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Is now the time to switch to an electric vehicle?

With the queues we’ve all been seeing at our local petrol stations, some might have been considering whether it might be easier, better for the environment, or more cost effective, to swap out their petrol for an electric. To help with this decision, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to ditching diesel.


Better for the environment

Recently the topic of the environment and climate change has been heating up, and no doubt some are sick of hearing about it, but it is something worth considering. Some might say that the emissions and waste produced by the manufacturing of electric cars exceeds that of petrol and diesel, which may be true, but when we consider what is produced over the lifetime of the vehicle, things start to look more in favour of the electric. This becomes even more noticeable when we factor in the recent uptake in cleaner methods of power generation. Also, nations the world over are welcoming eco-friendly projects and legislation, which means there are grants with the aim of easing the transition. This brings us partly onto the next pro…

Saving money

When purchasing an electric vehicle, the government will pay up to £2,500 towards the cost, and that’s just for cars. For vans it’s up to £6,000, for taxis £7,500, and for trucks they’ll pay up to £14,000. There are also grants for installing charging points both at home and at a workplace. On the subject of charging, it is also considerably cheaper to run an electric vehicle. According to EDF energy it would cost on £1.30 on average to run an electric car for 100 miles, compare this with the average for petrol cars which is £11.05, and the savings are clear. Finally, on the topic of cost, electric vehicles have considerably fewer moving parts than Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, this means that the cost of maintenance is much cheaper. No oil changes, cheaper MOTs, plus you wouldn’t even have to consider the risk of putting in the wrong kind of fuel.

Benefits to businesses

You might be asking why an accounting firm would be talking about electric vehicles, but there are benefits a business can take advantage of. When providing things like company cars, Benefit in Kind tax is incurred, the amount payable through this tax is dramatically reduced depending on the emissions of the vehicle, and of course electric vehicles fall on the bottom band of this ruling and so pay much less. Lastly, businesses that opt to have a fleet of electric vehicles can reap the image and public relations benefits of being a greener company, opening themselves up to clientele who are more environmentally minded.


Not all costs are cheaper

Whilst they are cheaper to run and maintain, there are other costs to consider. Because the batteries in electric vehicles are rather sophisticated pieces of equipment, this can drive the cost of the vehicle up, as well as the insurance. Of course, some of the purchase cost is brought down by the grants available but whether this is enough to compensate would be up to the buyer, and there are no such grants for insurance.

Range and charging availability

One of the more common complaints regarding electric vehicles is how far you’ll get on a full tank (or battery). There is something to this, if you look at a Vauxhall Corsa, of which there are petrol, diesel, and electric versions, the petrol will get as far as 524 miles on a full tank, whereas the electric will only do 209. This coupled with the relative scarcity of charging points and the time it takes to fully charge the battery from empty (anywhere from 30 minutes to 21 hours depending on the size of the battery/speed of the port) long journeys start to seem more difficult.

Clearly there are good reasons for both sides of the argument, but ultimately it comes down to purpose. For city driving and smaller journeys the lower running costs, plus being able to ignore congestion charges, may make it seem like an attractive option indeed, but if your work has you up and down the country or you have to make regular long trips to see family you might want to stick to petrol or diesel. For businesses those grants can certainly stack up as they get higher for more commercial vehicles, but if you’re handling long-haulage you might not want low ranges and long charge times delaying deliveries.

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