Today, interest in electric cars continues to steadily rise. According to a YouGov poll, 17% of British people would consider buying an electric car. It’s no wonder: manufacturers have improved the look of EVs, and electric car range has vastly improved too, along with the UK’s car charging infrastructure. Plus, you can make some serious savings in the long term as well, thanks to the cheaper running costs.

Depending on your needs, opting to go either electric or hybrid (a car that pairs a petrol or diesel engine with an electric battery and motor) could be a wise financial decision – especially with available government grants and other incentives, like free road tax. It certainly helps car buyers make the switch to pure electric motoring. And as electrically-powered models grow in popularity, it makes sense to familiarise yourself with the key factors of the buying process.

Naturally, there’s lots of handy info in this electric car buying guide, which is why we’ve made it easy for you to get to the section most relevant to your needs. So, feel free to skip ahead using the links below to get the information you’re after.

  • What’s an electric car? Types of EVs and PHEVs
  • Should I buy an electric car?
  • Buying an electric car
  • Electric car prices
  • Electric car range
  • Electric car charging
  • Electric battery
  • Are electric cars safe?
  • Costs of running an electric car
  • Electric vehicle maintenance
  • Driving an electric car
  • Environmental impact of EVs

What’s an electric car? Types of EVs and PHEVs and Hybrids

Before we get into the finer details of electric motoring, let’s answer a couple of basic questions. Firstly, what’s an electric car and how do they work? An electric vehicle (EV) is simply one that runs on electricity, using an electric motor and a battery.

We also have hybrids, which are a type of car that straddle the line between all-electric vehicles and petrol and diesels. And hybrids work by pairing a conventional combustion engine with an electric motor and battery. There are two main types of hybrids: plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and self-charging hybrids. Check out our Top 10 Hybrids of 2021 and 2022 to find out more on about hybrid cars, because from here on out, we’re going to predominantly focus on all-electric vehicles.

Should I buy an electric car?

Now is a great time to buy an electric car, especially with the UK’s upcoming sale ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles in 2030 and the majority of new hybrids in 2035. First though, you have to make sure an EV is right for you and your needs. Like petrol and diesels, electric vehicles come with pros and cons.

Pros and cons of Electric Cars

To decide whether an electric car is right for you, carefully consider these EV pros and cons. We’ll start with the advantages of owning an electric vehicle.

Electric car pros:

  • Lower running costs
  • Exempt from paying road tax
  • Currently, exempt from London’s Congestion Charge
  • EVs are eco-friendly, with zero tailpipe emissions
  • EVs are easy to drive
  • There are government grants available
  • They have fewer moving parts, and therefore require less maintenance
  • EVs have strong resale value
  • EVs tend to have excellent acceleration times, able to draw power from the battery in an instant


Electric car cons:

  • EVs take longer to recharge than a petrol or diesel does to refuel – although a rapid charger can provide an 80% charge in around 30 minutes
  • Higher initial purchase price (compared to petrol and diesels)
  • Battery replacement is expensive (although batteries should last at least 8-10 years)
  • Anxiety over EV range

On top of these pros and cons, you need to consider EV charging. You’ll want to have easy access to a dedicated charge point, which you can use on a regular basis – whether that’s at home, work, or somewhere else nearby. Also, think about the journeys you’ll be using the car for. If you’re travelling short distances regularly then an everyday electric vehicle can easily fit into your life, but if you need it for longer trips then you’ll probably want to consider a Long-range electric vehicle, a hybrid diesel car, or a hybrid petrol model.

Are electric cars worth it?

Yes, absolutely. Although they may cost more upfront to buy, EVs can offer massively reduced running costs. According to a government study into Common Misconceptions About Electric Vehicles, that can be as low as 1p a mile for off-peak electricity. In the same study, fears about the range of EVs is also answered, reminding drivers that most journeys are under 100 miles in the first place – and an electric car can easily meet those needs. But what about charging the car? Well, in the UK there are now more than 42,000 charge point connectors spread over 15,500 locations according to EDF Energy. As well as never being too far from a charging station, thousands of those chargers are also free to use!

Would I be better off with a hybrid car?

If you plan on doing a lot of long-distance driving, then it might make more sense to go with a hybrid model. Hybrids use a petrol or diesel engine paired with an electric motor and battery. This allows them to cover more miles than most of their all-electric counterparts. Hybrids have lower emissions than traditional diesel or petrol models, and are suited to drivers who might need to take on sizable journeys regularly. In turn, they’re less dependent on having access to charging facilities as they can be refuelled with petrol or diesel.

However, bear in mind, hybrid cars are set to be phased out, with the sale of new hybrids banned in the UK from 2035. Also, advances in electric technology means EVs continue to rapidly improve. Today, there are Long-Range Electric Vehicles that can cover over 400 miles on a single charge – perfect for any long-distance journey.

Buying an electric Car

Buying an electric car is more or less the same as purchasing a petrol or diesel vehicle. That means you want to follow all the usual car buying steps, from setting a budget, to finding the right vehicle for your needs. But take note, when it comes to the world of EVs, there are a couple of additional points you want to look out for.

What should I look for when buying an electric car?

Regardless of whether you plan on buying a used or new EV, you want to find out a few extra details about the car. So, be sure to look out for the following things when buying an electric vehicle:

  • The EVs range – if you drive long distances, you’ll probably want to go for a long-range electric car
  • What government grants are available – check out The Plug-in Car Grant and the Homecharging Scheme
  • The type of charger it uses – different EVs have different chargers, it’s best to know which you have in advance
  • The EVs charge speed – some electric cars can accept 22kW, others around 7kW, and this will affect whether you can use a faster charger or not
  • Where you can charge the electric car – can you get a dedicated home wallbox charger? Or recharge your EV at work or somewhere nearby?
  • Costs of charging – it’ll help you budget your running costs
  • How to maintain your battery – EV batteries can lose charge over time, so read up on how to keep it at its best

We go into a lot more detail on many of these points in two of our in-depth guides: Electric Car Charging and Electric Car Range. Check them out to get the full lowdown on electric motoring.

Where can I buy an electric car?

For those looking on the second-hand market, you can buy a used electric car with us at We have 1000s of EVs for sale, from low-cost options like the Nissan Leaf with prices from £6,000, to high-end electric sports cars, like the Porsche Taycan which can fetch prices up to £160k!

Brand-new electric vehicles can be bought from car dealerships, like you would a petrol or diesel car. Tesla EVs, however, are predominantly bought online as they don’t have a traditional dealer network.

Should I buy a used electric car?

Only you can make the decision as to whether to buy a used electric car, but we can certainly share our expert advice. Firstly, all the pros and cons that apply to EVs (discussed above) naturally apply to used electric cars. But there are other points to consider as well.

Advantages of buying a used electric vehicle:

  • It’ll have a cheaper starting price, saving you money
  • Used EVs can still be eligible for government grants
  • Tax benefits still apply, such as free road tax
  • EVs have fewer moving parts, and should prove reliable and easier to inspect
  • Many manufacturers provide a 5/8-year warranty for the battery, which could still be in effect when bought used
  • EVs tend to have strong residuals and hold their value well

Disadvantages of buying a used electric vehicle:

  • EV batteries can degrade over time, losing the capacity to hold as much energy – which means reduced range

Top tip: when buying a used EV check the car when its fully charged and see what the info screen says about the health of the battery

  • Electric car batteries are expensive to replace
  • For maintenance issues, you’ll likely have to visit a main dealer, as independent garages tend not to specialise in EVs
  • The strong residual value of EVs means used prices might not be as low as you’d like (compared to the same petrol or diesel model)

When buying a used electric car, you want to follow the same steps you would when purchasing a second-hand petrol or diesel vehicle. If you’re not sure what those steps are, check out our Complete Guide to Buying a Used Car.

Electric car prices

How much does an electric car cost? Well, prices from new typically range from around £20,000 for small city cars, up to roughly £100,000 for luxury models and high-end sports cars. You can get a good idea of new and used EV prices with our quick reference table below.

High-end Electric Cars New Price from (£) Used Price from (£)*
Audi E-Tron 70,805 32,000
Jaguar i-Pace 65,565 41,000
Mercedes EQS 99,995
Porsche Taycan 72,850 70,000
Tesla Model S 58,600 25,000
Tesla Model X 82,980 56,500
Mid-range Electric Cars New Price from (£) Used Price from (£)*
BMW i3 32,305 12,500
Honda e 34,365 29,000
Hyundai Ioniq 30,550 16,000
Kia e-Niro 32,895 28,000
Peugeot e-2008 33,265 28,000
Tesla Model 3 42,990 32,500
Cheapest Electric Cars New Price from (£) Used Price from (£)*
Fiat 500e 20,000 20,000
Mini Electric 27,000 25,000
Nissan Leaf 26,995 6,000
Renault Zoe 27,595 7,500
Smart EQ ForTwo 20,725 14,000
Vauxhall Corsa-e 25,805 20,000

*Used Prices are from, as of 23/02/2022.

Electric car range

EV range is how far an electric car can travel on a fully charged battery. Distance-wise, the range of EVs is usually lower than diesel and petrol vehicles. However, this needn’t be a concern if you mainly plan on doing city driving or short commutes. Also, range is affected by a variety of factors, such as the weather. We go into depth on this subject in our Electric Car Range guide, which covers what affects it, how to get the most miles out of your EV, and more.

One of the major drives for many manufacturers has been to increase EV range. Top-end electric sports cars and luxury EVs are now able to run for prolonged distances, with ranges sometimes close to double the size of standard models. Some EVs can now drive the length of London to Edinburgh in one go, providing over 400 miles on a single charge! You can read all about such EVs with our Top 10 Electric Cars with the Longest Range.

Electric car charging

Electric car charging is a lot like refuelling your petrol or diesel vehicle. Only with EVs, you plug your car in at a charge point to ‘refuel’ it. We’ll go over the basics that every EV driver should know below. Alternatively, feel free to look at our in-depth guide on Electric Car Charging, which goes into all the details.

Where can I charge my electric car?

You can charge your electric car at home, from a dedicated wallbox charger or even a 3-pin plug socket. You can also recharge at a charge point and your work might provide facilities as well. And as the electric car market continues to grow, the availability of these charging points will increase in tandem. As it stands, there are currently over 25,000 public chargers around the UK, with roughly 500 being added every month.

Electric car charging point power levels

There are 3 main types of car charger, which determine how long it takes to charge an electric vehicle. These are known as slow, fast, and rapid chargers.

  • Rapid Chargers use 43kW, 50kW, or 120kW of power and are usually found at Motorway Services, and main-road petrol stations or dedicated charging networks
  • Fast Chargers use 7kW or 22kW of power and are often found at supermarkets, car parks, retail outlets, and branded petrol stations – you can also get a fast charger installed at home
  • Slow Chargers use 3kW of power – these are perfect for home and work use, allowing you to charge overnight or at your convenience

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Unlike refuelling a petrol or diesel car, recharging an electric vehicle takes a fair bit longer. Exactly how long it takes to recharge is dependent on both the EV’s battery and speed of the charging point. You could be waiting anywhere between 30 minutes to 12 hours, depending on where you choose to recharge. That’s why many EV owners charge their cars overnight, so they can avoid unnecessary waiting. Roughly, it takes this long to recharge an electric car:

  • Rapid Charging Station: around 30 minutes
  • Fast Charging Station: 4-6 hours
  • Slow Charging Station: 8-12 hours


Electric battery

The electric battery in your EV is like the heart of your car in many ways. It’s what’s responsible for providing the energy to get your car driving down the street. Electric batteries in EVs measure their energy capacity in kilowatt-hours (kWh), which relates to the amount of energy the battery can store over a set period of time. The easiest way to think of it is like a petrol or diesel fuel tank, the larger the capacity, the more fuel (or charge) it can retain.

What is electric car battery life like?

Electric cars share the same curse as many other electrical products much like phones and laptops. In short, their batteries can degrade over a long period of time, reducing the charge they can retain. Automotive brands have attempted to safeguard customers from this concern with lengthy warranties that guarantee their batteries will perform at a certain capacity for either a number of years or miles.

A common cause of worry among potential buyers is whether or not they’ll have to fork out for a replacement battery a couple of years down the line. Yet it’s possible to prolong a battery pack’s life by both recharging and discharging it on a frequent basis. Don’t charge your EV unnecessarily, though, as this will do more harm than good. It’s also equally important to ensure your car’s battery gets used regularly, as neglect has been linked to premature battery decline. In addition, try to:

  • Limit the use of rapid chargers, as prolonged use could strain the battery
  • Keep your battery between 20%-80% when recharging and discharging to maintain its optimum capacity

The cost of electric car batteries

Between 2010 and 2016, EV batteries have dropped in cost by around 80%, which is a huge sum, especially considering driver concerns over battery prices. However, you can still expect to pay on average around £4,500 for an EV battery replacement.

Having said that, most electric cars come with a 5 to 8-year warranty on the battery. Also, you can typically expect the battery to last anywhere from 10 to 20 years.

Electric car battery lease

The vast majority of new electric cars come with the battery as owned. However, the Renault Zoe has the option to lease the battery, where you can own the car but not the battery, instead choosing to pay a small monthly fee for its use. That way, if the battery fails or loses much of its capacity, it can be replaced under the lease agreement. You can also find leased batteries in older EV cars, including earlier Nissan Leaf models. If you buy a used EV with a leased battery, you must also sign the battery lease contract with the manufacturer.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Are electric cars safe?

Just like petrol and diesel cars, precautionary measures are put in place by EV manufacturers to make the models sold as safe as possible. Electric cars also undergo the same stringent tests as their combustion engine counterparts, put through their paces by Euro NCAP – where you can see how well specific makes and model performed. Furthermore, EVs are often packed with leading tech and driver assist systems, adding to the safety of the car. These usually include:

  • Anti-lock braking systems
  • Electronic stability controls
  • Pre-tensioning seatbelts
  • Front, side and curtain airbags

Costs of running an electric car

The cost to charge an electric car will depend on where you recharge your EV. Typically, the cost to fully charge your electric vehicle:

  • At home is around £15
  • At work is usually free
  • At a public charge point is also often free
  • At a rapid charger around £6.50 for a 90-mile charge


Electric car service and repair costs

Electric cars have fewer moving parts compared to petrol and diesels. That means servicing and repair costs should be less as there are less parts to inspect and replace.

Electric car MOTs

Electric cars still need to pass an MOT test after 3 years just like diesel and petrol cars. However, they don’t require an emissions test.

Car insurance for electric cars

Electronic car insurance, known as e-car insurance, follows the same basic principles as regular car insurance. Specific policies differ for electrically powered vehicles, though, due to the cost of specialised parts, battery prices, and the need for repairs to be done by specially trained mechanics.

It’s likely the cost of insuring an electric car will be more expensive than a similar car that requires diesel or petrol. This is because the technology is still new and the initial purchase price is generally higher.

Electric vehicle breakdown cover

Many EVs offer 3 years of breakdown cover. If your EV does breakdown or its battery runs empty, take note, you should not tow an electric car over long distances as it can damage the vehicle. Instead, it should be loaded onto a flat-bed truck by the breakdown company.

Electric car road tax

Vehicle excise duty, or road tax, is currently free for electric cars, although you still have to go through the road tax process and sign all the relevant documents. Read all about this subject in Road Tax on Electric Cars and Hybrid Cars.

Electric car grants

There are a number of incentives and government grants in place to assist drivers in making the switch to electric motoring. There is The Plug-in Car Grant, which can reduce a car’s starting price by £1,500. There is the Homecharging Scheme, which helps owners install a dedicated home charge point. And there is the Workplace Charging Scheme, which assists businesses in setting up EV chargers in the workplace. All of the grants come with eligibility criteria, so check in advance to make sure they apply to you and your EV.

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

The cost to install a dedicated wallbox charger at home depends on the manufacturer and kilowattage of the charger. Typically, a 3kW unit will cost between £250-£500, whilst a faster 7kW wallbox charger will be priced between £450-£800. For the even faster 22kW charger, you’re looking at around £1,000-£1,500.

Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash

Electric vehicle maintenance

With no engine oil to change, cambelt to replace, or water pump to change, electric vehicles are easier to maintain than petrol and diesel cars. It’s why you can generally expect to pay less for electric vehicle maintenance.

Do electric vehicles need more servicing?

No, electric vehicles do not need servicing more than petrol or diesels. You should service your EV just as often as you would any other car to keep it in top health. However, with fewer moving parts, servicing costs should be cheaper as there are fewer parts to test, and less parts that’ll need repairing or replaced. Tyres, of course, need to be replaced just as regularly as with any car.

Are electric cars reliable?

Yes, electric cars have proven to be reliable. Again, due to the fewer moving parts, there is less that can go wrong with an EV compared to a petrol or diesel model.

How do you service an electric car?

Simply take your EV to a qualified technician and they’ll take over from there. The technician will use a diagnostic machine to check if there are any fault codes that need attention, and they’ll check the battery for its performance and for any damaged cells, along with other checks to make sure the EVs in the best condition.

Driving an electric car

First things first, driving an electric car can be a lot of fun – particularly as EVs can draw upon their electric motor for instant power, generating maximum torque from a standstill. That means electric vehicles often have very impressive acceleration times. But that’s not all, electric cars also provide:

  • An easy driving experience thanks to no (or fewer) gears
  • A smooth and quiet ride experience
  • Regenerative braking to recover energy

What is the environmental impact of electric vehicles?

Including the production of electric cars, their batteries, and the electricity required to drive them, research by The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has shown that electric vehicles are better for the environment compared to petrol and diesel cars. Simply put, EVs (and their production) produce fewer greenhouse gases, air pollutants, and CO2 emissions.

You’ve reached the end of this electric car buying guide, now armed with all the knowledge (and more) on electric motoring. It’s an exciting time in the automotive industry, with battery technology still undergoing rapid developments and lots of new EVs being released every year. The capability of electric cars is continually developing in leaps and bounds too, with their range and performance being dramatically extended with every new iteration. So, together, let’s drive to a bold new future and help create a greener planet for the future generations of motorheads.

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And make the change to an EV with one of our Best Electric Cars.