Electric cars really are the future. More and more are appearing on the roads each day as all manner of wild and wonderful EVs arrive in the showrooms. Not only that, but the government is urging us to buy electric too while a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 really backs this up.
But with electric cars comes a host of new questions and answers – some of which have been answered in our latest video below. So let’s take a look at what you need to know about electric cars.
What type of infrastructure is there?
Charging is, of course, one of the key aspects of owning an electric car. You need to put charge into it in order to move, right? Well, fortunately the number of public chargers – the ones you’ll use when out and about – is growing. According to EV chargepoint mapping provider Zap Map, there are now 24,390 devices across the UK with 41,971 individual connectors. Not bad at all. To find out a little more about charging an EV, then take a look at our video here.
But what about charging at home?
Home charging is something that most owners of an EV will want to do if they can. Of course, it requires you to have off-street parking, but it’s by far the most convenient way of topping up your electric car. It’s done via a professionally-installed wallbox, which you simply plug your car into and you’re ready to top up those batteries. You could use a three-pin socket, but this is slow and not really recommended unless you’re in an emergency with a desperate need for charge.
How do I measure charge though?
This is an area where things can get confusing. When it comes to charging speeds, we’re talking kilowatts – or kW. This is essentially how quickly the energy is delivered – think of it as how fast the petrol comes out of the pump. The higher the number, the quicker the charge speed. So whereas a home charger will provide 7.4kW of power and charge an average electric car in around nine hours, a rapid public one can deliver up to 350kW and provide a zero to 80 per cent charge in just 30 minutes.
But can all electric cars charge at 350kW?
No. Each car is rated to charge at different speeds and that’s how much they’ll be able to accept. So for instance, if you plug the Skoda Enyaq iV – which can charge at speeds of up to 125kW – the maximum speed it’ll charge at is 125kW, even if it’s hooked up to a rapid 350kW charger.
And how much charge can one store?
So whereas speed is measured in kW, electric capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours – or kWh. This is how big the car’s battery is and relates to how much range it can deliver. So the newest Audis, for instance, use a 74kWh battery and this returns a range of over 300 miles. A Renault Zoe, meanwhile, has a 52kWh battery, so it can’t deliver the same amount of range from a single charge.
Will an EV be cheaper to run than a petrol or diesel?
For the most part, yes. Electric cars are cheaper to run on a day-to-day basis, particularly if you’re able to charge at home. Plus, you’ll be dealing with lower maintenance bills as there are fewer moving parts. EVs cost less to tax, too.
But they do tend to have a higher price tag than conventionally driven cars, while insurance premiums can be a little steeper for electric cars.
But are they good fun to drive?
For sure. An electric car can instantly deliver its torque – there’s no pause like you’d get from a petrol or diesel car. Plus, they’re whisper quiet, which makes them quiet and relaxing to drive around town – or higher speeds. There are also loads of electric cars available – far more than you might think, in fact. To check out some of the best around, take a look at our feature here.
Are there any other benefits?
Absolutely! Because an electric car has no bulky engine nor chunky transmission, it can bring far more interior space than conventional cars. In fact, some EVs bring more cabin room than petrol or diesel cars from the class above in size. They’re great options for families as a result.