THE ban on new petrol, diesel and even hybrid cars is to be accelerated by five years in order to cut emissions quicker, says Boris Johnson.
With motorists pushed into driving greener vehicles sooner, and the sale of new combustion-engine cars and vans to end in 2030, what are the practicalities of using electric cars ahead of the ban on diesel and petrol vehicles?
How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home?
According to EDF Energy, electricity costs 14p per kWh on average.
So, you’d pay £6 for a 13-hour charge on a 40kWh Nissan Leaf using a 3kW charger.
However, as electricity costs less off-peak (e.g. at night), the charge is more likely to be £4.
Home charging can be done using an existing plug socket or a wall-box home charging unit.
A typical wallbox home-charging unit can supply power between 3 and 22kW – and with a charge of 7KW, it can cut charge times in half.
You’ll need to pay to install one, but a government grant will fund up to 75 per cent of the cost of purchase, up to a maximum value of £350.
How much does it cost to charge an electric car at a charging station?
Running an electric car is less expensive than a petrol or diesel thanks to the cheap cost of charging up.
The cost depends on the type of vehicle you're charging, what its battery capacity is, and where you're topping it up – at home, work or via a public provider.
You'll pay more at a public operator for a fast charger, for example, while slow 3kW chargers are the cheapest to use.
But it's not simply a case of plugging in anywhere – you'll need accounts with various operators like Chargemaster, Source London, Pod Point, and Ecotricity to make sure you can access different points.
Some of these come with a nominal yearly or monthly subscription fee and then a fixed usage rate depending on how long you charge for while others offer pay-as-you-go.
Most use an app to help you keep track of costs.
According to Pod Point, for a typical electric car with a 60kW battery, and up to 200 mile range:
- Charging at home costs about £8.40 for a full charge
- Work points should be free
- Public location charging at supermarkets or car parks are often free for the duration of your visit
- Rapid charging points, for example at motorway service stations, can cost about £6.50 for a half-hour charge
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
There are three main charging speeds: slow, fast and rapid.
If using a 7kW unit – for example installed as a home charging station – this takes about three to five hours to recharge an electric vehicle, according to the RAC.
But for those in a hurry, a 22kW point will be faster, typically charging a car in one-to-two-hours, says the motoring organisation.
A much slower 3kW wallbox will "give a full charge in six to eight hours", says What Car.
And if you're in a real rush, rapid chargers (43-120kW) will see you moving after 20-40 minutes.
How long it takes to charge an electric car depends on the type of charging point, which is defined by the power (kW) and speed at which they charge.
In 2019, Shell launched the UK’s first high-powered 150kW EV charger on a forecourt, at Battersea Service Station in London.
It said the charger “can deliver power up to three times faster, depending on the electric vehicle model”.
Where are the electric car charging stations in the UK?
The UK Government is planning to bring forward the date of its proposed ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 to 2030 – and for the ban to now include hybrid vehicles, both conventional and plug-in hybrids.
But, Zap Map warns, infrastructure to keep pace with the accelerated ban is a "key issue".
They added: "Some areas of the UK are under-served in terms of charge points – both private and public."
Zap-Map is a useful app that shows you the location of charging points across the UK, and the type of charger available.
EVs currently account for around 3-4 per cent of the UK new car market, it says.
Although the charging infrastructure is expanding, there will be greater load on the grid than initially expected.
There are more than 7,000 locations with a public charging point installed, providing more than 20,000 connectors.
Many electric cars also have sat nav that recognises these locations and can direct you to those within range
Businesses can provide charging points, so check with your office.
And why not consider getting a home charger installed so you can plug it in overnight?
Petrol stations also have charging points.
Are electric cars cheaper to run than diesel or petrol cars?
Electric vehicles "are likely to cost you less over the course of ownership.
"Electricity costs much less than petrol or diesel, and electric cars require less maintenance than an internal combustion engine," points out EDF.
It helps too that some councils offer discounted parking for EVs, and road toll charges are lower.
Are electric cars cheaper to buy and insure?
Most electric cars carry a price premium over their traditional rivals – an e-Golf is more expensive than a diesel Golf for example.
And Tesla cars continue to be out of the reach of many.
However, prices for mainstream motors are getting closer to petrol and diesels.
The bad news is that government grants to help buy EVs could end in the next two months, says The Times.
The paper reports that the £3,500 subsidy scheme for buyers of plug-in cars "expires at the end of March, and motor industry leaders fear that it will be ditched".
But, some car makers are still offering scrappage trade-in incentives to "encourage owners of older vehicles to trade them in for newer, less polluting models," reports What Car.
You can also claw back some costs by getting a £500 grant to install an EV home charging point.
When it comes to insurance, covering an electric car can be more expensive than insuring a car with a petrol or diesel engine, but this situation is changing, say experts.
What Car explains that “as electric cars become more commonplace and there is more data for the cost of repairs, so more insurers have entered the market and so costs have come down”.
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