What Should I Know Before Buying an Electric Car?!
Buying an electric car for the first time can be daunting - but it doesn't have to be! With the right help and resources the decision usually ends up being a simple one. Read on to know what you should consider before making the move.
Driving Range: Make sure the car has enough range to meet your daily driving needs.
This doesn't necessarily mean you need enough to get you from Lands End to John o Groats five times a week so be realistic. Most people charge at home every night so you most likely only need enough to get to work and back, alongside running a few errands and visiting friends and family.
Charging Infrastructure: Check to see if there are charging stations available in your area and if they are compatible with the car you are considering.
The easiest way to do this is to check Zap-Map. There is a great app for this to use on your phone and if you want to do a big search or plan a longer trip the map on the desktop is fantastic too. The site has lots of filters where you can easily view chargers that are suitable for your car and search by speed and price.
Most cars in the UK use a Type 2 charge connection - this is the most common. Some vehicles (mainly Nissan) use a Type 1 connection so it is worth double-checking which connection type your future car will use. If in doubt - call the dealer selling the car and ask them to confirm.
Battery life: Electric car batteries degrade over time, so it's important to consider the warranty and replacement cost of the battery.
Electric car batteries are lasting far longer than anyone expected but because electric cars are still so new when compared to petrol and diesel cars, many haven't been around long enough for us to know how long they will really last.
However - the initial signs are good and a team in the US reported that they expect the battery in a Nissan Leaf to last on average 22 years. The reason they chose the Leaf is that it is one of the only electric cars which has been on the road for over ten years.
Most car manufacturers provide an excellent battery warranty with some now covering you for ten years. Some older cars also come with a lifetime battery warranty! This is primarily the Renault Zoe. If you buy a Zoe which has a battery lease, then as long as you continue to pay the lease payments the battery is covered with Renault against failure or degradation below 70%. A great option and the Zoe is a great, lower-cost electric car.
An acceptable rate of battery degradation for an electric car can vary depending on the manufacturer and the type of battery used. As a general rule of thumb, a degradation rate of less than 10% per year is considered acceptable. This means that after 8 years, the battery should still have at least 70% of its original capacity.
Keep in mind that battery degradation can also be affected by factors such as how the car is driven and the climate in which it is used, so it's important to consult the manufacturer's warranty and any information on battery maintenance before making a purchase. The best thing to do when considering a used electric car is to ask the seller to provide you with a certificate showing the current state of health of the battery.
Price: Electric cars can be more expensive than their petrol or diesel counterparts to buy, but you should consider the lifetime cost of the car.
The headline price of some electric cars can be eye-watering when you look at what the same car costs for the petrol or diesel version, but make sure you consider that the purchase price is not the only thing to weigh up.
Electric cars can usually save you money on every mile driven so look at how much it will cost you to charge the car at home and how often you might have to charge in public. Work out your pence per mile and compare this to petrol or diesel. The more miles you drive, generally, the more you save. This also leads to our next point.
Maintenance: Electric cars have fewer moving parts, which means less maintenance.
Another important money-saving part of the picture - your annual service is almost certainly going to cost you less than it would in a petrol or diesel car. A 'full' service in an electric car costs around £100 - £150 with a main dealer. There are much fewer moving parts in an electric car to worry about - no oil changes, no spark plugs, no belts. Add all these savings into your overall figure to compare against the purchase price.
Car Model, Brand, and Reputation in the Market.
Every month now more electric car models are being announced and launched - we have never seen so many! So, like any car purchase, do your research and check online reviews and videos on the makes and models you are interested in. Even better - test drive a few and see which ones you like. Here at Forecourt-E, we offer no-obligation test drives on any of our vehicles and most dealers will do the same. Get yourself out there and behind the wheel to see what you think - most people never turn back!
After Sales Support.
It is really important, especially if you have not owned an electric car before, that you have access to some support when you drive away from the forecourt. Ensure you are buying from a knowledgeable, reputable car dealer who will take care of you in the unlikely event things go wrong. Check reviews for the dealership and ask the difficult questions - what if something does go wrong in the coming weeks or months? Will the dealer be there for you?