Electric Car Buying Guide
Thinking about making the switch to eco-motoring but not sure where to start your search? At Pentagon, we can help.
Choosing whether to buy an EV doesn’t have to be confusing. Our electric car buying guide is here to take you through everything from the electric driving experience and squashing range anxiety to types of EVs and the benefits of owning one.
So, if you’re considering starting your journey in electric motoring, find out whether EVs are right for you.
Why buy an electric car?
There are plenty of benefits to driving an electric vehicle. Not only can they be cheaper to run, but they usually accelerate faster too!
Cheaper to run
Charging an electric car is much cheaper than fuelling a petrol or diesel engine. Electricity is much cheaper in comparison to fuel and you can charge at home for even lower prices.*
Take advantage of an off-peak electricity tariff and recharge your EV overnight. This way you’ll save even more!
Don’t worry if you can’t always charge at home, as even charging station prices are generally cheaper than fuel.
*When charged at home. Prices may vary due to recent fuel & energy cost increases. Correct at the time of writing 09/22.
Zero tailpipe emissions
Electric cars produce zero tailpipe emissions. This means there are no pollutants coming from your car, and it doesn’t have to be fitted with a catalytic converter to make the fumes less harmful.
You get to enjoy clean driving during every trip, ideal for inner-city journeys. No CO2 means cleaner air and a healthier planet!
Less maintenance needed
Whilst EVs sound complicated, there are actually fewer moving parts in an electric car when compared to a traditional vehicle.
This means fewer things can go wrong and you can save time and money on regular maintenance.
The main considerations are the tyres and brakes, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary for any driver.
Electric motors have instant access to torque. This translates to extremely quick acceleration, beating most traditional engines off the mark.
This power still comes with a smooth ride as there’s no loud engine noise or gear changes.
There are several government grants on offer that are here to make the change to EV much easier.
- Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) - Up to £350 off wall box installation in a flat or rental accommodation
- Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) - Up to £350 off workplace charging points
- On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) - a grant for local authorities to install more charge points
Head to the bottom of the page for more information on electric car government grants.
No road tax
Road tax price is calculated based on emissions so electric cars don’t pay it. You do still have to apply for road tax, but there is no fee to apply.
This may change in the future as all cars become electrified, but this is something you can take advantage of now.
For more information, read our guide to road tax for hybrid & electric cars.
Unlike a combustion engine that runs on fuel, electric cars have an electric motor and a battery pack that power the vehicle
The innovative process between these two components provides torque as soon as you put your foot down and gives you an impressive range between charges.
Alongside that, charging your EV is super simple. Just plug in at home or a public charging hub and enjoy cheaper motoring.
Types of Electric Cars
Electric cars (EV)
Fully electric cars are purely run by electricity. These models have a powerful electric motor and advanced battery packs, which give instant torque and a quiet ride.
Plug-in Hybrids (PHEV)
Pairing the best of combustion power with an electric motor, a plug-in hybrid provides a fuel-efficient drive with the benefit of an all-electric range for short journeys. The battery needs to be plugged in to recharge.
Full Hybrids (HEV)
Full hybrids, or self-charging hybrids, offer the benefits of an electric motor, but you don’t need to plug it in to charge. This technology delivers improved fuel economy and all-electric power at slow speeds whilst regaining battery through regenerative braking.
Mild Hybrids (MHEV)
This type of car has a small electric motor that supports the engine to improve fuel efficiency. It’s an ideal option for anyone exploring the world of eco-driving and it’s typically the most affordable type of hybrid car too.
Electric car driving experience
The driving experience of an EV is unique. Unlike conventional cars, the electric motor provides instant torque. So, when you put your foot down, there’s immediate acceleration. Most EVs are quick off the mark with even entry-level models beating most petrol or diesel equivalents.
Car designers place the battery and heavier components under the floor, and this provides a low centre of gravity, making handling stable and responsive. This also opens up passenger space and allows for more head and legroom.
Another joy of driving an electric vehicle is the reduction in noise and vibrations compared to a petrol or diesel model. Even when putting your EV through its paces, it’s silent and smooth.
Plus, with automatic transmissions as standard, you get a smooth and comfortable ride on all journeys.
Electric car driving ranges
There’s no need to worry about range anxiety anymore. The latest EV models provide an average of nearly 260 miles, with some delivering over 300 miles between charges.*
So, for example, if you commute 40 miles a day, you’ll get 6.5 days of travel before having to recharge (depending on factors such as speed etc.).
That means you’ll have more than enough range to carry out a working week’s worth of commutes with some range to spare!
The latest innovations in electric technology are seeing more models available with longer ranges and the option to extend the range with upgraded battery options.
And as driving range and electric car technology grow, so does the charging infrastructure across the globe.
*Based on average electric car WLTP estimate driving ranges. Actual driving range may vary due to weather, driving behaviour and other conditions.
Charging your electric car
There are several options for charging your electric car so you don’t have to worry. Even if you’re miles from home and need to charge, you’ll be able to find somewhere to get you back on the roads in no time.
Read our electric car charging top tips and best practices for more information.
Charging your EV at home is one of the most cost-effective ways to run your vehicle.
Most cars come with a plug that will fit any standard wall socket in your home or work.
However, installing a wall box will give you access to faster charging. Instead of having to run a wire indoors, your wall box is housed on an external wall for quick and easy charging.
Getting a wall box installed isn’t completely necessary though. You can typically still use remote charging and other handy features via a companion app even if you’re charging through a standard wall socket.
Public charging points
The charging network in the UK is growing. This gives you access to fast-charge points in service stations, supermarkets and car parks. Of course, you’ll have to pay to use these, but some allow free charging, such as while you shop.
Dedicated charging stations also offer rapid charging capabilities to get you to around 80% in around 30 minutes or under. This will vary based on model and charging station.
Charging EV at home with no driveway
Charging without access to a driveway can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. As your car comes with a standard socket, you may consider running the cable over the pavement from your property. While this isn’t illegal, you should be aware of liability if someone trips over it.
Using public charge points is another solution but there are also community charging apps such as Co Charger that enable sharing. Signing up to this platform allows you to use someone else’s home charger for a fee, or you can sign up to offer your wall box.
The government also provides grants for workplaces to purchase and install charge points. So, it might be worth checking with your employer to see if you can charge up at work.
For more information, read our guide on electric car charging at home with no driveway.
Electric car servicing
Like a petrol or diesel car, your EV needs regular servicing and maintenance. Again, the process is similar to a conventional vehicle but with a few extras. The main servicing areas include:
- Battery and electric motor health check
- Software updates
- Oils and coolants
- Cable inspection
EV servicing needs to be carried out by trained EV specialists. Our Pentagon Group service centres are the perfect place for regular EV servicing.
Electric car battery warranties
All EV cars come with a standard warranty, the same as any other vehicle. However, most manufacturers provide additional cover for the battery.
Most offer around 8 years / 100,000 miles (whichever is soonest). You also get the same benefits whether you buy a plug-in, full, or mild hybrid.
So you’ll get the same useful life out of your EV as you would a normal car. And if anything goes wrong inside the warranty terms, including reduced battery capacity, you’re fully covered.
Electric car government grants
There are several government grants available that could help make driving an electric car even more affordable. These include:
Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS)
Live in a flat or rental accommodation? You may be eligible for a grant towards the cost of installing a wall box at the property. The grant covers 75% (up to £350) of the installation cost.
You’ll have to get permission before installing a wall box in a rental property or shared area.
Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS)
Businesses looking to provide electric charge points on the premises can apply for the Workplace Charging Scheme grant. This provides 75% (up to £350) towards the cost of installation per charging point (up to 40 charging points).
So even if your workplace doesn’t currently offer electric car charging, it’s worth looking into!
On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS)
This grant gives local authorities the opportunity to install more on-street charge points in residential areas.
While it’s not something you can apply for, check with your local council on their plans for making your area more EV-friendly.
You could even write to your local authority to let them know you are interested in more on-street chargers.
For more information, read our guide on the latest electric car grants & incentives.
Get in touch
If you have any questions when it comes to owning, driving or charging an electric car, get in touch with Pentagon. Our electric specialists are here to help.