Should I invest in an electric car?

26th March 2018

BMW i8

Many consumers have long been deterred from paying for an electric car due to factors including the relatively high purchase cost and - a point on which we will later elaborate - "range anxiety". However, as electric vehicles - or EVs, as they are often called - have become less costly and the technology has held up to long-term scrutiny, opting for an EV has become a more palatable option.

Ways that an electric car can save you money

If you currently use a conventional car for your regular driving obligations, you might be accustomed to contending with an array of nuisance costs. Daily commutes by car, for example, could necessitate you spending as much as £70 on fuel each month, maybe more. If your commuting journeys go through central London, you would also have the daily £11.50 congestion charge to think about.

However, electric cars - which could enable you to abandon those regular visits to the petrol pump in favour of simply recharging the vehicle at night, in a way that you might already routinely do with your phone - can be free of many costs that blight life with a traditional car.

For example, depending on your electricity tariff, charging an EV overnight to enable 100 miles' driving can cost you only about £3-£4. As for using a petrol car to travel that same distance, The Guardian puts the estimated cost at £15, which can rise in the case of particularly varied journeys.

From little acorns mighty electric cars do grow

The electric car revolution is small, but growing; there are currently 100,000 electric cars in use in the UK and 2 million across the globe. If you start using one, you could also eliminate your vehicle usage's carbon emissions; this could become especially crucial as emissions rules take effect.

This helps to explain the revelation, made by Reuters in January, that the world's automakers were readying $90 billion of investment in electric vehicles. In November, the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced, as reported by Saga, a round of fresh funding for the EV market. The Government said it was set to "establish a new £400m charging infrastructure fund, invest an extra £100 million in Plug-In-Car Grant, and £40 million in charging R&D".

What are electric cars really like to drive?

It's not just the electric car revolution that is quiet; on the road, the actual cars are, too. Noise, vibration and harshness - NVH - are all absent in electric cars when driven. Overtaking can also be done very quickly due to the maximum torque which an electric car can instantly make available.

Range anxiety - in other words, the fear of running out of electricity without a charging point in sight - can also prove a non-issue in the main. Kerry lawyer Tim O'Leary - who, with the rest of his family, replaced an SUV gas-guzzler with an all-electric Nissan Leaf - told The Guardian: "Range anxiety seems to exist with people who don't have electric cars" rather than people who do have them.

Tips for buying, leasing and insuring electric cars

If you have previously thought about getting an electric car only to dismiss the idea later, one good reason to reconsider is that, today, the choice of such cars is broader than it might have been since you last investigated the idea. Though Tesla is still among the market's leading names, Mike Jackson, chief executive of US auto retail chain, claims that "Tesla faces real competition".

Undoubtedly a factor in the broadening of choice in the EV market is the growth of the second-hand EV segment - resulting, ironically, from consumers' arguably unjustified low confidence in EVs. If you do turn to the used market, you could see prices as low as £5,000 for an electric car. The Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf are examples of respectable EVs which you might find on this market.

Nonetheless, at the moment, you could still see greater appeal in leasing, rather than buying, an electric car. Purchase a car now, and you could find that later advances in technology cutting the prices of new models significantly hurts your purchased vehicle's resale value. However, if you lease a car instead, you could simply return it come the end of the leasing term.

What electric car you obtain and how you do so can influence which car insurance policy would be most recommended for you; however, call us to let us help you find the best quote.

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