How to Get an Electric Car in the UK

If you are thinking of getting an electric car, then there has never been a better time than the present to do it. With the recent fuel price hikes pushing more and more drivers towards electric, and recent laws passed to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, it’s no surprise that more of the road is set to be powered by electric in the coming years.

If you’ve never driven an electric car before, then chances are that you have lots of questions before you decide if it is the right option for you. Switching to electric isn’t just about getting a new car and choosing the right make and model for you, but you’ll also need to think about things like range, charging, and electric car maintenance.

Here’s the ultimate guide to buying an electric car in 2024. Keep reading to find out more about how to get an electric car in the UK and some of the main things to think about before you make the switch.

Why should you buy an electric car?

Why should you buy an electric car

Going electric brings numerous advantages for both the planet and the driver. Electric cars benefit from numerous savings subsidies and incentive plans from the governments of most countries, tax discounts, and more.

As for driving, with electric cars, there is no more need to consult daily about what pollution scenario we are in if you live in a big city like London.

Driving towards sustainable mobility is synonymous with caring for the environment, savings and efficiency. Are you aspiring to this? Then take note because we start with the definitive guide to buying an electric car!

Choosing an Electric Car

Choosing an Electric Car

Whether you buy or lease, the first thing to think about is one that applies to any car – which make and model is the best fit for you? With more and more electric car models coming onto the market, choosing the right one for you has become a bigger decision.

A few years ago, there were only a few different models available making choosing easier. However, these days, there are many more electric cars on offer with lots of options from well-known brands like Volkswagen and Fiat, along with the electric-first manufacturers like Tesla. Mini electric cars like the Fiat 500e are fantastic for city cars, while premium electric cars from brands like Tesla, Mercedes, BMW, and Jaguar are becoming more and more popular.

How Much Does an Electric Car Cost?

You can buy a new electric car for around £17k if you’re going for a smaller option such as the Smart EQ ForTwo. Premium options like the Porsche Taycan could set you back more than £140k. If your electric car costs £35k or less, it will be eligible for the plug-in car grant, which could see you save up to £2500 on your new car. Remember that when buying your car, this grant will have already been deducted from the asking price of any cars that qualify.

What About Leasing?

Electric cars are not cheap to buy outright, so more and more drivers are considering leasing as a great alternative. Leasing an electric car allows you to drive a brand-new EV for a small upfront fee and monthly payments over a fixed period of time. This makes it easier to budget and allows you to choose from a wider range of electric cars that you can spread the cost of, making it more affordable.

Along with this, leasing also means that you can change your car more often compared to buying, as all you need to do is hand the car back after the lease is up, and replace it with a newer model.

Many leases include maintenance packages as standard, or for a small additional fee. And if you’re leasing a brand-new car for one to three years, you don’t need to worry about getting an MOT. If you’re interested, this step-by-step guide to leasing might be useful.

Can You Buy Electric Cars Second Hand?

Can You Buy Electric Cars Second Hand

While electric cars have not been on the market for long enough to have grown into a second-hand market as large as that of internal combustion engine cars, there are likely to be more second-hand EVs becoming available in the future, as more and more people buy and drive them. As sales of new EVs continue to rise, the selection of used and nearly new electric cars is also growing, and prices can be quite reasonable compared to buying brand new.

For example, if you’re looking to spend around £10k, you can find high-spec EVs like the Nissan Leaf that are no older than five years. Buying your EV second-hand can be a good way to save money on the initial purchase and cut the environmental impact of driving down even further. Along with this, buying a used electric car might be a safer choice compared to buying a new internal combustion engine car, as they are safer and more reliable, reducing your risk of ending up buying a car that has hidden problems.

If you’re buying second-hand bear in mind that there’s not as much to check under the bonnet as you might when buying a traditional petrol or diesel engine car, so it might be worth paying for an expert EV inspection before you decide whether or not to buy. You should also check whether or not the batteries are leased, as if they are, you will also need to take on any ongoing payments.

How Much Do Electric Cars Cost to Run?

Whether you have decided to buy an EV brand new, second-hand, or want to lease your new car, one of the main things to know about is the running cost. While you will usually pay more to buy or lease an electric car than a conventional one, they tend to be much cheaper to run over the long term.

Depending on the car that you drive and the mileage that you do, an electric car will cost you much less over time as there’s no need to fill it up with petrol or diesel and there’s a lot less maintenance, ultimately meaning that the additional cost for buying the car at the start will pay for itself. And as the prices of new electric cars continue to fall, they are likely to offer even better value for most drivers over time.

What to Look for When Buying

  • When buying an electric car, the first and most obvious thing to consider is what you are going to be using the car for. A smaller electric car might be a good option if you want a second car or need a car for getting around a busy city centre. On the other hand, if you are looking for a vehicle to suit your expanding family, an electric SUV might be an ideal choice for you. A comfortable electric hatchback might also be ideal for singles, couples, or small families.
  • Set a budget. Setting a maximum price is essential to make a purchase decision, as this will determine whether you can be more or less ambitious when configuring the other features of your perfect electric car.
  • Determine how much autonomy you want. Autonomy, for many people, is one of the “drawbacks” when opting for an electric car, because in some cases it limits the possibility of movement. It is true that there are cars with very little autonomy, but there are also others that exceed 600km without any problem, so making trips is not a problem. You must take into account that, normally, the more autonomy, the higher the price.
  • Check how many recharging points you have near you. Having an electric car means recharging its battery almost every day, so it is advisable to make sure that there are recharging points near you. There is also the possibility of installing a charging point in your own garage, which makes things much easier.

Steps to buy the perfect electric car

  1. Make a list of your favorite electric cars. Although it may seem crazy, our electric car finder and its numerous search filters can make this first step fun and a quite bearable journey. If you don’t want to go “crazy”, make sure that the final list does not exceed six cars, otherwise, you won’t know how to decide.
  2. Compare and reduce the list. Once you have the complete list. This greatly speeds up the consultation time and will allow you to reduce the list by half. Having three cars in mind is a good number to go on!
  3. Request a quote for your favorite cars. We’re already at the finish line, so it’s time to request a quote for your chosen cars. We advise you to visit the car dealerships to see the vehicles physically and if you can test drive them. Afterward, you can contact the rest of the dealers in the country online and compare quotes.
  4. Meet your ideal car. As we said in the previous point, after sending the forms, the dealers will contact you to arrange an appointment. This way you can go and take a look and test drive the cars you have in your top 3.
  5. Buy your ideal car. After the above, you are ready to sign the papers and take your perfect electric car home.

In conclusion, the electric car you choose to buy or lease should first and foremost fit well with your lifestyle. Not only do you need to consider how the car looks and if you like it, but you’ll need to keep your mileage and driving style in mind when it comes to how the car is charged and the battery range. The more often you drive and the longer the journeys you do, the more range you will need. While range anxiety is a common issue with new EV drivers, don’t worry too much about this as eventually, you’ll get used to how the battery works, and you’ll know when you need to charge and how long it will last. Plus, public charging points are becoming just as common as petrol stations, so finding somewhere to top up your battery juice isn’t difficult.

If you’re considering making the switch to an electric car, you can buy new, second-hand, or opt for a leasing deal.

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