The Ultimate Guide to Electric Vehicles

As we become more aware of how our actions are impacting the environment, we car owners are starting to look at how we can do our bit on reducing pollution and one way we can do this is through purchasing a fully electric vehicle. Not only is the Government pushing this issue, but the electric vehicle industry is also growing and is only going to get bigger, with brands such as Honda pledging to electrify its European portfolio by 2022 – a vision that is soon going to become a reality.

With more and more people committing to a greener car, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before making the move to a fully electric vehicle and here at Donnelly Group, we are going to help show you the EV way by answering all your BEV FAQs!

What is a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)?

Let’s start with one of the most common questions – what exactly is a BEV? With many different electric cars on the market, it can be hard to keep up with the terminology used. A battery electric vehicle (BEV) is a car that is powered entirely by electricity, meaning it has no fuel tank or exhaust emissions. Instead, it has one or more electric motors powered by a large battery. Typically, BEV owners will charge their car via an external outlet which will either be in the form of a home charger or public charging station.

At Donnelly Group, we have a number of battery electric vehicles available including the SEAT Mii, Renault ZOE, Peugeot e-2008 SUV, Volkswagen ID.4 and Jaguar I-Pace.

What are the benefits of switching to an electric car?

There are many benefits to switching to an electric car, but here are a few of the top benefits:

  • Better for the environment as they have lower emissions
  • Lower running costs and less maintenance
  • Easy to drive
  • Government incentives for certain EV Models

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

This all depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point, but to give you an idea it can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 12 hours. If your battery is 60KWH, achieving a full charge from empty will take around 8 hours when using a 7KWH charging point. Typically, some electric vehicle owners will never be charging from empty because topping up the battery will speed up the charging process.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

The answer to this question is that it’s typically less than fuelling a petrol or diesel car, as the cost for fuel usually ranges between 10-15p per mile, while it’s only 3-4p per mile for a home-charged electric vehicle. However, different models will have different costs based on how efficient they are, (driving style can impact how efficient your electric charge is) how long it takes to fully charge and different charging locations will also have different costs (it may be cheaper to charge at home than at public charge point).

Government grant for low emission vehicles

Did you know that you can get a discount on the price of a brand new low-emission vehicle through a grant the Government gives to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers? At Donnelly Group, we have a range of BEVs that are eligible for this grant (not all vehicles are eligible, only vehicles approved by the Government are eligible) – the maximum amount available for cars is £2,500.

How long do the batteries last?

When buying a new electric car, you will more than likely receive a battery warranty with your car package and these can be anywhere from 5 to 10 years, or for a specific mile range like up to 100,000 miles – whichever comes first. Due to the technology being so new and continuously reviewed by the manufacturers, it can be difficult to give an estimate of the life span.

Batteries of electric cars will suffer if they are exposed to very cold or very hot temperatures, or if the battery’s own temperature rises. Overcharging and deep discharge (using the battery’s maximum capacity repeatedly) can also impact the life span.

Fast charging vs rapid charging: What’s the difference?

Motorists are so used to pulling up at fuel stations, so pulling up to a charging port and plugging in is something new. It’s not surprising that there is a bit of confusion around electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and self-charging hybrids, as well as all the different charging terminology that makes things even more confusing. The simplest way to put it is that there are slow, fast and rapid chargers available, with different connectors and rates of charge. All 3 can give you a charge, but they differ due to the speed at which they recharge.

You can find your nearest public charging location with ZapMap!

Should I get a home charger for my electric car?

To charge electric cars at home, you need to have an at-home charging point installed where you park your car or use a 3 pin plug socket as your occasional backup.

Most of the time, EV drivers will opt for the at-home dedicated charging point, simply because it’s faster, more affordable, and has many built-in safety features. Home charging points are waterproof and installed by professionals. You may even be eligible for a government grant of up to £350 to install one of these at your home!

Can I tow with an electric car?

Camping and caravanning are popular pastimes across the world, even more so now that staycations are growing in popularity – but if you’re towing an electric car it’s important to note that some electric cars actually can’t tow, it’s not that they are unable to do so – it’s that they have not been granted type approval. Electric cars are already heavier than conventional vehicles and adding a caravan could result in additional strain being placed on some parts, it can also significantly reduce the range. Before purchasing your EV it will be worth researching this.

How to know if an electric car is right for me?

If you’re still deciding on whether an electric car is right for you , it comes down to one thing – the sort of driving you’ll use it for. If you’re not doing huge miles daily, have easy access to a charging point either at your home address or work, then the answer is yes – an EV could definitely work for you!

If you can charge at both home and work, then you can double your range to around 500 miles as long as you can leave it in long enough to charge the battery. Electricity costs about a third of that for petrol and diesel, allowing you to save on your daily commute.

As we have said before, the BEV market is constantly evolving, meaning there are more options on the market than just small city cars with low mile ranges. Why not let Donnelly Group show you the EV way? Get in touch with one of our showrooms where our Electric car specialists can talk you through your options!