The Ultimate Guide To Leasing An Electric Car
The move to global electrification is, of course, driven by the need to reduce emissions and help in the fight to lower global warming.
And while car makers and governments are on a mission to make this planet a cleaner one, you’d have to have been living on an entirely different one not to know that such a seismic change in the way we move around brings with it a huge number of questions and more thanthe odd bit of fake news.
So we’re here to cut through all that static and make your journey into electric ownership easier to navigate.
In this ultimate guide to leasing an electric car we will help you make an informed choice about what kind of electric car you should consider and show why new car owners are set to benefit from incredible technologies in vehicles that promise to be cleaner to run, cheaper to maintain and even more fun to drive.
Electric Cars Vs Hybrid Cars What’s The Difference?
If you’re thinking about going electric you might have spotted that EV lingo is full of acronyms, abbreviations and words made out of a jumble of seemingly random letters. Do you know your PHEV from your MHEV? Your BEV from your HEV?
If not, don’t panic. Our job is to untangle the alphabet spaghetti and help you find the perfect car for your needs.
Put simply, electric cars fall into 2 categories:
Full electric cars that have no combustion engine and are powered ONLY by their batteries (known as BEVs or Battery Electric Vehicles).
Hybrids, which are exactly as they sound: a mix of electric power and internal combustion engine.
Of these 2 types only fully electric BEVs fall into the category of being so-called Zero Emission Vehicles, where no exhaust emission are produced from a tailpipe of the car.
Examples Of Popular BEV Electric Cars Include:
If You're Not Ready To Go Full Electric...
Hybrids are a stepping-stone towards a fully electric car and work by combining a traditional petrol or diesel engine with a small electric system that can boost performance or even operate the car for short periods on electric alone before switching back to the combustion engine when it is out of range or needs more oomph.
The benefits of a hybrid – good economy, low emissions, reduced road tax – mean they are a good stepping stone towards electric.
Within the hybrid world, the cars that will get you closest to the full electric experience are what are termed as Plug-in hybrids.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (Phevs)
A PHEV is as close as you can get to a fully electric car in the hybrid category. As the name implies, you can plug it in to charge its electric batteries and use full electric driving for a short range (normally in the region of 30 miles or so).
When you need more performance or longer range, a PHEV will combine the electric motor and combustion engine to give you equivalent performance to a traditional car but still with better fuel economy.
If your journeys or commute are regularly short (or you can recharge at home or work) then PHEV hybrids are a great solution for people who want the benefits of full electric driving but the back-up of a combustion engine.
Examples Of Popular PHEV Models Include:
Non-Plug-in Hybrids (HEVs and MHEVs)
Hybrid cars that can’t charge from the electricity grid via plugging in fall into two camps:
Full hybrids. These use smaller electric systems than a PHEV to provide bursts of power – and even all-electric motion – when called upon by the car.
Mild hybrids. Not capable of electric motion in isolation, mild hybrids work in conjunction with the combustion engine to lower the amount of fuel used and hence gives you better miles per gallon.
"Electric Cars Are Easy To Drive, Cleaner To Run - And Lots Of Fun"
How Are Electric Cars Different To Petrol Or Diesel?
Whatever model of car you choose, you will notice that electric vehicles feel different to drive than petrol or diesel-powered cars. For a start, electricity can be fed instantly to the car’s motor and, unlike a combustion engine, that motor can provide maximum power from standstill. Which means instant and constant acceleration.
Many drivers are more than pleasantly surprised to find an electric car feels faster and more responsive than anything they’ve been used to.
And it’s not just speeding up that feels different. Slowing down in an EV is another new phenomenon thanks to what’s called regenerative braking.
Again, the principle is simple: unlike a combustion engine, an electric motor can spin instantly in either direction. When it spins one way, you pull power from the battery and drive the car forward. But when you lift off the throttle, the ‘regen’ function kicks in and sends power generated by the car’s turning wheels back into the battery.
Electric cars with this function often allow you to tune the ‘regen’ effect from the driver’s seat. If you turn it up then it can feel like you’ve begun to apply the brakes simply by lifting off the accelerator.
It’s an effect that’s come to be known as ‘one pedal driving’ and not only can it make driving an easier and more relaxed affair, it can even cut your maintenance costs.
On a normal car, fuel is still being burnt while you’re slowing down and every press of the brakes wears down your pads and discs. On an EV with ‘regen’ braking, you can use the electric motor to help you slow down and even top up the battery at the same time. It’s a neat trick.
How Do Electric Cars Work?
While the latest generation of electric cars are packed with state-of-the-art tech, the principles behind electric propulsion are remarkably unchanged from the first electric cars that were actually invented over a century ago.
Rather than having intricate combustion engines with hundreds of complex moving parts, electric cars rely on a supply of on-board electricity from a big battery pack (think lots of mobile phone batteries placed back-to-back).
These rechargeable batteries are the car’s equivalent of a fuel tank and provide the power for electric motors – the equivalent of the car’s engine – that are placed on one or sometimes both of the car’s axles to provide either two or four-wheel drive.
Electric cars can vary in performance by using more powerful electric motors to accelerate faster – just like having more horsepower – and having bigger battery packs to allow for more electrical storage, which means more range or performance.
And just like with a combustion engine, you can’t have both… Drive hard and fast and you’ll use more “fuel”, whether it’s petrol or electricity!
Want to know more about how far an electric car can go? Take a look at our comprehensive guide to EV ranges
To understand the power of your EV, you need to know the kilowatt rating of your electric motor, not the kilowatt-hour rating of your battery. A 100kW motor is equivalent to 136 brake horsepower from a conventional combustion engine.
How Do You Charge An Electric Car?
That’s simple – just as you’d put a fuel hose into your petrol tank, with an electric car you’re going to plug a powerline into its charging socket.
And the great thing about electric cars is that power can come from pretty much anywhere where you’ve got access to the grid.
With nearly three-quarters of all cars in the UK having access to off-road parking, according to the Department of Transport, you will see homes and offices increasingly having handy electric car charging points and, of course, there is a growing network of public EV charging points that will allow you to recharge just like you’d drop into a petrol station or motorway service stop.
How A Home Charger Can Change The Way You View EVs
One of the most frequent questions we get asked is whether it’s harder to recharge an electric car than refuel a standard vehicle.
Well if you’ve got access to off-road parking at your home (i.e. a driveway) then a wall-mounted EV charging unit can transform the way you charge – and use – your electric car.
Imagine getting into your car every morning and seeing the fuel gauge showing full every time. That’s the reality of having a home charger, which will allow you to ensure that you start every journey with batteries charged to max.
It’s also one of the most economical ways possible to get maximum range into your car. Often, home electricity tariffs are increasingly offering lower rates for electric car owners to charge the car at night. It’s why over 80% of all EV charging currently takes place at home.
Does The Public Charging Network Offer Enough Flexibility?
According to recent government research a driver will find a rapid charger within a 25-mile radius of every major A-roads and motorway in England. That equates to well over 4000 rapid chargers as of February 2021 and the number of new points continues to climb every week.
Government funding has already supported the installation of over 140,000 domestic chargers and a further 9,000 in workplaces.
Add to that the network of over 22,000 public chargers, including over 3,500 rapid devices, and the UK has one of the largest networks in Europe.
Pressure is still being applied to get more support for what is calculated to be a tenfold increase in that requirement by 2030 and more than £1.3billion has been pledged by the government to improve the charging infrastructure.
What is clear is that the huge increase in demand for electric cars is quite literally driving the installation of a larger, nationwide network of chargers.
So How Much Does It Cost To Charge An EV
In a nutshell – far less than a petrol or diesel equivalent.
With electricity currently being a much cheaper commodity than petrol or diesel, the recharging costs for an EV can really add up to big savings over the course of a year’s driving.
According to the government’s goultralow.com website, the average cost of running a petrol or diesel car is about 12p per mile. That can drop to as little as 2p per mile for electric cars charged on the cheapest home tariffs.
To put that into figures that really drive home the advantages, here are some simple sums:
The average efficiency of petrol cars on sale today stands at around 36 miles per gallon, at a cost of around £1.55 per litre of fuel. Which means drivers are often paying around £193 for every 1000 miles they drive (19p per mile).
By contrast electric cars get nowhere close to that. The average EV in the UK covers about 3.8 miles for every kWh of electricity it consumes. If you’re paying 28p per kWh from your supplier at home (the national average) then an average EV will cost you in the region of 7p per mile. Drop onto a cheap night tariff and that can easily halve. Which means that, per 1000 miles of driving an electric car charged at home on a cheap tariff, it might cost you at most around £70 (but more likely less) to run!
But How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?
The life expectancy of EV batteries – or the fear that their life is short, to be precise – is one of the great debates of going electric. Early electric cars did have some issues with batteries losing their performance but huge leaps forward in the technology of the battery cells themselves and the software that governs how they charge means the life expectancy of an EV really shouldn’t be of concern any more.
Warranties on new EV batteries are typically 100,000 miles or 8 years and simple techniques like avoiding draining the batteries to zero regularly can really add to their efficiency and lifespan.
Research by technology firm Geotab, showed that the so-called ‘State of Health’ of batteries in a wide range of popular EVs was declining so slowly that the batteries will outlast the usable life of the vehicle.
Furthermore, that ‘state of health’ declined by approximately 2.3% on average, meaning that over five years of ownership, a 200-mile range car would still have a range of over 180 miles.
Many manufacturers recommend keeping batteries in a 20 – 80% ‘sweetspot’ if it’s convenient to do so and you can even set many car’s charging settings to keep within those boundaries.
If you’re using your car for regular journeys and charging at home most nights then that is well within the range of pretty much every EV.
And bear in mind that any concerns you might have over battery life are almost certainly banished should you decide to lease your car.
A standard 2, 3 or 4-year lease will fall within the warranties of every electric car we offer at Vanarama.