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EVs Sparked Your Interest? Here Is Our Guide to Electric Cars

What is all the buzz about electric cars?

Are you considering the switch to an electric car? At Acorn Insurance, we have over 40 years of experience looking after drivers like you. We understand the importance of having the right vehicle for you. That is why we have put together this introductory guide to electric cars.

The shocking truth about emissions

The transport sector was the UK’s largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2020, accounting for 22% of carbon dioxide emissions– a major contributor to climate change. Vehicle emissions also have a negative impact on the health of people, animals, and vegetation, and can lead to serious health conditions.

The greenhouse gas emissions generated by a battery electric vehicle are estimated to be around 66% less than that of a petrol vehicle and 60% less than that of a diesel vehicle. Projections suggest a reduction in electricity grid emissions of around 90% by 2050, with total greenhouse gas emissions from electric cars falling by the same amount. Switching to electric vehicles can reduce your carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions while helping improve air quality in your community.

The types of electric cars

So, you are ready to go electric, but what type of EV is right for you? Each type of engine has its benefits. Some factors to consider when deciding are:

  • What type of driving will you be doing?
  • Will you be driving in Clean Air Zones or Low Emissions Zones?
  • Do you have regular access to a charging point?

Once you answer these questions, our guide to the different types of EVs could help you decide which is right for you.

  • BEV: Battery-Electric Vehicles or pure electric vehicles. BEVs are powered 100% by electric batteries. Most battery-electric cars have a real-world range of 100-300 miles on a single charge.
  • PHEV: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles can be driven using the internal combustion engine, the electric drive motor, or both, and can be recharged from an external power source. The typical PHEV will be able to provide a full electrical range of up to 50 miles. PHEVs are only efficient if charged regularly; otherwise, they can be more expensive to run than a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle.
  • E-Rev: Extended Range Electric Vehicles are a version of plug-in hybrids. The E-Rev consists of a battery, an electric drive motor, and a small petrol or diesel generator. The electric motor drives the wheels and the internal combustion engine acts as a generator when the battery is depleted. The range can be between 150 and 300 miles for these vehicles.

Watt’s up with charging electric cars?

Before you make the switch, make sure you have a charging plan. Although charging at home is the most cost-effective method, it may not be practical for every PCO driver. However, there are around 40,000 public charge points in the UK, and that number is growing all the time. You can use ZapMap to locate charging points near your home and along your route. 

You may be eligible to claim a rebate when installing a charging point at your home with the government’s Electric Vehicle Chargepoint Grant. You could get either £350 or 75% off the cost to buy and install a socket, whichever amount is lower. Check to see if you may be eligible for the grant via the website here.

Can an electric car save you money?

Although an EV may save you money on fuel and maintenance costs in the long run, there are other factors to consider, and this may not always be the case. Below, we look at some of the areas an EV could save you more money than a petrol or diesel car.

Fuel costs

A full charge of a pure electric vehicle provides a typical range of more than 200 miles and costs around £8-12 per charge at home. It costs around £26-32 in fuel to drive 200 miles in a petrol or diesel car, which can be three or four times the cost of charging an electric vehicle.

Lower maintenance and running costs

On average, electric vehicles cost less to operate and maintain. While they tend to have a higher price point than their petrol or diesel counterparts, you may recoup these costs through lowered maintenance and fuel costs.

Ideal for inner-city driving

Many drivers find themselves taking short trips to do the big shop, or zip around the neighbourhood on the school run. These short, stop-start journeys are inefficient for petrol or diesel engines. This is where EVs shine for PCO drivers, thanks to regenerative braking. This mechanism draws energy from the brakes and converts it to power which is used for charging the battery. That means all that stop-start driving could save you energy and money!

Clean Air Zone Charges

If you live in a major city in England or Scotland, you may have already encountered a Clean Air Zone Charge. Some cities have enacted Clean Air Zones or Low Emissions Zones (CAZ or LEZ) in an effort to combat climate change and the negative health effects of air pollution. Driving non-compliant vehicles in these zones can lead to charges. Some cities that currently have these charges include London, Birmingham, Sheffield, and Glasgow. If you frequently drive in these areas, this may be an incentive for you to switch to a fully electric vehicle with zero exhaust emissions.

Ready to join the EV-olution?

Before you drive off into the sunset, make sure you have insurance! At Acorn, we have over 40 years of experience helping people like you find the insurance they need. We pride ourselves on helping everyone, even drivers with previous conviction or points on their licence. Fill out our online quote form to see if we could save you money today!

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All figures are correct at the time of writing 12/06/23