing number of employers are now offering free charging to staff and visitors, which can help save you a lot of money when topping up. They also often supply 22kW fast charging points allowing you truly maximise your parked downtime while at the office.
Public charging stations
EV charging has come a long way since the early days and as well as being more common, thanks to technologies like Zap-Map it’s now even easier to find your nearest charging station. This allows you to quickly plan your charging route for longer journeys and rapid charging means you don’t need to stop and wait for as long as you used to!
Also, while public charging is often the most expensive form of charging, it’s still affordable thanks to over 40 different major/minor networks that provide charging points in the UK. As such, prices are competitive and you’re able to choose a network that best suits your charging needs.
3. Cheap maintenance
The way an electric car works means that it requires very few moving parts in order to operate. Because of this, any routine maintenance you carry out or scheduled servicing for your EV will tend to be cheaper and less problematic than in a regular petrol or diesel model.
Electric car servicing
When it comes to servicing your electric car, you’ll be glad to know that on average it’s cheaper to maintain than traditional vehicles thanks to its fewer parts and more durable components. For example, batteries are expected to have an average lifespan of 200,000 miles and motors are expected to still be going strong 15-20 years down the line.
However, there will be some components that need replacing fairly regularly in an electric car such as:
- Cabin air filters at around £16-£40 each.
- Tyres at around £60 each (prices will differ depending on the model of the vehicle).
- Brake pads and discs at around £250 – EVs are gentle on the brakes thanks to regenerative braking, so this probably won’t need doing until after every 12,000 miles.
4. Electric car grants
If you’re considering buying an EV, then the chances are that you can knock off £3,000 from the asking price, as well as £350 for a home charger. This is because government grants are in place to encourage drivers to go electric for their next vehicle.
With charging being the most common barrier to entry, the government is trying to make it as easy and as affordable as possible to own an electric car. As a result, they introduced the electric vehicle homecharge scheme (EVHS) to assist with the costs of purchase and installation of home chargers.
This grant allows eligible applicants to knock off 75% (up to £350) off the price of an eligible home chargepoint.
Plug-in car grant
As well as a grant for home chargers, the government also offers a grant for the purchase of new EVs that is automatically applied to eligible vehicles by manufacturers and dealers.
The plug-in car grant (PiCG) allows eligible applicants to knock off 35% (up to £3,000) of the purchase price of eligible low emission vehicles.
5. Latest technology
Electric cars are some of the most modern vehicles on the market, and therefore manufacturers pack them with new tech which can benefit you (the driver) in terms of driving experience and keeping safe on the road.
Frequent finds in modern electric vehicles include advanced driver assistance systems such as lane assist, advanced emergency braking, speed sign recognition, blind spot alert and lane departure warnings, all of which help to keep you safe on the road.
These infotainment systems often also benefit from unique features that are typically exclusive to electric cars, such as accurate range indicators and component diagnostics. Tesla even uses over-the-air software updates to improve and further enhance your vehicle while you sleep.
In the Tesla Model 3 (the brand’s most successful car), you can have bucketloads of fun with its iPad-sized screen. Spotify and Netflix are readied onto the software so you can easily stream your favourite music, or your passengers can kick back and binge on their favourite shows. Another cool feature is the in-car games, which allow you to use the Model 3’s steering wheel as a remote to play driving simulators when you’re not on the move.
Driver convenience is paramount to the whole driving experience and electric cars benefit more so than others in this category due to the ease of connecting tech with the electric motor.
For example, autonomous driving is an ongoing and exciting topic within the car industry and it has a strong favour towards electric vehicles. Tesla is one of the leading companies for both electric vehicles and autonomous driving with its AutoPilot technology. The manufacturer also has more production vehicles capable of advanced levels of autonomy on the road than any other.
6. Longer range
WLTP tests have replaced the old NEDC procedure to give a more accurate reading for range, so there’s a lot more transparency in the market now and less ‘range anxiety’.
Battery capacity is also continuing to improve, allowing EVs to travel further and further on a single charge with each new iteration.
Here are five examples of long range EVs.
Tesla’s much anticipated Roadster is set to smash records as both the fastest and longest range EV on the market.
Advertised range: 620
Real range: 600
Full charge charging time (7.4kWh home charger): 32 hours
Rapid charging time: 44 minutes
Tesla Model S
The long range variant of the Tesla Model S is currently the longest range EV on the market with an approximate real world range of 325 miles.
Advertised range: 375
Real range: 325
Full charge charging time (7.4kWh home charger): 15 hours
Rapid charging time: 38 minutes
The Volkswagen ID.3’s long range variant, which is expected in Autumn 2020, is going to have the looks and the range with an expected real range of just under 300 miles.
Advertised range: 340
Real range: 295
Full charge charging time (7.4kWh home charger): 12 hours 15 minutes
Rapid charging time: 34 minutes
Tesla Model 3
Tesla cement their position as one of the leading electric car manufacturers, with yet another long range vehicle. The long range variant of the Tesla Model 3 is also capable of just shy of 300 miles.
Advertised range: 340
Real range: 295
Full charge charging time (7.4kWh home charger): 11 hours 45 minutes
Rapid charging time: 22 minutes
Skoda Vision IV
Also expected later this year is Skoda’s Vision IV. Built upon the same framework as Volkswagen’s ID range, the Vision IV also benefits from long range capabilities.
Advertised range: 310
Real range: 275
Full charge charging time (7.4kWh home charger): 13 hours 15 minutes
Rapid charging time: 33 minutes
7. Quick acceleration
Thanks to instant access to acceleration due to no combustion process, EVs can generate a lot of power across the entire RPM (revolutions per minute) range which leads to quick responsive acceleration. This is great for driver-centric people who fear that an electric car wouldn’t be as fun to drive as a standard car.
Take the Vauxhall Corsa-e, for example. It has a 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds compared to its fastest combustion engine counterpart that has a 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds.
4 disadvantages of an electric car
While electric cars have a large number of benefits, they’re not perfect and a traditional motor may be more suitable for you depending on your situation. Here are four disadvantages of electric cars.
Even with the government’s £3,000 plug-in car grant, electric cars are still more expensive than their petrol or diesel cousins and this can be a serious factor that causes many would-be drivers to steer away.
For example, the Volkswagen e-Golf has an on-the-road price of £28,075 with the grant already deducted. This is nearly £7,000 more than the standard petrol model which starts from £21,145.
While more and more manufacturers are playing catchup to the likes of Tesla and are introducing electric variants of their popular models, choice is still rather limited when it comes to choosing an electric vehicle.
More often than not you need to elect for an electric only model such as the Seat Mii instead of being able to choose from any vehicle in the manufacturer’s range.
As well as being limited in choice when it comes to models, you’re also limited in choice when it comes to types of vehicle. For example, while electric city cars are a common occurrence, there’s a distinct lack of electric SUVs and pickups.
The current lineup of practical SUVs are also often premium brands such as the Audi E-Tron, BMW iX3, Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC. The number of affordable alternatives are few and far between with only the MG ZS, Hyundai Kona and Kia E-Niro on offer.
Even though charging is becoming more accessible and commonplace, there are still eligibility issues regarding home charging.
A home charger can only be installed if:
1. You have off-street parking such as a public/private drive or garage.
2. The charger can be fixed at a height where it won’t be hit by a car.
3. Connector cables can run safely from the charger to the car (a risk assessment will be carried out to determine this and point two.)
So, if you’re unfortunate enough to live somewhat distant from the nearest public charging station and don’t qualify for a home charger, you may find that charging requires quite a bit of planning.
Moreover while rapid charging is becoming more apparent, relying purely on rapid charging can be detrimental to battery longevity and very expensive. As a result, there’s currently no quick fix to charging times which leads to an awkward and sometimes long wait when topping up that can’t quite compare to the speed of a petrol/diesel pump.
If you still have questions about electric car leasing, head over to our handy guides page to find out all you need to know. Or if you think you’re ready to find your ideal car, view our best lease deals now.