If I had a dime for every person that has said to me ‘my next car will be electric’.. I would be able to buy 1/100th of a bitcoin, and then cross my fingers, you never know, I might retire at 63.
Now, there are a confluence of reasons to make the switch to electric; climate, air quality, petrol prices, Ukraine, take your pick.
And yet, it is understandable why the transition feels slow. It’s a leap of faith. I get decision-paralysis when shopping for breakfast cereal, not to mention bigger purchases such as the family car.
I’ll keep things simple. Here are 5 things to consider when deciding on an EV:
- Should I go full electric EV, hybrid or plug-in EV?
Go full electric EV.
My view is that when you try and do two jobs with the same tool, you end up compromising on both of them. Do. Less. Better. Or as Ron Swanson once said “never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing”. Plus you’ll want to switch to fully electric in a few years so why go through it all over again?
The only reason I would recommend a hybrid is if you have nowhere suitable to charge (more on that later), or if you really need to dip your toes in the water before making a big decision.
2. Which EV?
Sometimes it helps in decision-making to limit the number of criteria to the few things that matter the most. With an EV I would posit that this is mainly the price and battery range*. Stripping the decision back to bare bones — which EVs are best priced per mile of battery range?
Here are the top 15 on sale in the UK at the moment.
For my money, VW, Hyundai/Kia and Renault look to be good bets. MG’s ZS EV comes out best but one car reviewer described it as a bit like a supermarket own-brand biscuit.
(*I know there are other considerations such as style, comfort, space etc.. but let’s face it, no one has ever asked me for style advice.)
3. How much should I spend?
To simplify it, I would put EVs in two big, broad buckets.
- Small EVs — Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Mini Electric, Volkswagen ID.3, Hyundai Kona, Kia e-Niro. You can expect to pay >£28K brand new.
- Large EVs — Tesla Models S,X,Y, Audi e-Tron, Jaguar iPace, Mercedes ECQ, Porsche Taycan. You can expect to pay at least >£40K brand new.
Buying any car brand-new is a pricey and slightly irrational endeavour. However two things can make the purchase of a new EV more reasonable:
- There are often government subsidies to encourage new buyers. In the UK there is a £1,500 grant for cars under £32k. Other countries will have similar incentives.
- Salary sacrifice schemes allow you to buy EVs pre-tax. If you are a higher-earner that’s 40% off the sticker price!
4. How am I going to charge it?
It is no surprise that most people buying EVs now have off-street parking. If you are in this position consider yourself a winner in the ‘highly suited to EV lottery’ — go forth and prosper!
If you don’t have off-street parking you may still want to make the leap if you have a reliable charging place at work, or near your home. You can check your charging options near your home on Zapmap.
If you have a small EV and off-street parking you can get by with a 3-pin charger. It’s like charging your phone overnight. If you have a large battery you may need to look into getting a home charger.
5. What battery range do I need?
Of course, it depends on your specific driving needs.
But let’s be real, minimum 150 miles real world range otherwise every once in a while you will experience the strange sensation of driving on a motorway, with white knuckles, at only 40mph.
How do I know what the real world range is? Take the range that is being advertised and deduct 25-30% to factor in the battery-draining effect of driving on motorways, over hills, heating, cooling and headlights.
All cars in the table above have at least 150 mile real-world range.
Good luck and let me know if any questions.