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The ultimate guide to a business electric car lease

The ultimate guide to a business electric car lease

What is a business electric car lease? Why lease a business electric car rather than purchase one? What’s the difference between a business lease and a personal lease? Why an electric car lease instead of hybrid, petrol, or diesel cars? Let us answer all your questions in our Ultimate Guide to Leasing an Electric Car for Business.

Are you ready to go electric?

Want to know if an electric car is the right choice for you?

Join in with our simple online quiz to find out more.

Start the quiz

Why lease a company car rather than buy one?

There are lots of reasons why many companies lease their company cars rather than purchase them outright, from lower Corporation Tax to residual value protection. First things first though, let’s cover the basics of what company car or business leasing is and what types of companies qualify. 

Company car leasing works like car rental, except for a much longer period. Your company chooses company cars, agrees on monthly fees and mileage allowances, and signs a contract usually for two, three or four years. At no point does the company own the car. At the end of the contract, the car is simply handed back.

Only registered businesses qualify for a business car lease. Whether that’s as sole traders, partnerships, limited liability partnerships, limited companies or VAT registered companies.  

By leasing company cars rather than purchasing them outright, your company can take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Lower Corporation Tax – lease any car with CO2 emissions of 50g/km or less and the full monthly rental payments are classed as deductible expenses. Meaning these costs can be off-set against company profits, leading to lower Corporation Tax.
  • VAT savings – leasing companies can reclaim VAT on every vehicle they lease, passing the savings on to customers. 
  • Attractive balance sheet – lease a company car and the asset or liability will not be shown on the balance sheet. 
  • Residual value protection – by leasing instead of buying, companies are protected from the financial risk of the vehicle losing value.
  • Financial certainty – leasing enables companies to plan budgets based on fixed monthly costs, with greater protection from unexpected maintenance costs. 
  • Protected cash flow – leasing allows companies to keep capital in their business to enable growth. 
Check electric cars for business
Electric car at a business charging
Electric car at a charging station

Why choose a business electric business leasing over personal leasing?

Most leasing companies offer a choice of both Business and Personal Leasing. Or as it’s more commonly called, Business Contract Hire (BCH) or Personal Contract hire (PCH). For BCH, you’re leasing the car or fleet on behalf of your company, while PCH is just for you. 

To enter into a BCH contract, you’ll need to provide details of the company, the registered number and address of the business, names of Directors and provide some bank statements. 

In general, the annual mileage allowance is higher on a business lease to account for regular motorway journeys. If you cover more than the maximum mileage, the company will have to pay an excess mileage charge.

It all comes down to VAT

If you’ve ever compared the BCH with the PCH price, you’ll know that there’s quite a difference in the two monthly prices. It all comes down to VAT. 

BCH prices are shown with 50% of the VAT already discounted, while the PCH contract always includes VAT, which in August 2023 was 20%. 

If your company is VAT registered, you can claim back 50% of the VAT on the monthly payments – plus 100% of VAT back on the maintenance agreement. 

Using a business car for personal use

Employees are free to use a company car for personal use, so long as you’re not claiming that the car is solely for business use only. Employees who use a company car for personal use, have to pay company car tax otherwise known as Benefit in Kind. More on that later. 

Electric car charge port

Why lease electric vs hybrid, petrol or diesel?

Once you’ve made your decision to lease and then to take advantage of a business lease, the next choice is whether to switch to a business electric car lease. Let’s look at the benefits, starting with Benefit in Kind.

Comparing BiK rates for business electric car lease

Benefit in Kind (BiK) is a tax on employees who receive benefits or perks on top of their salary. If employees have the use of a company car for private use, they have to pay a BiK contribution, also known as company car tax. 

Every car has a BIK rating based on CO2 emissions, and a P11D value which is the list price, including extras and VAT, but doesn’t include the first-year registration fee and vehicle tax.

The current company car tax rate for electric cars is just 2% fixed until April 2025, compared to up to 37% for some diesel cars. The rate is set to increase, but by just 1% each year until it reaches 5% in April 2028 – still way below the rate of petrol and diesel cars. 

Electric car example:

List price: £40,000

Taxable amount: £40,000 @ 2% = £800

Higher rate taxpayer: 40% of £800 = £320 per year

Basic rate taxpayer: 20% of £800 = £160 per year

Petrol car example:

List price: £40,000

Taxable amount: £40,000 @ 31% = £12,400

Higher rate taxpayer:
 40% of £12,400 = £4,960 per year

Basic rate taxpayer: 20% of £12,400 = £2480 per year

Lower Class 1A National Insurance contributions.

There are two kinds of company car tax on electric company cars. As we’ve discussed, employees pay Benefit in Kind tax, while employers pay Class 1A National Insurance Contributions. 

Switch your company cars to electric and you can save on NI contributions. That’s because companies pay National Insurance on an employee’s Benefit in Kind. Quite simply, the lower the employee’s BiK payments, the lower the company’s NI contribution. 

Zero Vehicle Excise Duty for a business electric car lease.

Until April 2025, owners of electric cars are exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty, commonly referred to as road tax. Drivers of petrol and diesel cars must pay an annual fee based on their CO2 emissions.
The new rules will see brand new electric cars registered on or after April 1st 2025 pay £10 in the first year, rising to £165 in subsequent years. Older EV models registered between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2025 will pay the standard £165 fee. Low emission and zero emission cars first registered between 1st March 2001 and 30th March 2017 will move to £20 a year.

100% exempt from ULEZ and Congestion Zone charges.

Electric cars emit zero emissions which means they are 100% exempt from ULEZ and Clean Air Zone charges. The daily charge for driving in London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone as of August 2023 is £12.50. So, if you have lots of business in London, it’s easy to see how this cost could build to around £3,500 per year for daily use. 
ULEZ isn’t the only road charging scheme in London. Drivers of electric and diesel cars that emit over 75g/km of CO2 face Congestion Zone fees of £15 a day – while electric cars are again exempt from all charges until December 2025. 

Other cities around the UK have introduced their own chargeable Clean Air Zones including Aberdeen, Bath, Bristol, Bradford, Glasgow and Portsmouth. Similar schemes are also in consultation in Cambridge, St Albans, Warrington and Wokingham. 

Lower whole life costs than petrol or diesel cars.

When we talk about whole life costs, we take into account all the costs across the life of the vehicle. 
When we’re making a comparison between an electric car and a petrol car for example, we’re comparing everything including the costs of the lease, how much it costs to charge up at the plug or fill up at the pump, plus tax, insurance and maintenance. 

Take the example below. Based on an average annual 20,000 miles business lease, you could save hundreds of pounds per month thanks to cheaper costs per mile. Resulting in significant savings – especially if you’re driving long distances on business. 

Then there’s maintenance and repairs. Electric cars have fewer moving parts that can become damaged or worn down, plus regenerative braking which places less strain on the brakes. Most lease companies also include a maintenance package in the cost to keep your car running at its best. So, it’s less likely you’ll have to worry about having to lose time or money getting your car fixed.

EVs also don’t require diesel particulate filters or additives such as AdBlue, both of which come at a cost. So much so, that Go Ultra Low – from the UK Government – once estimated that an electric car’s maintenance costs will be around 70% less than those of diesel or petrol cars over its lifetime.

Charging up an electric car. 

How do electric company cars compare when it comes to charging up versus filling up?

The difference is calculated in pence per mile. According to Fleet News in March 2024, UK average petrol prices were 143.49p per litre while diesel was more expensive at 152.69p per litre. Resulting in pence per mile costs of around 19p for a large 2000cc vehicle.

In the same month the average home electricity costs were priced on average at 30p per kWh. Meaning a typical large-size electric car (such as a Tesla Model 3) would cost around 11.1 per mile. This cost would come down to just 5p per mile at off-peak times when electricity is cheaper

The average rate for medium sized businesses during the same period was a comparable 29.8p per kWh. Business leasing customers who provide on-site charging at their premises may also benefit from tax deductions, and some local authorities may incentivise this further – saving electric company car drivers even more money.

Average cost per mile

PetrolDiesel Electric
19p19p5p per mile (off-peak)

When it comes to rapid public chargers, prices are generally more expensive at up to 25.7p per mile, but conversely, some also enable drivers to top-up for free. 

Claiming mileage back with electric business leasing.

AER stands for Advisory Electricity Rate and is set by government. It applies when a company reimburses an employee for business travel in a company car, or where an employee is required to repay the company for personal travel in a company car. 

On September 1st 2023, the advisory rate for fully electric cars was 10 pence per mile. As the price of electricity fluctuates, so do the recommended rates. To keep up to date and check the value of previous rates, take a look at the Gov.co.uk website. 

Of course, companies are not constrained by the advisory rate. Should they choose to, they can pay more than 10 pence per mile, by providing the required evidence to HMRC. 

Let’s sum up the main benefits of a business electric car lease.

Lease an electric car and the full monthly rental payments are classed as deductible expenses. Meaning these costs can be off-set against company profits for lower Corporation Tax.

If your company is VAT registered, you can claim back 50% of the VAT on the monthly payments – plus 100% of VAT back on the maintenance agreement. 

Your drivers will benefit from just 2% Benefit in Kind (BiK) rates until 2025, compared with up to 37% for some diesel cars. 

Take advantage of a lower upfront cost, typically equal to a few months of the monthly fee with a business electric car lease.

Electric cars have lower running costs than petrol or diesel cars, plus they are exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) until at least 2025. Check out how much an electric car could save you here. 

By leasing, costs are factored into your monthly payments, meaning you’re protected from any adverse depreciation.

Budget your monthly outgoings and enjoy the predictability of fixed monthly costs.

Electric cars produce zero emissions which is not only good for the environment, but good for the pocket too, since they are exempt from costly ULEZ and Clean Air Zone charges.

You won’t have to worry about maintenance, servicing or costly mechanical repair bills with a business electric car lease.

Good EV leasing companies deliver more than just electric cars – you benefit from more buying power and bigger discounts to greater stock availability and more choice. 

A company car is still one of the most attractive employee benefits that could help to attract and retain staff.

Electric cars produce zero emissions at the tailpipe, helping your company meet its sustainability targets. 

Is an electric car
right for me?

Discover electric cars that are available through our partner CBVC today.

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Ultimate Guide to ULEZ

Ultimate Guide to ULEZ

Is my car exempt from ULEZ charge? Do electric cars pay congestion charge? How many Clean Air Zones are there? Read our Ultimate EV Guide to ULEZ to answer all your questions and discover why switching to electric can be good for the environment and your pocket.

Clean Air Zones

What is ULEZ?

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a road user charging scheme in London that was first announced in 2015 and then officially introduced in April 2019. It was brought in to reduce air pollution in the city, principally by charging drivers of vehicles that do not meet acceptable emissions standards.

Over the last four years, ULEZ has been expanded from central London to the North and South Circular roads, and in August 2023 to cover all of Greater London.

What’s the daily charge of ULEZ?

The daily charge for driving in the zone as of August 2023 is £12.50 for cars, vans, motorcycles, and minibuses. While trucks and buses are charged a higher rate of £100 per day. If you are a regular driver into London, it may be worth considering upgrading your vehicle or registering for the exemption scheme. Paying the charge just once a week would cost around £650 a year, while the costs skyrocket to around £3,500 per year for daily use. 

ULEZ sign post

Do electric cars pay ULEZ charges?

Electric cars emit zero emissions which means they are 100% exempt from ULEZ and Clean Air Zone charges. 

There are a number of other exemptions from the ULEZ charge, including:

  • Vehicles that meet the Euro 6 emissions standard for diesel cars and vans, or the Euro 4 emissions standard for petrol cars and vans.
  • Motorcycles and mopeds that meet the Euro 3 emissions standard.
  • Vehicles that are registered as historic vehicles.
  • Vehicles that are used for emergency services or by disabled drivers.

Can I get a grant towards an electric car?

The ULEZ expansion and scrappage scheme provides grant payments up to £2000 to successful applicants to switch to cleaner, greener modes of transport. 
London residents, small businesses under 50 employees, micro businesses with less than 10 employees, sole traders and charities with a registered London address may apply. You must have an eligible vehicle, while further payments are available for commercial vehicles. Find out more

What’s the Congestion Charge?

The Congestion Charge is a separate scheme to ULEZ. It was introduced in 2003 to reduce congestion and pollution in the centre of London. The charging area now extends from Kings Cross in the north to Elephant and Castle in the south, Hyde Park Corner in the west and Old Street roundabout to the east. The zone is signposted by a red disc containing a white letter c. 

Are electric cars exempt from the Congestion Charge?

If you drive an electric car or a vehicle emitting less than 75/km of CO2, you’re exempt from the daily £15 charge (August 2023). However, you have to register for the Cleaner Vehicle Discount in order to benefit this. You can also get a full discount if you are registered disabled and a 90% discount if you are a resident of the Charge Zone area. 

However, from December 2025, electric cars will no longer be exempt from the charge. According to Transport for London, this rule change is designed to encourage people to take public transport or to cycle.  If you do need to pay it, you can do so online, by phone, text message or by using the Transport for London Pay to Drive app, downloadable for free at Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Failure to pay will result in a penalty charge notice. 

Congestion charge sign

Is the Congestion Charge 24 hours?

The Congestion Charge is in effect from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Friday, and from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm Saturday, Sunday, and Bank Holidays. There is no charge between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day bank holidays (inclusive).

Do other places operate Clean Air Zones?

As the UK moves towards Net Zero and as pollution in cities is increasingly linked to health concerns, other towns and cities are now adopting Clean Air Zones (again different to ULEZ). In August 2023, there were 7 other zones in Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Portsmouth, Sheffield and Tyneside. 

Want to find out more about leasing an electric car from us? Start by clicking here to see our range.

Is an electric car
right for me?

Discover electric cars that are available through our partner CBVC today.

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The Ultimate Electric Car Guide

The Ultimate Electric Car Guide

image of VW i.D4

Are you ready to go electric?

Want to know if an electric car is the right choice for you?

Join in with our simple online quiz to find out more.

Start the quiz

1. What are the benefits of switching to electric?

More and more people are going electric, and we’re seeing charging stations popping up all over the country. Electric cars are now mainstream, and if you’re thinking about changing your vehicle, this is a great time to look at electric.

Why go electric?

  • Cheaper to run – cheaper to “fuel” than petrol or diesel
  • Cheaper maintenance, with fewer moving parts
  • Clean – they’re better for the environment, with no tailpipe emissions
  • Smoother – quieter and more comfortable to drive
  • Versatile – there are now plenty of different types and models of electric car 
  • Well-supported – you can get government grants to buy and install a home charger if you rent or live in a flat.

The downsides? The range is often a bit shorter than with petrol or diesel cars, though it’s simple to top up your battery whenever you need to, at home or at a public charge point. 

Mini-electric-side-profile

2. What do you need to know before you lease an electric car?

Are electric cars worth it in the long term?

Yes – they’re cheaper than petrol or diesel vehicles for tax, maintenance and fuelling costs, and these savings add up the longer you keep the car. 

One disadvantage is the high price of electric cars – and that’s one of the many reasons it makes sense to lease. ElectriX, with our leasing partner CBVC, offers a wide range of electric cars for lease on a Personal Contract Hire, Business Contract Hire basis, or through a salary sacrifice scheme. What’s more, some models can be delivered to you in as little as 30 days.

What’s it like to drive an electric car?

It’s pretty much the same as driving a petrol or diesel car. They’re easier to drive than a manual, and most drivers quickly get the hang of it.

Here’s what to expect:

  • It’s just like an automatic: there’s no gearstick, just a selector to choose between park, drive, neutral and reverse. Press the accelerator to speed up, press the brake to slow down
  • It’s quiet. You’ll soon get used to a silent start instead of your engine chugging to life
  • It’s nippy. They accelerate quickly because you get instant power. It takes a bit of time to get used to, so some cars have “chill” or “eco” modes you can start with
  • It doesn’t coast. When you slow down, it uses technology called “regenerative braking” to charge the battery. It makes things much more efficient and saves brake wear, but it feels a bit different.
image of man charging electric car

Do you need a special licence for electric cars?

No – all that’s needed is a normal UK driving licence.

Are electric cars safe?

Yes, they are – they need to go through stringent safety assessments before they go to market.

Batteries have plenty of safety tech built in. A battery comprises lots of individually protected cells, so even if you damage one, it’s hard to damage them all at the same time.

They’re extremely unlikely to catch fire, especially compared with a petrol or diesel fuel tank.

There are also sensors that check battery health. If they spot a possible fault, they’ll give you plenty of warning so you can get it checked out.

And how do they cope with water? Battery packs are well sealed and fully weatherproof, so you don’t need to worry about your battery struggling with car washes, puddles or standing water.

Plenty of electric cars get top-mark 5-star safety ratings from Euro NCAP too, which means they’re some of the safest cars on the road.

Are electric cars less reliable than petrol or diesel cars?

No – they’re very reliable. They don’t have as many moving parts as petrol or diesel cars, so there’s no clutch, gearbox, spark plugs or exhaust to go wrong. They also generate less vibration, which reduces the wear on other parts and keeps maintenance costs down.

Should I lease an electric car now or wait?

While technology’s always improving, now’s a great time to get started with electric cars. Cars that use modern lithium-ion batteries have been on the road for over a decade, which has given manufacturers more than enough time to get over the teething troubles. 

image on Hyundai Kona electric car

What should I look for when leasing an electric car?

As with any car, it’s worth doing your homework. When you’re trying to work out what’s right for you, there are plenty of questions you should ask:

What’s the range and how big is the battery? And can I use all types of public charger? 

It’s also worth talking to owners. Check social media for local and regional electric car driver groups and see if they’re planning any get-togethers. There are also some big events like Fully Charged LIVE, where you can see and test drive a range of cars.

How do you service an electric car?

Just like a petrol or diesel, you can either use your local dealer or a mobile service. If you’d prefer to use an independent local garage, many electric-friendly garages are registered with the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Repair Alliance (HEVRA). If you choose to lease a car, you can usually opt to include servicing and maintenance as part of your agreement.

3. What do you need to know before you lease an electric car?

What sort of electric car chargers are there?

There are two main types: standard chargers and rapid chargers.

Standard chargers are the most common. They’re the sort you’ll have fitted at your home and at supermarkets and car parks. They’re great when you’re parking up for a while: you just plug in and charge up while you’re getting on with something else. You’ll need to bring your own charging cable, which should come with your car – although home chargers usually come with a charging cable attached, or “tethered”.

Rapid chargers are seriously fast, and you’ll often find them at fuel stations and motorway services. They’re a bit more expensive to use, but they can give you up to an 80% charge in 30-40 minutes.

How many different electric car charging plug types are there?

For both standard and rapid chargers, there are different plug types, which may have different power ratings. The higher the power rating, the faster your car will top up (as long as your car can handle the speed).

Standard chargers

Type 1

These 5-pin sockets were the first on the market. They’re rare on new cars, but you’ll still find them on older models. 

Type 2

These 7-pin sockets are the most common. They’re included on almost all new cars, and have a locking mechanism built in.

Rapid chargers

CCS (Combined Charging System)

This 9-pin connector is the most common rapid-charger format, and it’s what you’ll see on most cars.

CHAdeMO

This 4-pin connector is less common, but you’ll see it on some older cars such as the Nissan LEAF.

type 1 and type 2 electric car charger sockets
CCS and CHAdeMO plugs graphic

How fast are electric car chargers?

Different chargers have different power ratings, measured in kilowatts (kW). The higher the rating, the faster the charger. Your car’s on-board charger also has a kilowatt rating – and you can’t charge faster than that rating. If, for example, your car has a 100kW on-board charger and you plug it into a 150kW rapid charger, you’ll only charge at 100kW. 

According to Pod Point this is how much range you can get by charging a Hyundai Hyundai KONA Electric 64 kWh for one hour:

Charge LocationRange per hour of charging
3.6kWHome / work15 miles
7kWHome / work / public chargers28 miles
50kWPublic rapid chargers99 miles (based on 30 mins charging in the 20-80% battery band)

150kW
Public rapid charger153 miles (based on 30 mins charging in the 20-80% battery band)

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

This depends on how much you pay for your electricity. Usally, the cheapest way is to charge at home using an EV friendly off-peak tariff. If you’re really lucky, your employer might even pay for the electricity from a charger at your workplace!

How do I charge an electric car at home?

The simplest way is to install a wall-mounted charge point, or “smart charger”, such as the Indra Smart PRO, in partnership with ElectriX. Some chargers come with a cable already attached, so you can just park up and plug in. It’s about the size of a shoebox, and you’ll need a qualified electrician to fit it. You can also get government grants for installing it if you rent or live in a flat.

If neither of these work for you, you could find a community charge point or charge at work (plenty of employers offer charge points now). It’s also worth thinking about where you park during the week: is there a charger at the supermarket or your gym? Some may even be free to use.

How do I charge an electric car on a journey?

The first step? Find a charger on our charge point map. Alternatively, you could download a charge point app. Most motorway service stations now have chargers, so you can plug in while you’re taking a break.

The map or app should tell you whether it’s a standard charger or rapid charger, and what sort of plug it needs. If you’re staying somewhere for a few hours a standard charger might do the job. If you’re using a rapid charger, you can add a lot of power in the time it takes for a coffee and comfort break.

Does my driving style affect range?

Just like a petrol or diesel car, smoother driving is more efficient. If you accelerate hard and brake a lot you’ll use more power than if you accelerate gently and let the car’s regenerative braking slow you down. And as with petrol or diesel, higher speeds also use more power, so driving faster is less efficient.

Other factors have an effect, too. Batteries are less efficient when they’re cold, while hilly journeys use more energy than flat ones.

Are electric cars suitable only for urban driving?

While electric cars are well suited to town and city driving, they’re also great for cross-country journeys.

More than half of the electric cars now on the market can travel over 200 miles on a full charge and over a third can do more than 250 miles. The average daily journey in the UK is under 30 miles, so electric cars are ideal for most trips. Some parts of the country have more chargers than others, though, so you should check there’s somewhere to top up before you hit the road.

image of women charging her electric car with her phone


4. Is going electric right for you?

What are the steps I need to take towards leasing an electric car?

There are three big questions you need to ask yourself before you go for it. They’ll help you work out if electric is right for you, how you’d charge your car and how you’d use it.

1. How will I charge an electric car?

If you have a drive or garage, you can install a home smart charger. It’s the cheapest and easiest way of charging up.

If not, hunt out your nearest public charger. There are about 55,000 (January 2024) in the UK, and you can find your nearest on a charge point map or app. They’re getting more and more common at supermarkets, petrol stations and in public car parks. There are also community schemes to let people share their own points with other drivers. Lots of employers also provide charge points, so you might be able to charge at work.

2. How will I use an electric car?

We all use our cars a bit differently, so think about how far you drive each day – and how many people you might take.

In the UK, the average commute is 23 miles a day, there-and-back; most new cars can do 200+ miles on a full charge. But the further a car’s range, the bigger the battery you need. So do your sums first and you might be fine spending less on a shorter-range model.

Most electric cars can fit four or five people comfortably. But you can also find smaller and larger cars. Electric superminis like the Fiat 500 are spacious in the front and smaller in the back, while bigger family wagons like the Citroen ë-Spacetourer can fit up to nine people.

3. How much should I spend on leasing an electric car?

This will depend on the factors discussed above – such as your average daily mileage, how many passengers you usually have and what type of car do you need to suit your lifestyle  

Once you know if an electric car’s right for you, it’s time to start thinking about what sort of car you want to drive.

If you’re still not sure, take our quiz to find out if an electric car is right for you. If you decide to go electric,  ElectriX  has a broad selection of cars that will suit your leasing needs. 

accessible-charge-points-electric-car-bays

5. Leasing an electric car from ElectriX

You’ll need to take some credit and affordability checks first. Then you just pay a deposit, make regular monthly payment until the contract ends and you give your car back. It’s perfect for drivers who like getting a new car, but you’ll need to look after it carefully and give it back in good condition (there’s an agreement about what “fair wear and tear” means).

What are the benefits of leasing an electric car from ElectriX?

  • We offer a one-stop shop for leasing, charging and insurance
  • Get a brand-new car every few years
  • Option to include servicing and maintenance with service contract
  • Fixed monthly payments
  • 30 day delivery on some models

To find the perfect electric car to lease for you, visit our leasing partner’s website – some cars are available to lease within 30 days.  

Vauxhall Mokka-e in green


What grants are available?

To encourage people to go electric, there are a few government incentives to help bring the cost down:

Plug-in vehicle grant

As of June 2022, the following low-emission vehicles may be eligible for a plug-in grant: wheelchair accessible vehicles, mopeds, motorcycles, taxis, trucks and vans. The value of the grant will vary, depending on the vehicle type.

See the full list of eligible plug-in vehicles. 

Electric vehicle charge point grant

You may be eligible for up to £350 or 75% off the cost and installation of a home charger (whichever is lower) if you rent your property or live in a flat. Installing a charge point in a flat or rented accommodation.  

Salary sacrifice schemes

This means paying for a car lease straight from your salary before you pay tax. If your employer offers it, you can really bring the cost down. Salary sacrifice schemes

Company car benefits

If you run your own business, there’s a very low benefit-in-kind on electric cars. It’s been set at 2% until 2025 and will increase by 1% per year after that until 2028.

6. How much does it cost to run an electric car?

Electric cars are cheaper to run than petrol or diesel, whether you’re talking about tax, maintenance or fuel. On average, electric car drivers save about £1,000 a year. That’s a big difference.

How much does it cost to maintain, service and repair an electric car?

Like most new cars, electric vehicles rarely break down. Brake pads don’t wear down as quickly as those on petrol or diesel cars. Tyres can wear slightly faster than those on petrol or diesel cars because of the higher torque. And service costs can be cheaper because there aren’t as many moving parts. Drivers often find the difference gets bigger as a car gets older, because electric cars have fewer parts to wear out.

How much is electric car tax?

Because there aren’t any emissions at the tailpipe, vehicle excise duty on electric cars is currently zero. However, following the announcement in the Autumn 2022 statement, there will be a charge from 2025. 

How much does it cost to install an electric charger at home?

Prices vary depending on the charger you choose and who installs it. You can get an Indra Smart Pro Charger for £949 including installation and VAT
– and you might be eligible for a £350 grant if you rent or live in a flat.

Discover electric cars today

Discover electric cars that are available through our partner CBVC today.

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Ultimate Guide To Electric Car Charging

Ultimate Guide To Electric Car Charging

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Charging basics

Wave goodbye to the petrol station. Going electric takes a bit of adjustment but once you work things out, you won’t go back to filling up on a forecourt. So, what do you need to know about electric car charging before you switch? Let us be your guide.

How do you charge an electric car?

The big change from petrol and diesel cars is how you fill up. When you drive a traditional car you tend to fuel up when your tank gets low. Maybe you’ll stop at a petrol station when you’re below quarter of a tank. You just fill up and carry on travelling.

With electric, it’s different. For short journeys and day-to-day driving you can simply charge at home if you have a driveway. With the UK’s average journey length of under 30 miles, you’ll have more than enough range for most of your journeys.

If you can’t charge at home, there are plenty of options to charge nearby. Some streets have on-street charging or lamppost charging, or maybe you can plug in while you do your local grocery shop at the supermarket. There are also community charging schemes where you can ‘rent’ someone else’s home charger, say, once a week. Or a charging hub nearby: a cluster of chargers that’s a bit like a garage forecourt but just for charging electric cars.

If you’re on a longer journey you can use a charger at your destination. So if you’re driving to a meeting or to visit family, you might find somewhere you can charge while you’re parked.

How far can an electric car go on a full charge?

Battery range tends to be over 200 miles in modern cars – but every model is different. Electric cars have range calculators that can be very accurate, so you can see exactly how far you can drive before you need to top up. It’s worth knowing that your range will dip a bit in colder or very wet weather. It’s also affected by how you drive: more acceleration and hard braking means less mileage. 

What are the different types of electric car chargers?

There are two different types, depending on how quickly they charge:

Standard chargers are the most common. They include home chargers and the ‘destination chargers’ you find in car parks and at supermarkets. You just plug your car in when you park up and then go about your business. People sometimes call these ‘fast chargers’ and they use AC (alternating current) at up to 22kW. As a guide, a smart home charger is 7kW and will give you about 14 miles of charge in half an hour – but that will depend on your car.

Rapid chargers (and newer ultra-rapid chargers) are for when you need a very fast top-up. The energy tends to be more expensive but you won’t be waiting long: you can get up to 80% charge in half an hour (which is where most drivers stop topping up as the last 20% takes longer). These use DC (direct current) and can charge at over 100kW – which could give you over 100 miles in half an hour. It’s worth checking what rate of charge your electric car can take – the Kia e-Niro is capped at 77kW, for example, so it will only be able to charge that fast, no matter the speed of the public charger.

Most people stop their charge at 80% as the charging rate slows down at this point, and it’s good charging etiquette to let someone else plug in, especially if there’s a queue!

Where do you find electric car charging?

There are three main types. Most drivers have a smart home charger installed where they live. These are normally standard chargers mounted to a wall where you park. They’re ideal for charging overnight or any time you’re parked at home.

Destination chargers are for when you want to charge up when you park somewhere. You’ll often find them at supermarkets, car parks, leisure centres and plenty of other places so your car can charge while you’re busy. 

If you need to charge up in a hurry you can search out a rapid charger. They’re normally at motorway service stations and on major roads. They top up your power much more quickly than a standard charger so you can charge up relatively quickly.

What sort of different charging sockets are there?

If you’re driving a new electric car today, you’ll almost certainly have a Type 2 socket for your standard charging. Most vehicles also have a CCS socket for a rapid charger. This might seem baffling at first, but we’ll explain.

That’s the short answer – but let’s look at the details…

Standard charger socket types

The industry-standard plug for standard chargers is the Type 2, which gives you AC power at up to 22kW. It has seven pins and you can lock it to your car while you’re charging.

Much less common is the Type 1. It was slower (at 7kW AC) and had five pins. You’ll find it on the original Nissan LEAF, the Citroen C-Zero and a few others – but most cars today use Type 2 instead.

Graphic of a Type 1 (5-pins) and Type 2 (7-pins) electric car charging plug

Rapid charger socket types

Almost all vehicles now use a CCS connector for rapid charging. This stands for ‘combined charging system’ because the socket is combined with a Type 2 standard charger plug. So whether you’re using a standard or rapid charger, you can plug the cable into your car in the same place.

Some older vehicles used a four-pin connector called CHAdeMO, though this is rapidly being replaced by CCS which can charge more quickly.

Another point is that while these details are right in the UK and most of Europe, things are different in other countries.

Graphic of a CCS (9-pins) and CHAdeMO (4-pins) electric car charging plug

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

We measure charger speeds in kilowatts (kW) – the more kilowatts, the faster you can charge your car. 

Each car also has its own onboard charger with its own kilowatt rating. This is the fastest it’ll be able to charge. So if you plug in a car with a 100kW onboard charger to a 150kW rapid charger, it’ll only charge at 100kW.

Let’s look at how long it takes to charge up a Hyundai KONA Electric 64 kWh:

Charge powerCharger typeRange per 30 minutes of charging
3.7kWStandard charger7.5 miles
7kWStandard charger14 miles
50kWRapid charger99 miles (based on 30 mins charging in the 20-80% battery band)

150kW
Rapid charger153 miles (based on 30 mins charging in the 20-80% battery band)

On rapid chargers, most drivers will stop their charge at about 80%. That’s because the charging rate slows down from this point and it’s polite to let anyone who’s waiting for the charger take over.

How do you work out how long it takes to charge an electric car?

To work this out you need to know two numbers. Your battery capacity is like a fuel tank and your charger power tells you how quickly you can fill it up. Then you divide these two numbers:

Charger power – rated in kW (kilowatts)

Divided by:

Your car’s battery capacity – rated in kWh (kilowatt hours)

Equals:

Rough time to charge – in hours

So for an 64kWh Hyundai Kona on an 11kW fast charger, you could theoretically charge it to full in about six hours:

64 / 11 = 5.8

It’s only a rough estimate: in practice it’ll take a bit longer because of how batteries and chargers work. But it’s a good way of estimating time. 

What happens if you run out of charge?

When you’re driving there’s a nice clear number on the dashboard telling you how far you can drive on your remaining charge. It’s a really helpful feature that means you’re really unlikely to get caught out by running out of charge.

It can happen, though, and you’ll probably need a bit of help if it does. Most of the time you’ll need to be taken to the nearest charge point. This is often part of your breakdown or insurance policy and breakdown companies are used to it: they’ll just send you a tow truck or recovery truck, get you plugged in then send you on your way.

We’re also starting to see portable battery packs. They’re still rare and expensive but in the next few years you’ll see more and more – for example, LV= Britannia Rescue now have their own. They’re basically suitcase-sized lithium-ion batteries that you can plug in for a small charge: 40 miles or so to get yourself to the closest charge point.

Woman charging car

Home chargingHow do home chargers work?

If you’ve got a home charger you can plug in when you’re parked. It’s a great choice if you’ve got off-street parking because it’s usually the cheapest and most convenient way to charge.

There are various different brands and models you can choose from – and almost all of them are smart chargers. 

What is a smart charger?

Smart chargers do more than simply charge your car when you plug it in. They’re the ideal choice if you’re on an energy tariff that has cheaper energy off-peak because they make it simple to top up overnight with less expensive electricity.

Most of us will just get a charger installed, set it up and never have to worry about it again. This means you get the benefit of cheaper energy without having to worry about when to plug in.

The most straightforward smart chargers work on timers. You enter your tariff details when you set it up and it does the rest. That means it checks when your off-peak times are (normally in the middle of the night) and charges then.

More sophisticated chargers have more features. For example, you can set rules that choose when to charge based on the type of energy you use. So if you want energy that costs below a certain price or which generates less carbon, you can do that. The charger will get data from your energy supplier – you just tell it how you want it to behave.

How should you choose a charger?

First of all, have a think about how smart you want it to be. A charger like the Indra Smart PRO is easy to use and still lets you take advantage of cheaper off-peak tariffs. And it also has more advanced features like smart scheduling and continuous updates.

Then think about whether you want a tethered cable or not. This means the cable is permanently fixed to the charger, making it much simpler to pull up and plug in. Removable cables let you swap the cable out later if you need to.

Then think about your house and your energy supply. If you have solar, for example, you should choose a charger that works well with your solar panels, like the Indra Smart PRO.

And last of all, there are lots of different designs so pick one you like the look of. Some are unobtrusive while others are a bit more technical looking. 

Are there grants for home chargers?

While you can’t get a grant any more to install a home charger if you live in a house you own, there are grants available if you rent or if you live in a flat. 

How much do chargers cost?

It depends on which charger you choose and who installs it. As a guide, you can buy an Indra Smart PRO charger for around £1,000 (including site survey, standard installation and VAT).

Whenever a new charger is installed, the installer will check things first with the electricity company that operates the network in your area (sometimes called a Distribution Network Operator or DNO). They sometimes ask you to upgrade or install equipment that you’re using – things like an isolator switch or your distribution board – which can add to the installation fee.

Electric vehicle on charge


How can you manage your charging?

Most chargers take care of it for you. They’ll look after your car’s battery health and stop charging when you’re topped up enough. If you want to find out more details though, most chargers have a companion app where you can get the facts and figures.

Who can install a home charger?

It needs to be installed by a professional – it’s definitely not a DIY job! You’ve got a few different options:

Local electrician – this means going with a local tradesperson you know and trust. It’s worth finding out how much experience they have installing chargers, and whether they’ve fitted the unit you’ve chosen before.

Independent installer – there are plenty of independent experts who’ll install a charger for you. Again, it’s worth checking they’ve got experience of the unit you’ve picked.

National installer – these tend to be businesses who specialise in fitting charge points like our partners at Indra. 

How do you install a home charger?

Before things kick off you’ll need a ‘site survey’. While some installers give you an option to do this yourself, things will run much more smoothly if they do it for you. They’ll check things like your current wiring and equipment, where the charger is going and what connections it needs. 

Then they’ll schedule an installation date to come and fit it. They’ll run the cable, drill through your wall and get your new charger connected to the internet (whether that’s with 4G, Wi-fi or a cable).

Last of all, they’ll enter your energy tariff’s details. Then you can use your charger’s companion app to keep track of your energy. You’re all set to plug in and charge up!

Where should you install your home charger?

Normally it’s best to install it where you currently park your car. You’ll need to make sure the cable’s long enough to reach your charging port.

Are there any common problems with home chargers?

The team at Indra say there are two common issues they hear about from customers.

The first is ‘nuisance tripping’, which is when the charger turns off because of changes in voltage. There are lots of reasons this can happen, both inside your home and on the network that supplies it. More advanced chargers like the Indra Smart PRO have technology to cope with the problem – you just need to let the company you bought the charger from know what’s happening and they can get it sorted for you.

The other common problem is chargers having problems connecting to the internet. They normally connect by 4G or Wi-fi – and a weak signal can mean their connection drops out. The charger still works, you just don’t get all the data in your charging app. If this is a common problem, they recommend running a cable out to the charger from your router to give it the best connection you can.

Do home chargers work with solar panels?

Yes – solar panels can charge up an electric car when the sun’s shining. But it’s a bit more complicated than that…

Not all chargers work with solar panels – you’ll need to check the details before you buy. Some won’t, some will if you buy more hardware, and some are ready to go.

It also depends on how much energy your solar panels produce. You need to be able to generate enough to power your house and charge your car at the same time. For example, with an Indra Smart PRO your panels need a minimum of 1.4kW/6A to charge your car – which could be 8-12 panels.

So you need to generate a decent amount of power from the sun to make much difference. If you’ve only got a few panels, they’re in shade through the day or they’re not on a sunny aspect, you may not see much benefit.  But if you’ve got plenty of panels on your roof, you can charge your car with sunshine!

Can you get a home charger without off-street parking?

There are some options if you don’t have your own drive or private parking space. The simplest option is to find a destination charger near home and use that to top up.
Other options include on-street chargers and lamppost charging. There is council funding available for on-street electric chargers – though whether it’s feasible will mostly depend on your council.

What do you need to know about charging cables?

If a standard charger doesn’t have its own tethered cable, you’ll need to plug in your own cable.

On the charger side it’ll need to be a Type 2 connector. And on the other end it needs to be the right fit for your car (again, that’s mostly Type 2). 

Then, make sure it’s the right length. You can get loads of different lengths but 7-8m is a good balance: small enough to roll up in your car but long enough to reach awkward chargers. Indra offer a 15m cable at no extra cost, which can be handy if you have two electric cars and need a longer cable to reach the second car, for example. 

Last of all, check it’s rated for your car’s current. Quality charging leads will have a current rating on the pack – if you want to charge at 7kW for example, you’ll need a 32A cable. You might want to choose a higher rated cable for futureproofing.

Which energy tariff should you choose?

If you’ve got your own smart charger then consider energy tariffs with off-peak rates for electric cars.

These can give you cheaper energy overnight. This is because there’s less demand (as most of us are tucked up in bed) so energy companies drop the price to encourage people to use it.

Things vary from supplier to supplier but these tariffs can work well if you plug your car in at home overnight. Charging at home is usually cheaper than charging when you’re out and about. For example, with off-peak rates you can pay as little as 2p per mile (based on a Hyundai KONA Electric 64kWh that averages just over 4 miles per kWh).

Electric car charging at home

How do you charge when you’re away from home?

If you’re running low on juice you just need to find a public charger which is right for your car. So that means it has the right plug and can give you enough charge in the time you have available. So if you’re parking up for a few hours you can use a standard charger. If you’re taking a 20 minute break on a long journey it’s best to use a rapid charger.

How do you use public chargers? 

You just park up, open your charging port, plug in and pay. Then you can leave your car for as long as your charge takes and when you come back it’ll be topped up. Once you get the hang of it, it’s simple.

Where do you find different types of public charger?

Destination chargers are normally at places you’ll park for a while. They’re usually standard chargers, charging at up to 22kW. You’ll find them in car parks and supermarkets, leisure centres and on the street.

Rapid chargers tend to be at places you need a quick top-up. They’re most common at service stations and on major roads, though more are appearing on retail parks and at restaurants.

How do you find chargers?

You can download a charging app: a smartphone app that lets you search for chargers on a map. You can usually search by plug type, charging network and speed. There are often comments from other users to let you know if a charger’s working properly. 

How do you charge a Tesla?

Teslas are a bit different because as well as using normal Type 2 standard chargers and CCS rapid chargers, they can also use the Tesla Supercharger network. This is a proprietary network that you can only use if you drive a Tesla (though in June 2022 Tesla started making some Superchargers open to other electric cars).

Telsa Model Y on the road


How do you pay to use a public charger?

Public chargers are run by lots of different companies: you’ll see names like Osprey Charging, Gridserve, Pod Point and Ionity alongside familiar names like Shell and BP.

Different companies have different ways of paying for their chargers, although most accept contactless payment. Some providers need you to create an account, have a specific contactless RFID card for their chargers, or pre-pay into an account – these payment methods can be slightly cheaper than contactless payment, but may be less convenient.   

What’s the etiquette for using public chargers?
You should only park at the charger if you’re charging the car. So as soon as you’re charged, it’s best to unplug and move your vehicle. 

Rapid chargers are valuable commodities for drivers who are low on charge – so you should only use them if you’re rapid charging. If you’re charging at a slower rate then you’re blocking it – which is a problem for someone who is low on range and desperate for a top-up. It’s good manners to stop charging at 80%, which is when the charge rate really starts to slow down. 

Also, don’t unplug anyone else’s car while they’re charging to top up their own. And last of all, never ever block a charger by using it as a parking space for a petrol or diesel car.

Do you need to bring your own cable?

Many chargers now have a ‘tethered cable’ which is permanently attached. It’s a popular choice because most people only want to charge a type 2 socket with a fast charger.

Still, it’s a good idea to carry your own charging cable in your car because there are plenty of public chargers where you’ll need one. 

Can you charge on a three-pin plug?

You can as an emergency option – but it’s also a really bad way to charge if you’ve got a choice.

The main reason is that a three-pin circuit can charge your car at 2.3kW, which is close to the maximum 3kW of power that the wiring is safe for. This increases the risk of overheating and even electrical fire. You should never charge through an extension cord that’s coiled up or wound up.

The other reason is that it takes a really long time. It can take 18-20 hours or more to fully charge some cars.

So if you’ve got the choice you should always choose a dedicated electric car smart charger – and leave the three-pin plug for emergencies.

What if the charger’s broken?

Sometimes there’s a problem with a charger that means you can’t charge your car. It can be really frustrating.

The best way to avoid it is to check a charge point in a charger-finding app before you travel there. Users will often add a note saying if they’ve had problems, which means you can find a different charger instead. 

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The Ultimate Guide to Leasing an Electric Car

The Ultimate Guide to Leasing an Electric Car

Leasing an electric car is just like renting a car when you go on holiday, but for a much longer time. It’s a great way to drive a new car with predictable monthly costs.

electric car mountains graphic

Are you ready to go electric?

Want to know if an electric car is the right choice for you?

Join in with our simple online quiz to find out more.

Start the quiz

How do you lease an electric car?

If you’ve ever hired or rented a car before, it’s just like that, but you keep the car for a few years.

The best way to get started is to get some quotes for a few different cars. Just enter some basic details and pick a car you’re interested in. Then you’ll get an idea of how much it costs and whether it’s right for you.

Why lease with ElectriX?

At ElectriX, we’re all about making it simple for you to get behind the wheel of a new electric car. Whether it’s your first or you’re upgrading, we’re with you all the way, making it simple. Just like it should be.

We’ve made sure we’re the only place you need to visit. So it’s not just leasing: we can help sort out your smart home charging and insurance to make your life that little bit easier too.

We’re working together with CBVC Vehicle Management Limited, a broker with vast experience in the leasing market and strong connections with manufacturers, dealers and leasing companies.

You can see our range of cars to lease, some are available to drive away in as little as 30 days. 

If you know what you want to drive, you can choose the exact car you want, brand new from the factory. What’s your favourite colour? What battery size do you want? Do you want a certain trim package? Choose any of the manufacturer’s options and then your car of choice will arrive at your house – with charge in the battery and ready to go.

Or if you want to get behind the wheel straight away, you can choose one that’s already built – and sometimes even pick up a special offer on it.

Businesses love leasing as well because of the predictable costs and being able to offset it against tax. And that’s not just big businesses – it’s popular with small businesses too.

How much does it cost to lease an electric car?

This depends on a few different things.

The car you choose: If you want a high-end Tesla or Porsche, the lease will cost more than a little supermini. It also depends on the options you choose – they’ll all affect what you pay each month.

How you’ll use it: How many miles will you cover in a year? And do you want to cover service and maintenance yourself, or would you like the peace of mind of a maintenance package with predictable costs?

You: You can choose how long to lease for and how much to pay up front – which all alters the cost. 

With most lease companies you can get loads of different quotes with different mileage amounts to help you compare costs.

What’s the cheapest electric car to lease?

Generally, the cheapest electric cars you can lease are superminis like the Vauxhall Corsa-e, Fiat 500e and Smart EQ Forfour. These compact cars are great for getting about town and are free to run in emission charging zones.

What’s the best electric car to lease?

It depends on what you want and where you drive. There are modern electric versions of almost every type of car now so if you want an SUV, supermini, estate, hatchback or sports car, you’ll find something that’s right for you.

How much does it cost to lease an electric car battery?

The battery is included in the lease – so you get the keys to a new car that’s ready to go. With some very early electric cars – like the early Renault ZOE – you could rent the battery on its own. Battery technology has improved so much now that it’ll last years longer than your lease.

Image of Renault Zoe electric car

How does leasing an electric car work?

It’s just like renting or hiring a car. You make an initial payment, make monthly payments, then hand your car back at the end of the contract. It’s a simple arrangement that’s great for people who like driving a new car, and it’s a popular way for people to try out electric cars.

What sort of electric car can I lease?

You can lease any car you can buy. And because you’re leasing a new vehicle, you can choose exactly what you want from the manufacturer’s options: battery size, colour, interior packs, styling kits, wheels and more.

How long is an electric car lease?

Most people go for somewhere between two and five years. Generally your monthly payment will be lower if you pick a longer lease, but it’s worth playing with the figures on the lease company’s website to understand the difference.

How does insurance work when you’re leasing an electric car?

During your lease period, it’s up to you to keep the car insured. It’s also important to let your insurer know you aren’t the registered owner or keeper.

There are some important details you should check when you’re choosing an electric car insurance policy because different insurers have different levels of cover. 

With electric car insurance from Allianz through ElectriX, for example, you get cover for charging cables and wall boxes, full battery cover for accidental damage, fire and theft, and recovery to the nearest charge point if you run out of charge in the UK.

How does servicing and maintenance work when you’re leasing?

While you’ve got the car, you’re in charge of looking after it. That means things like regular services, tyres and general maintenance.

When you lease an electric car, you can also get a ‘maintenance contract’ to keep the car in tip-top condition. You’ll pay a bit more for this but it will cover the costs of upkeep, repairs, MOTs and tyres. Some include puncture repairs too. So you don’t have to worry about finding the cash for work on the car as it’s all included in the fee.

Just bear in mind that it doesn’t cover abuse – so no wheelspins or rally special stages, please…

How does car tax work when you’re leasing an electric car?

Simple – you don’t pay anything because there’s no car tax (or vehicle excise duty, to use the proper name) on electric cars at the moment (February 2024). If this changes, you’ll need to cover it yourself.

Even though it won’t cost you anything, you’ll still need to renew it online every year to keep your car road legal.

How does breakdown cover work when you’re leasing?

Manufacturers often include breakdown cover with new cars, which normally covers between one and three years. If you take out a maintenance package you’ll be covered for the whole lease too. And some insurance companies include breakdown cover as part of the deal.

How does an MOT work when you’re leasing?

New cars need an MOT after three years – and if you take out a maintenance contract, your MOT costs are part of the package. If you don’t have a maintenance contract, you’ll need to keep the car covered with a current MOT certificate, which you’ll need to pay for.

image of a white electric car

How does the warranty work when you’re leasing?

Because it’s new, you get a full manufacturer’s warranty. You simply take the car to your local franchised dealer. If you have any problems then drop your lease company a line and they’ll take it up with the manufacturer.

What condition does the car need to be in when I give it back?

At the end of the lease you need to give the car back in good condition. Lease companies are realistic, so they’re not expecting it back in showroom condition. After all, you’ll have driven it several thousand miles a year!

Instead, the phrase they use is ‘fair wear and tear’. Now this sounds a bit vague, but there’s a specific definition from the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association). They say it’s ‘when normal usage causes deterioration to a vehicle’. Fair wear and tear doesn’t include damage from things like crashes or bumps, badly stowed items, poor treatment or negligence.

What this means is that they’ll expect the car back clean and in good shape. It’s worth having a proper check a couple of months before it’s due back. If there’s any damage like dents, scuffs or kerbed alloys you’ll need to get it fixed first. Or if you return the car with any damage on it, you’ll get a bill to pay a bit later.

You’ll also need to give back everything the car came with, including spare keys, service books, charging cables and locking wheel nuts. You should also make sure it’s got a bit of juice in the battery. Your lease company will normally give you a checklist or guide.

You also need to have stayed in the mileage limits you agreed when you started the lease. If you’ve driven further, you’ll need to pay a fee for that extra distance.

Can I trade in my car?

This depends on your lease company. Selling a car can be really stressful, so if you currently own your vehicle it’s worth checking if the company you’re leasing from can help out.

Will my credit history be checked?

Yes. Because leasing companies want to make sure you can afford the lease, they’ll run a credit check.

What is the difference between leasing and PCP or HP?

With an electric car lease, you simply give the car back at the end of the contract.

HP (or hire purchase) is a bit different. It’s an arrangement where you pay a deposit and then monthly payments for the agreed term, at the end the car is yours. This normally means you’ll be paying more each month than you would for a lease or PCP.

PCP (or personal contract purchase) is different again – it’s a mix of leasing and HP. It starts like a lease, with deposit and fixed payments, however unlike lease or HP  at the end you’ve got an option to either pay a lump sum to buy the car, use the car as deposit against another PCP – or just give it back. Again, the monthly costs tend to work out a bit more than leasing but less than HP.

What is a personal contract hire agreement?

Personal contract hire (or PCH) means leasing a car. The ‘agreement’ is your contract with the lease company. When you sign it, you’re agreeing to rent your car for a certain period and follow their conditions. Then at the end of the lease, you just hand the car back and – as long as you’re in your mileage allowance and it’s in good condition – you won’t have anything else to pay.

New cars need an MOT after three years – and if you take out a maintenance contract, your MOT costs are part of the package. If you don’t have a maintenance contract, you’ll need to keep the car covered with a current MOT certificate, which you’ll need to pay for.

How does electric car business leasing work?

What is the difference between personal and business contract hire?

They’re very similar – if you know how personal leases work, there aren’t many differences at all for business leasing.

The biggest difference is all about tax – and it’s this tax efficiency that makes leasing so popular with businesses. If the business is VAT registered, most of the time you can claim back half the VAT on your lease payments, and all the VAT on maintenance contracts. The company can also offset lease payments against corporation tax, and the benefit-in-kind rate the employee pays is very low for electric cars. This also reduces the employer’s Class 1A National Insurance contributions.

How does leasing an electric car through a business work?

The big difference is that the lease contract is in the business’ name, not the driver’s name. When the lease company makes a credit check it’ll be against the business, rather than against a partner or director’s personal details – though they’ll also ‘soft search’ the directors, partners or owners, which means these checks won’t appear on their credit history.

Can I lease a car if I’m a sole trader?

Absolutely – and it’s a very popular way of doing things. The only difference is that you’ll be credit checked as an individual and a business, and the lease company might ask to see business accounts. The lease will also be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (which isn’t the case for business leases). You can offset the lease against your tax as well.

Is it cheaper to lease an electric car through a business?

At the moment, when you do the sums, it’s almost always cheaper to rent through a business. It’s a complex calculation, though, and leasing companies will be happy to work out some numbers for you to compare.

What is benefit in kind (BIK), and how does it work?

It’s a tax that drivers pay when they use a company car. It’s based on a percentage of the full price of the car, depending on its emissions, and HMRC take it from your personal income tax allowance.

BIK for petrol or diesel engines starts at 15% and goes up from there, with an average of about 29%.

BIK for electric cars is just 2% from April 2022 until April 2025. And it’s this difference that makes electric cars so popular as company cars.

image of an MG-ZS electric car

What do I need to know to lease an electric car?

What is the difference between an ‘in stock’ deal and a ‘factory order’?

‘In stock’ means the car’s built and ready to go. You won’t have the chance to choose your exact specifications, but you could be driving it in a few weeks (including a cooling-off period).

‘Factory order’ means the factory still needs to build your car. You get to choose everything from the colour to the wheels to the interior, then your dream car gets delivered to your door.

Normally you can expect to wait 3-4 months for a factory order – though supply chain issues mean things can take longer at the moment. The wait time is estimated, so sometimes things will be faster and sometimes they’ll be slower, but the lease company will keep you updated.

Is there a minimum age limit to lease an electric car?

Yes – you’ll need to be at least eighteen or over to take out a lease and you may need a guarantor too.

Do I have to pay a deposit on my lease car?

The initial payment you make when you get the car is like a deposit. You can choose to pay from one-to-twelve times your monthly rental cost – the more you pay to start, the less you’ll pay each month.

Can I get car insurance if I’m not the registered owner?

Yes – it’s no problem insuring an electric car you’re leasing, as long as the lease is in your name. Just let your insurer know the arrangement when you buy your policy.

Can I lease a second car?

That’s up to the lease company, who will look at things in a bit more detail. 

For companies, it’s pretty common and not normally a problem as long as the business’ credit is good enough.

For personal use, second cars are a lot less common. Lease companies will want to know you can afford it, and they’ll ask why you want a second vehicle. 

Is delivery and collection included in a lease deal?

Yes. At the start of the lease you can expect the car to arrive at your address, ready to go. And at the end, you just arrange a collection time and the lease company will sort everything out for you.

Can I part-exchange my existing car?

Lease companies don’t take cars in part exchange, but they’ll often have arrangements with trade buyers to help you sell your old motor. It takes the hassle out of selling – instead of having to deal with tyre-kickers, you simply enter your make, model, age, mileage and condition on a website. Then you find out what they’ll pay straight away.

image of electric cars at public charging station

Driving a leased electric car

What happens if my car is damaged or stolen?

Don’t panic! Just get in touch with your insurance company and they’ll let you know what to do next. If you need to make a claim they’ll handle it all.

Can I exit the lease deal early or transfer a lease to another person?

You can finish a lease early, but you’ll need to pay a termination fee and give the car back. Just ask your lease company and they’ll let you know how much it’ll cost. It’s normally a percentage of your remaining rental fees (often half), but it can be the full fee if you’re coming towards the end of a contract. 

What happens if my lease car is written off?

Like with hire purchase and PCP, you’ll need to pay an early termination fee – and most of the time the insurance money will cover it. 

Insurers only pay the market value of the car, though. So there’s a possibility – particularly early on in your term if you’ve only put down a low deposit – that a payout won’t cover it. If there’s any difference you’ll need to pay it – or you can buy a type of insurance called ‘gap cover’ (this is an optional cover you can get from specialist providers) at the start of your lease.

What happens if I go over my mileage?

Don’t worry – you can keep using the car. You’ll need to pay an excess mileage charge, though, which is a pence-per-mile figure. You’ll agree the amount at the start of the lease and you’ll need to pay it when you give the car back.

It can range from as little as 5 pence-per-mile for smaller cars, up to 50 pence-per-mile for premium vehicles. It’ll also be higher if you have a maintenance package as it covers maintenance costs for the extra mileage.

If you know you’re going to go over your mileage then get in touch with your lease company. You can often raise your mileage – and monthly payments – during your lease period.

Can I put a personal number plate on the car?

Of course. You can either put your plates on at the start of your lease or when you’ve got the car. You just need to let your lease company know, sort things out with the DVLA and pay any charges.

What happens to your lease agreement if you die?

Your estate will need to pay a termination fee for your lease.

Do I own the car?

No – the lease company owns it, and it’s also registered to them.

image of Nissan Ariya electric car

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The Ultimate Home Charging Guide

The Ultimate Home Charging Guide

Electric car chargers are a key part of the switch for many who go electric and charge at home. Here our ultimate guide gives you the lowdown…

electric-car-car-charging-at-home

How do you charge an electric car at home?

Most electric car owners use a home charging point. These are dedicated devices that you install so you can plug in and charge when you’re at home. They’re weatherproof and are specially designed to safely charge your electric car.  

Home chargers use a normal domestic electricity supply (known as a UK domestic AC single phase supply) to give speeds of up to 7kW.

How long does it take to charge an electric car at home?

If you drive a Nissan LEAF with a 39kWh battery, for example, it takes around seven and a half hours to fully charge – and that charge would give you 168 miles of range. 

It’s rare to fully flatten a battery, though, so it’s unlikely to take that long. Most drivers keep their cars at 20%-80% to look after the battery.  

electric car charging at home

When is the best time to charge an electric car?

For most of us, the cheapest and most convenient way to charge is overnight. You’re at home and energy tariffs can be cheaper. This is also the time of day when more of the grid’s energy is coming from renewables – but this changes according to your energy company and tariff.  

Smart chargers have intelligent built-in features to manage your car’s charge. You can set charging times and schedules. When you enter your energy provider and tariff they can charge automatically while you sleep or when energy is cheapest.

You can also check on your car’s battery while it’s charging and see your stats from a smartphone app. Some smart chargers also let you use energy from solar panels on your home, so you can use free power from the sun rather than from the grid.  

Electric car chargers usually have a tethered connection. This is a permanently attached cable and charging socket.

Some chargers are ‘untethered’ so you can plug in different cables. This is useful if you have more than one electric car with different cables or if you think you might want to change your cable length.

Most tethered chargers use a Type 2 cable, which fits all new cars in the UK. It uses a 7-pin plug, often called a ‘Mennekes’.

You might sometimes see Type 1 cables, which use 5 pins. They’re getting rarer and rarer though, as they were only used on early Nissan LEAF models, the first-generation Kia Soul EV and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Yes – there’s a grant of up to £350, or 75% off the cost to buy and install a socket, whichever amount is lower, for people living in a flat, apartment or rental property in the UK to install an electric car charger.

To qualify for the OZEV (Office for Zero Emission Vehicles) grant, you’ll need to:

  • show you’ve recently bought or are leasing an electric vehicle
  • show that off-street parking is available at your property, and
  • have your landlord’s permission if you’re a tenant.

Also, you can only get the grant when you buy your first electric car, and you can’t have more than two OZEV-funded chargers at the property already. 

How do you install an electric car charger at home?

Once you’ve decided which charger is right for you and whether you’re eligible for an OZEV grant, it’s time to pick an installer.

To install Indra Smart PRO chargers, we partner with Plug Me In, who can install across the whole country.  

Our installers will start by visiting you to check over the details. This survey means they can do the essential electrical safety checks before they set a date to fit your charger.

Sometimes you might need to upgrade your distribution board or other electrical components first, but your installer will explain the details. 

They’ll also agree where to install the charger with you. They need to follow electric car charger installation guidelines and the latest regulations, as well as checking where your nearest power supply is and making sure you can park off the street.

Then on your installation day, they’ll fit your charging station and make sure the charging cable is in a safe place. It normally takes about three hours, but it’s a good idea to be available for the whole day just in case.

Before they leave, they’ll register the charger, set up your details and carry out various tests to make sure things are working properly. Then they should show you how to use the charger and how to install the app, as well as help you download the app onto your phone, tablet or computer. As it’s a smart charger, you can check it and control it with the app whenever you’re online. 

untethered Indra charger at home

Can home car chargers use energy from solar panels?

Yes they can – and it can make a big difference when the sun is shining. But you’ll need to do your homework first…

First, you’ll need a solar-compatible charger. Some just work, others need a bit of extra hardware and some don’t work at all.

Second, you’ll need enough power from your solar panels to charge your car and your house. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for about 8-12 panels facing in a direction that gets plenty of sun. This should give you enough power – for example, the Indra Smart PRO charger needs a minimum of 1.4kW/6A to charge a car.

Then – once you’ve got the right charger and you’re generating enough power – you can drive your sunlight-powered car!

This is one of the big challenges for people who want to go electric but who don’t have their own drive.

The most common choice is just plugging in to a destination charger – either near your home or at work. If you can make it work, it might be the best option.

Otherwise, some councils offer on-street residential parking – so it might be worth talking to them. Different solutions include lamp post chargers, free-standing units on the pavement, or telescopic chargers. 

While you might sometimes see cars parked up with a 3-pin cable running across the pavement, we don’t recommend it. 

There are a few questions you should ask when you’re choosing which charger is right for you:

  • How smart does it need to be? Not all smart chargers are the same: some use simple timers you need to set while others (like the Indra Smart PRO) have advanced features like smart scheduling and continuous updates.
  • Tethered or untethered? Tethered chargers have a cable permanently connected, which makes it much simpler to plug in when you get home. Untethered means you can remove the cable: either to swap it for a longer or shorter cable or for one with a different socket.
  • Do you have solar panels? If so, carefully check that you choose a compatible charger.
  • How does it look? Most drivers want something subtle, especially if it’s on the front of their house, but you can choose from plenty of different styles, from the mild to the wild. 

Why choose an Indra Smart PRO charger from ElectriX?

The Indra Smart PRO charger is designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK. It’s one of the smartest on the market and it works with all electric cars. What we really like about the Smart PRO is that it helps you charge from home when it’s cheapest – and it can charge quickly at speeds of up to 7.4kW.

We offer a complete home charging solution with Indra, a leading British EV charger and smart energy technology firm – and we can get your charger installed for you too. 

Our customers love how reliable and efficient the Smart PRO is, while also including smart features like personal charging schedules, solar matching compatibility, a quick boost function, automatic software updates and patented home fuse protection. It has a five-year warranty as standard.  

You can also check your status, update preferences and track your home charging history directly from your phone with the Indra app.

What’s included with an Indra charger from ElectriX?

We also offer a straightforward installation programme with our nationwide installation partner, Plug Me In. 

If you buy from ElectriX, your charger will include a site survey and installation, with up to 15 metres of mains supply cabling. You’ll also get a 5-metre charging cable. You can connect it via Wi-Fi, 4G or an ethernet cable.

There’s a bit of price variation but you should budget about £1,000 for a quality charger like an Indra Smart PRO.

What does that include? First of all, it should include a well-built and well-designed smart charger – plus a site survey, standard installation and VAT. It’s also worth checking whether you’ll need to pay extra for things like internet connections and integration with a home solar system. 

You might also have to pay for any extra electrical equipment you need. Before they do anything, your installer will check with the electricity company that runs the energy network to your home. If they insist on adding or changing anything like an isolator switch or distribution board, that will add to the bill too.

There are a few ways you can check. Your car can tell you how much juice it has on its dashboard display, as well as how much range that gives you – and plenty of other details about your battery. Most modern cars have an app, too.

You can also check your charger. A good quality charger will have a display or indicators on it, while the most advanced smart devices will have a companion app.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home?

It depends on your tariff but you can charge for as little as 2p per mile.

A lot of electric car drivers choose an off-peak tariff which is cheaper at night (though more expensive during the day). That’s because there’s less demand for energy in the middle of the night, so it’s much cheaper to buy. And if you’ve got a smart charger you don’t even need to turn your charger on or off during the night: it just happens automatically.

They’re not very popular yet, but some energy suppliers also offer variable tariffs. These use smart technology to change your prices depending on how much demand there is. 

Can you power your home with an electric car?

Using a car to power your home is called ‘V2H’ or ‘Vehicle to Home’ technology. This promising new technology lets you use your car’s enormous battery to power your home.

As well as being very useful during power cuts and unexpected outages, it also lets you store up either solar power from your roof panels or off-peak electricity you’ve bought cheaper at night.

There have been several trial schemes already but it hasn’t yet come to market. 

couple-ev-charging-at-home-with-Indra-charging

Do home chargers have any common problems?

According to the experts at Indra, there are two common problems. The first is when a charger’s internet connection isn’t good enough. The charger will still work but you won’t be able to use the charging app. In this case, they recommend running a cable to your charger for internet.

The second is ‘nuisance tripping’, when the charger keeps turning off – normally because of something happening with your home’s electricity supply. Advanced chargers like the Indra Smart PRO have technology to deal with the problem.

indra-charger-home-bolt

Get a smart home charger

Top up your car at home with a smart charger.

  • Smart charging – schedule charges when you need them and when energy is cheapest
  • Easy installation – book an appointment with approved installers
  • Advanced charging tech – we’re working with smart charging experts 
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The Ultimate Guide To Range

The Ultimate Guide To Range

Curious about electric car range? Our ultimate guide provides you with all the in’s and out’s of electric car range…

Route planning flourish

Range and driving

What’s the range of an electric car?

When we talk about range for electric cars, what we’re really asking is: ‘How far can you drive with a full charge?’

So if you’ve got 100% charge, will your car travel 150 miles, 200 miles or more? 

If you’re used to a petrol or diesel car, you might be used to thinking about range a bit differently: how many miles you can travel with a full tank of fuel. 

How much range do electric cars have?

Most electric cars have about 100 to 400 miles at the moment, with an average range of almost 260 miles.

100-150
Miles
This is ideal for a local runabout: popping to the shops and visiting friends and family locally. You’re not limited to local travels, though: you’ll have enough range for longer trips from time to time. You’re looking at a small-ish car here: something like a Nissan LEAF has a real world driving range  of 143 miles, Fiat 500e Cabrio 42 kWh of 160 miles or Mini Electric of 110 miles. This is dependant on driving style, weather etc. 
150-200 MilesThis might be the sweet spot for those of us who aren’t putting in mega miles. You won’t need to charge as often and you’ve got more options for longer trips. You’ve got a wide choice of cars including family hatchbacks and compact SUVs. This category includes cars like the Audi e-tron S 52 kWh which has a real world driving range of 160 miles, Vauxhall Mokka-e 160 miles and Hyundai Kona 39 of 155 miles. This is dependant on driving style, weather etc. 
200-300 MilesThe perfect choice for most long-distance travellers who want to go electric. This sort of range makes longer distance and international journeys much more comfortable and practical. Some of these vehicles are a bit larger than lower range vehicles. You’ll also see long-range variants of other vehicles fitted with a bigger battery for more miles – like the Hyundai Kona 64 which has a real world driving range of 245 miles or the Skoda Enyaq iV 80 of 260 miles. This is dependant on driving style, weather etc. 
300+ MilesAre you happiest when you’re on a road trip? Then look at these big-battery options – but be prepared to spend a bit more for the privilege. These mile-munchers tend to be premium brands like BMW, Tesla and Mercedes, helping you cover long distances in comfort.
Do bear in mind that most drivers only charge to 80-90% most of the time to keep their batteries healthy – so your day-to-day range might be a bit lower. 

How much range do I need?

This really comes down to how you’ll use the car. It’s well worth doing some sums before you decide.

Most drivers’ first thought is to buy the longest-range car they can. After all, you don’t want to run out of charge.

That’s not always the smartest choice, though. Long range vehicles need bigger batteries, which are heavy to haul around and so make the car in-efficient. They also make a car more expensive – so it’s worth asking what sort of range you’ll really use.

In the UK, the average journey length in 2019 was just 8.4 miles, with drivers making an average of 18 trips a week. So if the average driver had a Nissan LEAF with a 145-mile range, that would just about cover their weekly driving from one charge.

We recommend keeping track of how far you’re driving in a week and how often you’re parking somewhere you can charge. This will give you a better idea of your ideal range.

Can I do a long trip in an electric car?

Absolutely – people regularly travel the length and breadth of the country in battery-powered cars. They’re a delight to drive on longer trips because they’re much quieter without the engine noise of petrol or diesel cars.

Just plan out how far you’re going, what your range is, and where you’re going to stop and charge. As more and more charging stations are built, it’s getting easier to top up when you need – but it’s still worth planning your trip.

Lots of apps let you enter a route and then suggest charging points. Some will even let you enter your specific car and then tell you where to stop based on your range and charge level. 

What is range anxiety?

It’s something we hear a lot about – it’s the worry that drivers are going to run out of charge before they reach a charging point.

The good news is it’s easy to cure. Almost everyone loses their range anxiety when they start driving an electric car regularly.

Why? Because now there are plenty of chargers (and more popping up all the time). Also, cars’ range meters are getting more and more accurate. It’s not like a petrol or diesel car where you top up when the fuel needle drops into the red. Instead, you can get a fairly accurate prediction of how far you can travel. 

If you’re worried, you can even turn on an eco mode to make the most of your remaining juice. This clever mode reduces your car’s acceleration to help you reduce your power consumption.

image of an MG-ZS electric car

Range and cars

What sort of electric car has the most range?

Generally, bigger cars have a longer range because they’ve got room for bigger batteries. But it’s a bit more complicated than that because it’s not just about battery size: it also depends on how efficient the car is. Generally, though, the longest-range cars will be saloons and SUVs with room for bigger batteries.

Which electric car has the longest range?

Only a handful of cars can top 300 miles of range at the moment – and most of those are large luxury sedans. The Mercedes EQS 450+ is currently top of the list with a range of 395 miles. In fact, the company has managed to produce a one-off research prototype car which has covered 747 miles from Stuttgart in Germany to Silverstone in the UK without needing to top up.

Measuring range

How is range measured?

There are two ways of measuring range. The first is WLTP: a standard laboratory test that’s most useful for comparing cars like-for-like. The second is real-world range: a more realistic figure that drivers find out by driving a car and keeping track of how much energy they use.

What is WLTP range?

WLTP (or (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) is a series of tests to measure a vehicle’s emissions – and range is one of the factors it measures.

Every model of car is taken to a test centre and put on a rolling road – a computer-controlled set of rollers that can simulate different speeds and surfaces. The laboratory is set to a temperature of 23°C and sensors are hooked up to measure the battery’s current and voltage.

The test includes ‘driving cycles’ – simulations of four different types of driving, including stop-start city driving and open road driving up to 81mph. It also includes constant driving at 100km/hr until the car runs out of charge and slows down.

WLTP range is great for comparing two cars. So if car A has a 220 mile WLTP range and car B has a 240 mile range, you know you’ll get further in car B before you need to charge.

What about ‘real world’ range?

This means how far you can drive on real roads on a full charge. You don’t need a climate-controlled rolling road here: it’s something you work out with a pencil and paper by recording your consumption over time.

The problem is that while it’s useful for planning your own travel, it’s tough to compare vehicles. That’s because everyone who works out their own range does things differently. 

So while one driver might live in central London and spend most of her time in stop-start traffic, another driver might live in hilly countryside and mostly drive on twisty lanes. No two drivers’ day-to-day driving is the same – and they’ll all get different real world range numbers.

Why are ‘real world’ and WLTP ranges different?

Tests have found that real world range is on average about 15% less than WLTP range. That’s because real world driving has more variables than a test lab. Temperatures may be lower, which means batteries work less efficiently. You won’t have air con or heaters on during a WLTP test, which all use power. If you’re on the motorway you might travel faster for longer. And drivers in the real world try to avoid running their batteries flat like in a test.

What is EPA range?

You might see this in car reviews – it’s the American equivalent to WLTP range. It’s a slightly different test which tends to give a slightly lower overall range figure (often a bit closer to real world range). 

image of a small white electric car

What affects range?

How does average speed affect range?

As a rule, the faster you drive, the lower your range. Why? It’s mostly down to air resistance. The faster you’re travelling, the more air your car has to force out of the way every second. This all takes energy, so you’ll use more by travelling at speed.

How does acceleration and braking affect range?

Heavy feet on the pedals will eat into your range. Every time you accelerate or brake sharply to slow down you’re reducing your range – either by using battery power to speed up, or by losing speed from braking.

Regenerative braking really helps, which is when your car recovers energy you’d usually lose from braking and uses it to top up the battery. 
Instead, try to think smooth thoughts, put on some easy listening music, and keep your speed as constant as you can!

How does the weather affect range?

Bad weather can make a big difference to range for three reasons. First, batteries are less efficient when they’re cold. Second, cold air means cold air which is denser which means it takes more energy to drive in rain, wind and snow. And third, you’ll probably have the heaters on to keep you warm if you’re driving in winter – which uses battery power too.

How does vehicle weight affect range?

More load means less range, which is why car manufacturers try their hardest to keep vehicles as light as possible. More people in the car or a boot full of luggage will eat into your overall range.

How do air conditioning and heating affect range?

Heating and cooling both eat into your range as they use the battery to heat or cool the air. Adjusting your settings so they aren’t working as hard can make a difference if you’re trying to up your mileage.

How do tyres affect electric car range?

The bad news is that batteries can lose a bit of capacity over time. The good news, though, is that modern cars use sophisticated battery management and cooling technology to keep the problem to a minimum. But it does mean that over time you might notice a gradual reduction in your overall range.

How does regenerative breaking affect range?

Electric cars recover some of the power you’d normally waste from braking and use it to top up the battery. Regenerative braking makes a big difference: you can recover about 64% of the energy you’d lose without it.

What is battery preconditioning?

Preconditioning is a fancy electric car feature that makes your journey’s start more pleasant in cool weather – and bumps up your range.

You just set a time to start your journey. Then your car gets itself ready: in cold weather it’ll warm up the cabin and the battery and defrost the windows for you. Because the car is still plugged in, it can use mains electricity and so keep more range in the battery. Starting warm also keeps your battery in better condition.

What if I run out of charge?

It’s very rare to run out of charge. Most drivers soon work out when to charge up – just like petrol drivers knowing when they need to fill up the tank. Modern electric cars have very accurate range meters and they’ll give you plenty of warning if you’re running low. And most cars have a reserve low-power mode that’ll give you a few more miles to get to the nearest charger.

If the worst does happen, though, just get yourself somewhere safe and call for recovery. Most of the time you’ll get a flatbed truck that can take you – and your car – to the nearest charger. 

Sometimes breakdown trucks carry battery-powered emergency chargers. Think of them as the electric equivalent of a petrol can: they’re big battery packs that can give you up to 10 miles of range to get you to a mains-powered charger. 

Family loading up the electric car

Range and efficiency

How can I increase my range?

The simple answer is to drive more efficiently. That means you’ll get further from your battery’s charge. Some simple ways to do that include:

  • Drive smoothly – accelerating gently is far more efficient that launching yourself from the traffic lights every time.
  • Drive slower – you’ll see big gains in range by travelling at 60mph or less. Faster than this and more drag means less range.
  • Use regenerative braking – if you’re slowing down, try to stay off the brake pedal and let the regenerative braking do its thing,
  • Turn down climate controls – heating and cooling both use energy, so turning them down or using heated seats instead will give you more range.
  • Check your tyres – under-inflated tyres will sap your range, so check your pressures regularly.

The most common measurement is miles per kWh. To work it out, divide your car’s range in miles by its battery capacity in kWh.

How do you measure efficiency?

The least efficient vehicles are in the 2-3 miles per kWh range. For example, an Audi e-tron S offers just 2.2-2.4 mile per kWh.

At the most efficient end you can expect 4-5 miles per kWh. For example, a car like the Hyundai Ioniq electric can give about 4.7 miles per kWh.

And if you want a real electron-guzzler, the GMC Hummer gets about 1.5 miles per kWh – and it’s such a huge vehicle that its battery alone weighs more than a Honda Civic!

You might see some other measurements. ‘Watt-hours/Wh per mile’ pop up sometimes: you can just divide the number by 1,000 to get miles per kWh. You might also see ‘mpg equivalent’, which helps petrol and diesel drivers to compare their car’s efficiency against EVs – but it’s a lot less useful than getting to grips with miles per kWh.

How does efficiency affect electric car range?

A more efficient car will have a longer range for the same battery size. After all, if the motor’s having to do less work to travel at the same speed, the battery’s going to last longer. So if you want to travel as far you can on a charge, you should try and travel as efficiently as you can.

What is ‘hypermiling’?

Hypermiling (or eco-driving) means driving as efficiently as possible to coax the maximum range from your vehicle.

Some people take it seriously – and results can be staggering. The team at armed-forces charity Mission Motorsport managed to set a record-breaking 9.14 miles per kWh in a Renault Zoe E-tech which was completely unmodified (apart from fitting faster-rolling tyres). That was 475 miles from a car rated for 230!

While most of us aren’t going to enter range-busting marathons, there are some tips we can all follow to make a difference: driving smoothly, not carrying more weight than we need and checking your tyres are at the right pressure. 

What is a guess-o-meter?

It’s a nickname for the predicted range that an electric car shows on the dashboard. The reason for the joke is because while it’s a useful tool, it’s almost never entirely accurate.

The guess-o-meter bases its calculations on how you’ve been driving, how warm it is, how much charge is left in the battery and more. While it can give a very helpful guide to how far you’ve got left in your battery, it’s never going to be 100% accurate. And calling it a guess-o-meter helps drivers remember this.

What makes an electric car efficient?

It comes down to how efficiently your car can turn energy into movement. Electric cars are really efficient at this, converting about 86-90% of the energy in their battery into movement at the wheels. Petrol and diesel cars are much less efficient, only converting about 16-25% of the energy in their fuel into motion.

Some electric cars are more efficient than others, though. The main factors are:

Wind resistance: aerodynamic cars have less wind resistance so they’re more efficient. This is why you’ll see electric cars with flush door handles and flat, disc-like alloy wheels.

Rolling resistance: a lighter car creates less rolling resistance, so is more efficient. Your tyres also make a difference: narrower tyres with less chunky treads are more efficient because they waste less energy.

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right for me?

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Image of Ford Mustang E-mach electric car
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