Abbey’s Guide to Understanding Electric Cars

Abbey’s Guide to Understanding Electric Cars

Many people believe electric cars are a modern phenomenon when in fact they have been in circulation since the late 19th century. When cheaper-to-run petrol vehicles were introduced in the early 1900s they lost favour, before experiencing a rebirth in 2008 as international awareness of the overall environment grew, combined with the price of oil significantly rising.

Now, electric cars are of peak interest to car buyers across the globe. As oil reserves continue to deplete, many predict that the future of cars will be completely electric. If you are still in the dark about what an electric car is, and why you might consider buying one, then sit back, relax, and read on…

Understanding Electric Cars

There are three types of electric cars:

1.) Hybrid Electric Vehicles – Put simply, a hybrid car combines an electric motor with a petrol or diesel engine. It runs similarly to an automatic, and uses both engines to power the vehicle. It does not need to be charged, as when the electric motor resources have run out, the petrol/diesel engine acts as a generator to recharge.
2.) Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles – Unlike the conventional hybrid, these vehicles can be plugged-in to charge or charged on to go. They have bigger batteries than a standard hybrid and can run on electric alone if necessary.
3.) Battery Electric Vehicles – A battery electric car only runs on rechargeable battery packs and needs to be charged at periodic intervals. It has no petrol or diesel engine, meaning it cannot run without charge.

Electric Cars - Nissan Leaf

What are the main benefits of owning an electric car?

1.) Better for the environment – Not only do they contribute less to air pollution, but in many cases electric vehicles are made from recycled materials too. The top selling electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, is partially made from green materials like plastic water bottles, plastic bags and in some cases, second hand home appliances.
2.) Cheaper to maintain and run – While the cost to purchase an electric vehicle might be slightly higher than a petrol/diesel car, it’s running and maintenance costs are substantially lower. No longer do you need to fuel your car (in the traditional sense) and most batteries come with a minimum of an eight year guarantee, meaning your car upkeep costs can be slashed. Most governments offer cuts in road tax for eco-friendly vehicles, and if you are savvy enough to already have solar panels installed on your home or work, the cost to charge your vehicle could be significantly lower too.

What are some of the common misconceptions about electric cars?

1.) No one buys them – To the contrary, the popularity of electric cars has gone through the roof in the UK in recent years. Reports show that there are now more than 125,000 plug-in vehicles on the road. By contrast, there were just 3,500 in 2013.
2.) Electric car batteries don’t last very long – This depends on what you judge as ‘long’. Most car batteries can handle driving for up to 100 miles without a recharge, meaning that many work commutes and leisure journeys can be easily covered. If your daily commute exceeds 100 miles then you might find constantly recharging too much of a hassle.
3.) They are cheaper to buy – Unfortunately this isn’t the case for every model. Like traditional cars, the brand and type of electric car you select will make a big difference to its price and in many cases, electric cars actually work out slightly more expensive at initial purchase. That said, with cheaper running and maintenance costs, you can easily make back any difference in a short period of time.

Abbey Insurance Brokers

For more information about insuring an electric vehicle, please give one of our experienced advisors a call on 08000 66 55 44.