Electric cars are on the rise. Read our guide to choosing a greener set of wheels.
If you’re in the market for a new car, either as an upgrade or to buy your first ever motor, you can’t have escaped the question about whether or not to go green.
Electric cars are better for the environment as they produce far less emissions than petrol and diesel cars, and in fully electric models, no driving emissions at all. The lower carbon footprint is clearly appealing, but what also motivates many buyers is the fact that they are much cheaper to run, especially in this time of exorbitant fuel costs.
The Government is on board too, laying out plans to phase out sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and making it illegal to sell them from 2035 onwards. So at that time, the only type of car you will be able to buy new will be one that creates zero emissions.
Considering switching to a green car in the near future? Demand for electric vehicles is rising, so you’re in good company. Here’s our guide to choosing an electric car that will keep you moving with a clean conscience, and how to finance it affordably if you’re not in a position to buy outright.
Greener car – a rainbow of benefits
Besides lower emissions which benefit us all with cleaner air, electric cars come with lots of plus points that are instantly more noticeable.
For a start, the running costs come in at around one fifth of a petrol car. With prices at an all time high at the time of writing, this can have a major impact on your monthly outgoings.
Longer term, they can be more affordable to maintain because they’re powered by a motor instead of an engine, meaning there are less moving parts so less things that will need repairing.
Depending on where you live, a greener car may also be exempt from congestion charges that are applied to polluting vehicles, or enable you to drive around your town or city without the risk of fines or additional charges.
The different types of electric cars
Electric cars come in many shapes and forms, and it’s vital to understand the differences between each to narrow down your search and find the vehicle that’s right for you.
The three main categories are:
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) - these have an electric motor that depends fully on a battery that you charge up at a charging point either at home or at a service station or parking space with charging facilities. Charging points are becoming more common as the demand for electric vehicles grows.
Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) - run on a battery powered motor, PHEVs have a petrol or diesel engine as back up for when your plug-in batteries run out.
Hybrids – these don’t have the plug-in option, and instead generate their own electricity while running on petrol or diesel. That electricity then powers the vehicle for as long as it lasts, before switching back to petrol or diesel when needed.
The RAC has an extensive guide to the different types of electric vehicles, including the pros and cons of each.
Buying a used electric car
The second hand market for electric cars is growing as more people buy new. This is great news for anyone wanting a more affordable way to buy a green car, but there are some pitfalls to be aware of.
The main one is that an electric vehicle’s battery becomes less efficient the more it’s used. Many manufacturers include a battery warranty when a car is purchased new, so if you can find out what length of time that warranty is good for (often 7 or 8 years) and buy a model within that time, it should still have good running capacity.
An older, less efficient battery will simply not last for as long but will still keep you moving. You will need to factor in more frequent charging time if you choose an older model.
The second main downside to electric cars is that the insurance costs can be a bit higher than those for petrol or diesel cars. However, this is often easily made up for with huge, regular savings on fuel costs.
Leasing an electric car
If you’d rather drive a new car, leasing may be the way forward. You pay a monthly fee, with the amount dependent on the model of car and your agreed mileage, and your chosen provider provides you with the brand new car.
The provider still owns the car but you can use it as though it’s your own, and they will sometimes offer a home charging point installation option so you can plug in whenever needed.
Go green with an Advantage Loan
As an ethical lender, Great Western Credit Union is committed to supporting you in making green upgrades to your home and life.
If you’re considering switching to a more environmentally friendly car, you may find an Advantage Loan is an affordable way to do it. Our lowest rate loan specifically for homeowners or those with an excellent credit score, the Advantage Loan gives you the chance to borrow between £7,500 and £15,000, with repayments set up to suit your budget.
Take a look at our loan calculator to find out how the Advantage Loan could get you moving in your greenest car yet.