The global sale of electric vehicles (EVs) has continued to rise in 2022 following record-breaking numbers in previous years. However, many people are still unsure of the benefits they bring in comparison to traditional petrol and diesel cars.
In this guide, we explain the advantages of electric cars plus the pros and cons you should consider before driving your own EV.
Advantages of Electric Cars
Electric vehicles are an increasingly attractive option for many drivers. But, why are electric cars better?
Lower running costs
Easier to maintain
Convenient recharging and parking
Quieter to drive
1. Lower Running Costs
One of the biggest benefits to drivers is that electric vehicles have lower running costs than traditional cars. While the initial price of an EV vehicle can be more expensive than a traditional model, the lower running costs over time can offset it and also save you money.
Cheaper to charge than fuel with petrol or diesel
Charging your car at home or in public is nearly always cheaper than filling up your tank with fuel (petrol or diesel). This is especially true if you charge your EV at home, where you can expect to cut your fuel costs in half when you switch to electric.
For example, if your energy provider charges you £0.34 per kWh and you have a Peugeot e-208, by multiplying the two, you’d get £17.
50 (battery size in kWh) x 0.34 (cost in pence per kWh) = £17.00
You could pay £34 to travel 400 miles in this car if you charged it at home, or £66 for the equivalent petrol model with 40 litres of fuel. Overall, if you drove 8000 miles per year, you’d save £640 on fuel costs.
You can find out more in our guide to electric car charging costs.
Cheaper to maintain
EVs are cheaper to maintain as they don’t have as many moving parts as a traditional vehicle, including no engine for you to look after. This means you’ll encounter fewer maintenance costs in comparison to a petrol or diesel car.
Cheaper to tax
A huge benefit to driving an electric vehicle are the savings associated to Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), otherwise known as road tax. If you drive a fully-electric car, you will be exempt from paying road tax which can save you hundreds of pounds a year compared to driving a petrol or diesel car.
Avoid Clean Air Zone charges
Many cities and towns across the UK have introduced Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in a bid to reduce CO2 emissions in urban areas. If you live or regularly drive in to a CAZ, you can avoid paying up to £15 a day to drive through these areas if you have an electric vehicle.
Free parking and charge points available
You can benefit from free parking in some towns and cities with an EV, with plenty of charging options available.
2. Zero Emissions
Unlike vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE), electric cars don’t emit any nasty gases into the atmosphere when they’re driven, making them cleaner and kinder to the environment.
EVs are powered through lithium-ion batteries which don’t release exhaust fumes such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx), which are bad for both human health and the environment.
3. Easier To Maintain
Having an electric car can lead to significant long-term savings. They are more reliable and therefore will cost less in servicing and maintenance.
As we mentioned earlier, EVs have fewer components than ICE cars. For example, there’s no oil to change or a complex engine to maintain. In addition, brake wear is reduced because of regenerative braking, where kinetic energy is created from the power it takes to slow down the vehicle when you ease off the accelerator.
4. Convenient Charging And Parking
Unlike ICE cars, you can charge your car at home – this can be done at home overnight while you sleep, or through a quick top up before heading out to run some errands.
If you do need to stop off on a long-distance journey to recharge, there are plenty of public charging points located at motorway services, supermarkets, car parks, and petrol stations. To find them, you can use the Zap Map app to locate chargers across the UK. Some are even rapid chargers, where you can get a good bulk of charge in half an hour.
Many cities and boroughs have also introduced incentives for people who drive an EV, such as free or cheaper parking.
5. Improved Performance
Electric cars typically offer better performance than their traditional fuel counterparts.
The motors that power EVs can deliver impressive and instantaneous torque, often making them quicker. If you're comparing an electric car and a petrol or diesel car with the same horsepower, the electric car uses more of its horsepower at a quicker rate, because there are fewer moving parts involved, so they move more efficiently with less of a lag.
6. Quieter To Drive
Loud engines and exhausts can be a pain point for many residents and pedestrians. Fortunately, electric cars don’t have a combustion engine nor cylinder pressure changes so naturally don’t make any noise apart from the tyres. More and more electric vehicles make neighbourhoods quieter and help people avoid a shock when a loud car drives past.
Disadvantages Of Electric Cars
There are some disadvantages of electric cars, however, these can be remedied, and may depend on your driving needs and circumstances.
Higher initial purchase cost
Availability of charging points
1. Range Anxiety
A common concern for budding EV owners is anxiety about the range of miles the vehicle can do before running out of energy. While this was a reasonable concern around 10 years ago, modern day EVs are much more efficient and are equipped with larger battery packs to offer a generous range to drivers. Given the average daily commute in the UK is 26 miles, range anxiety is quickly becoming a concern of the past, as most EVs on the road today are capable of more than 200 miles from a single charge.
2. Higher Initial Purchase Cost Than Traditional Fuel Cars
A big reason why people avoid adopting electric cars is that they are ‘too expensive to buy’. While of course the price of a car is an important factor and shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s important to realise that in the long-term, EVs are cheaper to run and will actually end up saving you money.
As discussed earlier in this guide, it’s cheaper to charge an EV than it is to fill up a tank of petrol or diesel. Servicing and maintenance costs are also cheaper, and fewer things to go wrong with the car.
But there are other options than buying an EV and paying for it outright. Consider an electric car lease if you want to make the switch without spending a lot upfront.
With leasing, you’ll make fixed monthly payments for a set period of time (usually 2-5 years) and then return the car. You’re then free to upgrade your EV for another new model or browse elsewhere. Unlike PCP finance, there’s no balloon payment at the end of the deal either, making an electric car lease affordable and easy to manage.
3. Availability Of Charging Points
Even if you have a charging point at home, the availability of charging points is still a reasonable concern. After all, you don’t wanna be stranded somewhere with a car with an empty battery.
According to Zap Map, there are around 36,000 public charging points across over 21,000 locations in the UK. This is only going to increase as the infrastructure is improved. Just make sure you download the Zap Map app, or any alternative, to find charging points near you or along a journey you’re planning to take.
Learn more about EVs with our helpful guides, including how long it takes to charge plus the top 10 cheapest electric cars available to drive today.