Thinking about getting an EV? Read our electric car buying guide

So you're thinking about getting an electric car? We've created this handy guide to help you understand more about electric cars before you take the plunge. If you're already an owner, we've got your back, check out our owner's guide article.

It's becoming more and more expensive to run a diesel car and they could soon become a thing of the past. Electric vehicles are rising in popularity for their environmentally friendly benefits and are one of the best options if you're thinking of replacing a diesel car soon. Here's our list of frequently asked questions so you can be clued up when it comes to electric cars.

Why get an electric car?

The popularity of electric cars has shot up over the last few years, there are now over 100,000 electric cars on the road compared to 3,500 in 2013. People are feeling the pinch of having a diesel car and are looking for more environmentally sustainable ways of getting around.

With rising air pollution and the health risks that come with that, the UK Government are supporting the uptake in electric cars by offering a Plug-in Vehicle grant that helps people who want to buy one. They want to help reduce carbon-emissions, and that's why they're offering up to £3,500 to help UK citizens buy an EV. A little help from the government is always a nice incentive.(1)

What's the benefit of getting an electric car?

Currently, brand new electric or 'plug-in' vehicles are not cheap to buy but they may be cheaper to run in the long term than traditional petrol or diesel cars. For example, you don't pay road tax on electric vehicles or a congestion charge in central London. They also cost around 3p per mile to drive, whereas approximately the best you can do based on current prices with a diesel car would be 9p per mile. And that would be for a very economic car.(2)

To compare and see if you could save money with an EV, you can find out how much your car costs per mile with these handy efficiency calculators.

As well as being cheaper in the long term, electric vehicles are better for the environment. 100% electric cars emit zero CO2 emissions. Plug-in hybrid models give you the option to use both petrol or diesel and electricity to run your vehicle, giving you the option to reduce your CO2 emissions.

Traditional cars that use petrol or diesel are major contributors to air pollution, which harms the environment and also our health. Electric cars don't use petrol or diesel to run, instead you charge them up using electricity just like your phone or laptop, so they don't have the same effect on the air that traditional cars do.

How much does it cost to buy an electric car?

Currently, the cheapest EV you can get in the UK is the Renault Zoe for around £14,000. This particular EV will give you 130 miles for a single full charge. There's the Nissan Leaf which is another popular EV, that costs £16,700 to buy brand new and offers around the same mileage as the Renault Zoe on a full charge. There are bigger family models like the Kia Soul that cost around £25,000 and will run for the same mileage of around 130 but have a lot more space in them for all your family needs.

A mid-range saloon option is the Hyundai IONIQ which is also 100% electric and does 174 miles on a charge and costs around £25,000. Higher on the price spectrum there are sportier models like the BMW i8, which has a price tag starting at £105,580. This one's a plug-in hybrid and when charged it will do 23 miles.

What does it cost to charge an electric car?

It costs around £3.64 of electricity for a full charge. That will give you around 115 miles of charge. Charging your EV at home is the most cost efficient way to charge.(3) It's getting easier and easier to install your own charging point at home for your EV. At EDF Energy we're passionate about reducing carbon emissions through . We've partnered with Phoenix Works to offer home charging point installation for your EV. You can get a plug socket installed where you plug your car into whenever you're at home. The government is also supporting more people in the UK getting electric vehicles by creating a scheme to help fund installing charging points in the home. Find out more about getting a charge point installed at home with us on our electric car charging at home page.

When you're out and about in your EV, you can charge up at various charging points. There are lots of charging points all over the UK, you can find out where they all are with the Zap Map. When you charge at one of these points, it'll cost you £6.50 for 30 minutes of charging time. There's often the option to pay with your phone through an app, although some charging points are free.

Which electric cars are available in the UK?

There are some differences in what's available country to country when it comes to electric vehicles. For a great list of what's available in the UK, costs and benefits, check out this list of electric cars with the longest range.


Content in this article is aimed purely at giving you the information you need to make an informed choice. We’re not making any recommendations or endorsements. We can’t control third party products or services and we’re not responsible for any loss or damage you experience by using them.