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An electric vehicle is one that is powered by an electric motor instead of, or in a hybrid alongside, a traditional internal combustion engine. They use rechargeable batteries that you charge by plugging the vehicle into a charging point to take electricity from the power grid. For more information on electric vehicles, charging them and why you should choose one for your next car lease take a look at our guide below. 

Types of Electric Vehicles:

Electric vehicles fall into one of two categories – Fully electric and hybrid.

Fully electric vehicles, sometimes known as pure electric vehicles (EV) or battery electric vehicles (BEV) use a rechargeable battery to power the car rather than the traditional combustion engine.

As well as fully electric vehicles there are several hybrid options. These include plug-in hybrids, mild hybrids and full hybrids, sometimes called self-charging hybrids. For more information on hybrid vehicles please scroll down to the hybrid section below. 

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Why Choose an Electric Car?

There are a lot of reasons to choose an electric vehicle for your next lease. Take a look at our top ten below:

  1. Fully electric vehicles produce zero emissions so are better for the environment.
  2. As they have no emission you will not need to pay road tax on fully electric vehicles that are listed at under £40,000. 
  3. Electric vehicles have lower overall running costs as charging them costs much less than filling up at a petrol station.
  4. There are fewer moving parts in electric vehicles so the cost of servicing and maintenance on them is generally lower.
  5. There are a lot of tax benefits and incentives you might be eligible to apply for if you decide to lease an electric car, including government grants and lower Benefit in Kind (BIK) rates.
  6. Until December 2025 fully electric vehicles are exempt from the Congestion Charge in London.
  7. It is getting easier and easier to charge electric vehicles with more carparks and retail centres designing electric parking areas with charging points. You can also install a charging point at home for overnight charging.  
  8. The electric car market is a growing one and more brands are committed to designing zero emission vehicles so there is an ever-expanding range of models for you to choose from.
  9. Electric vehicles make very little engine noise so you’ll have a quieter driving environment.
  10. There are apps available that show you a map of all the UK's charging points, so you can plan your journey or find your closest charger very easily.

 

For a look at all the benefits of Electric vehicles just click here.

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Is Electric Right for You?

When deciding if an electric vehicle is the right choice for you there are a number of things you will want to consider.

Unlike with a petrol or diesel vehicle an electric car can only travel a certain number of miles before you will need to charge it. The ranges that electric models offer are usually less than their fuel powered counterparts, and the charging time is longer than filling up at a petrol station would be. This causes some drivers to experience what is called range anxiety, the worry that they will not make it to their destination without having to charge the car. If you do a lot of long journeys with little time between trips then you will need to factor in charging times when deciding if an electric vehicle would work for you.

Electric cars are becoming more popular and with this there are more charging points being built all the time but there are still fewer charging points than petrol stations. There are maps that can help you find charging points on your journey but you may still need to plan your stops more than you would with a petrol or diesel car. 

Compared to the few minutes it takes to fill up at a petrol station charging your electric car takes a longer time. This can be inconvenient if you’re half way through a journey and then need to wait for the vehicle to be charged before you can continue.

If you do not have off street parking then you will not be able to install a home charging point. If this is the case you will need to look at other available charging points and how you will manage charging the vehicle.  

Although electric vehicles are growing in popularity, compared to petrol and diesel cars there are fewer models for you to choose from. Most brands only have one or two electric vehicles in their range compared to the many petrol and diesel variants, however manufacturers are looking to add more fully electric and hybrid options to their ranges in the coming years.

 

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Charging:

To charge your electric vehicle you will need to plug it in.

You will be able to do this at a variety of locations, including shopping centres, carparks and motorway service stations.

If you want to take a look at available chargers across the UK then carwow's interactive map shows you all the public chargers available. Check it out by clicking here.  

Most people also have a charging point installed at their home so that they can charge their car overnight.

There are different types of connectors for charging and these vary between vehicle models and the power rating of the charging point.

Most vehicles have a type one or type two connector for slow and fast charging and either a CHAdeMO or CCS for DC rapid charging. Tesla Model X and Model S are the exception to this as they use a type two connection for rapid charging.

The time it takes for a vehicle to charge can vary for a number of reasons, including:

  • The type of charging station.
  • How much power the station can provide, which is measured in kW.
  • How much power the vehicle can accept.

There are three power ratings of charging station in the UK; rapid, fast and slow. Click below to take a look at each type.

Rapid:

  • There are two types of rapid chargers in the UK, AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). AC chargers offer 43kW and DC chargers usually offer around 50kW. The only exception to this is Tesla’s DC Superchargers that offer 120kW.
  • Not all cars are compatible with rapid chargers.
  • These are not as common as fast or slow chargers.

Fast:

  • Offers between seven and 22kW of power.
  • Usually uses a type one or type two socket.
  • The most common type of charger in the UK.

Slow:

  • Up to 3kW of power.
  • Use a type two socket or three pin plug.
  • Charging via the three pin plug should only be used in an emergency.

Hybrid Vehicles:

Hybrid vehicles combine an internal combustion engine with an electric motor. There are three types of hybrids available in the UK: plug-in hybrids (PHEV), mild hybrids (MHEV) and full hybrids (HEV), sometimes known as self-charging hybrids.

The difference between a PHEV and a HEV is that a PHEV needs plugging in to charge the electric part of the engine, whereas the battery in a HEV is charged by the combustion engine and through regenerative braking.

A MHEV is a type of hybrid car that does not need charging like a PHEV and is simpler and cheaper than the traditional HEV design. It is designed to give the combustion engine a boost under heavy acceleration and from a standing start as well as cutting the ignition when power isn’t needed, also known as a start-stop system. MHEVs do not save as much fuel as conventional hybrids, but are typically easier and cheaper to integrate into a conventional car which is usually reflected in the price for you.

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Why Choose a Hybrid?

If you are unsure if a fully electric car would be the right fit for you then you might want to take a look at a hybrid instead. There are a lot of reasons that could make a hybrid more appealing to you, take a look at some of the top ones below:

  • Although hybrids still use fuel, so still produce some emissions, they produce less than a vehicle solely powered by petrol or diesel.
  • Unlike with pure electric vehicles you will not need to worry about the car’s range and having to plan your journey and stops around this.
  • A hybrid uses less fuel than a traditional petrol or diesel vehicle.
  • There are still some tax incentives on hybrid vehicles, though these are less than the ones offered on a fully electric vehicle.
  • Plug-in hybrids often have lower road tax than their petrol or diesel counterparts.
  • Most modern hybrids offer a choice of driving modes so you can maximise performance and efficiency depending on the driving conditions.

Is a Hybrid Right for You?

Just like with a fully electric vehicle there are many factors you will need to consider when deciding if a hybrid car is the right choice for you. 

Although they use less fuel hybrids do still require petrol or diesel as well so you will want to think about the fuel consumption when looking at hybrid models.

If you decide on a PHEV you will also need to factor in charging the vehicle. Just like with a EV you can use a public charging point at various locations or you could install a home charging point.

The service and maintenance costs on a hybrid will usually be more expensive as there is both an electric motor and combustion engine that need to be looked after.  

The electric range on a hybrid is limited and most can only drive a short distance or at low speeds in electric mode. The vehicle will then switch over to the combustion engine. 

Because of the weight of the battery, and depending on the model the location of it, the weight distribution in a hybrid can be less than ideal which can affect the handling.

Though there are still some tax incentives on hybrids these are not as good as the ones offered on EVs.

Want to find out more about leasing a vehicle? Check our either our Personal Leasing Guide or Business Leasing Guide. Or if you want to take a look at our top deals to find the right electric car for your next lease then head over to the Electric Offers page.

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