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Is 2021 the year to buy your first electric car?

Updated: Jul 26, 2021

If it’s a question you’ve been asking of yourself, be assured that you’re not the only one. As the UK Government continues to incentivise going electric while ramping up taxes on anything petrol or diesel powered, the financial argument already looks increasingly compelling.


However, is the Government’s carrot and stick approach enough to make taking the plunge worthwhile? In this piece, we go through some of the various factors to consider beyond price when deliberating over whether or not to go electric.



Running costs coupled with subsidies and grants


We will start with one of the most important considerations - price. After all, a car is one of the most significant investments people tend to make after property.


Firstly, the higher price tags attached to electric cars tell only half a story. You must factor in the considerably cheaper running costs and if you calculate the amount spent on fuel over the lifetime of a petrol or diesel car, it dwarfs the amount needed to charge an electric alternative. Indeed, a full charge will cost you between £5 and £10 depending on the car you go for and will still be good for the best part of 200 miles.


And then there’s the subsidies and exemptions. Providing an electric car costs less than £35,000, the UK Government provides buyers with a grant – known as the Plug-in Car Grant, or PiGC – of £2,500 towards the asking price and £350 towards a home electric charger through the Electric Vehicle Home charge Scheme. However, the subsidy has recently been reduced from £3,000 on a £50,000 vehicle to £2,500 on a £35,000 vehicles, so maybe now is time to act in case it goes down again.


For company car drivers, it gets even better. With the Benefit-In-Kind (BiK) tax now scrapped for electric car drivers, there is zero BiK tax to pay for the first year of driving. The following year there is only 1% of the car’s value to pay in BiK, and 2% the year after that, amounting to thousands saved over the first three years.


And one other thing, if you regularly drive in central London, electric cars are exempt from the Congestion Charge.


The driving experience


A persistent myth surrounding electric cars is that they fail to match the performance of those powered by internal combustion engines. This couldn’t be less true.


Petrol and diesel engines must spin at thousands of revs before full power can be unleashed. Electric cars, on the other hand, deliver that power the second motion begins, meaning teeth-clenching acceleration. A basic model, such as a Renault Zoe will still have you travelling at 62mph from a standstill in around 10 seconds, and the likes of the Tesla Model S will get you there in well under 3.


Despite their pace, electric cars are also remarkably quiet. With no combustion engine this impressive performance is delivered with hardly any sound.


Comfort-wise, as battery packs tend to be weighty objects, engineering electric cars for a luxurious ride rather than a sporty one is easier for manufacturers, hence comfort usually comes before adrenaline. That said, at the upper end of the scale, solutions have been found to give the responsiveness petrol-heads crave, it’s just those solutions are reflected in the price.


The tech


Modern electric cars are practically computers with wheels. It is standard for them to come with dedicated smartphone apps that allow for such functionality as controlling battery charging times to coincide with off-peak rates and the level of charge a battery gets.


Some apps will also allow you to turn on power-sapping air-conditioning ahead of un-plugging and commencing your journey, meaning the interior hits your preferred temperature without robbing of you of precious miles.


And then there are those apps that ply you with all kinds of handy information such as the whereabouts of charge points in your local area, how long a charge will take and how much it’ll cost, and whether a charge point is occupied or available. All in real-time.


Emission-free driving


The principal rationale behind electric motoring is that it’s better for the environment and is the reason the Government is so keen to increase uptake.


Although the process of building an electric car does create emissions, as do the power stations which generate the energy needed to charge them, it is generally accepted that electric cars are still cleaner than conventional petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars in terms of overall CO2 production. And, as power stations increasingly move towards more renewable energy sources, electric cars will only get cleaner.


So, should I buy an electric car now?


There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, but if electric motoring fits your lifestyle and is within your budget, then now is as good a time as any.


#electriccar #homechargingpoints

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