If you’re thinking of leasing an electric car, chances are you’ll have some questions about whether it’s right for you. From charging options and range concerns to running costs and model choice, there are many benefits – and drawbacks – to leasing a ‘green’ vehicle.
To help you make an informed decision, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts has put together a comprehensive guide that explains the advantages and disadvantages of leasing an electric vehicle.
An electric vehicle, also known as a full electric, battery electric vehicle (BEV) or EV, is a vehicle powered solely by an electric motor. Unlike a traditional petrol or diesel vehicle which is fuelled by gasoline or diesel, electric cars function by plugging into a charge point and taking electricity from the grid. They store the electricity in rechargeable batteries which then power an electric motor, which turns the wheels.
For years, the idea of electric vehicles ruling our roads seemed like a distant fantasy but here in the UK, the electric car market has grown significantly over the past few years. The UK Government’s plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, along with vehicle manufacturers spending billions on developing new models, has increased consumer demand, with sales surpassing one million in the UK in 2020, marking a key milestone in the automotive industry’s move away from fossil fuels.
Government grants, increased battery capacity, greater model choice, lower Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax rates and lower On The Road (OTR) prices have all helped to make electric cars more accessible to the general public. Add in an electric car’s cheap running costs and it’s easy to see why electric vehicles have become so popular.
While electric cars are certainly future proof, they may not always be the best choice for you. Deciding whether or not an electric car is right for you comes down to your driving style and what you intend to use the vehicle for. An electric car may be worth considering if:
If an electric vehicle isn’t right for you, you may want to consider leasing a hybrid car, which offers some of the benefits of an electric vehicle but with the flexibility of an additional petrol or diesel engine.
Electric cars differ significantly from hybrid, diesel and petrol cars, both in the way they work, but also in the features they offer.
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Compared to the cost of petrol or diesel, electricity is significantly cheaper. According to the Energy Savings Trust, an electric vehicle can run for 100 miles at a cost of £2 to £4 based on a full charge at home, while a petrol or diesel can cost £13 to £16 per 100 miles. While there are ways to reduce your expenditure on fuel, electric charging costs are likely to be over a tenth of what you could pay for petrol or diesel.
As pure electric vehicles (EVs) don’t have an exhaust system, they produce no tailpipe emissions. This means they do not emit toxic gases or smoke in the environment like a traditional petrol or diesel car. This not only helps improve air quality, particularly in urban areas but also means you can take advantage of government grants and tax incentives for EVs to help reduce the total cost of ownership.
Imagine never going to visit a petrol station ever again! Thanks to dedicated home charging units – of which you can benefit from a Government grant of up to £500 towards the installation – it’s never been easier to charge your electric car at home. Simply plug in, charge overnight and your fully charged electric car will be ready for you in the morning.
There are significant tax incentives for making the switch to electric. At the time of writing this guide, the UK Government is offering a plug-in car grant with a discount of up to £3,500 for eligible electric cars as well as grants to help towards the cost of installation home, workplace and on-street charge-points. Company car drivers can also benefit from lower Benefit In Kind (BIK) rates, representing huge savings for the driver.
An electric vehicle has a lot less moving parts than conventional petrol or diesel cars, with no expensive exhaust systems, starter motors, fuel injection systems and radiators to maintain. As such, servicing and maintenance costs can be significantly lower, making overall running costs cheaper than those of a petrol or diesel car.
Electric cars are limited by range and therefore can’t travel as far on a full-charge as petrol or diesel vehicles can on a full tank. While EV range is constantly improving, most electric vehicles have a maximum range between 60 to100 miles before they need recharging again. As such, many customers still have range anxiety, fearing they won't be able to get to their destination, particularly on long journeys, without having to charge their car up.
While EV public charging points are certainly growing in numbers, they’re still dramatically outnumbered by petrol stations. Many outer city and remote areas don’t have the EV charging facilities readily available, meaning that if you don’t plan your journey appropriately, you could end up searching endlessly for a charge point, or even worse, run out of charge completely.
Unlike a gasoline powered car which takes a couple of minutes to fuel, charge times for an electric car take hours. While most electric cars take about four to six hours to be fully charged, some can take a whopping 15 to 20 hours. As such, recharging your EV is a significant time investment and if you’re out and about, you’ll need to be prepared to stick around until a charge has completed.
While electric vehicles can be cheaper to run than fuel-powered counterparts, they are still relatively expensive to buy or finance. Electric cars carry a premium of around £10k over an equivalently sized petrol or diesel powered car, although lower running costs will help offset the initial higher price tag. This is because electric vehicles typically have higher cash prices, restricted supply and typically lower resale values.
While there’s a greater variety of electric cars than ever before, there is just not as much choice when compared to conventional vehicles. Most car manufactures just have one or two electric vehicles in their range and most are small in size and not really designed to carry the entire family. On the upside, this is expected to change as EV prevalence continues to grow.