Advantages of electric cars: why and how they’re worth it
10 January 2022 | Stephen Marcus | Ovo Energy
If you want to make a difference for the planet, as well as have an impact on emissions in your local area, then you might have already considered making the switch to electric
These days, it’s not so uncommon to hear – or, more accurately, not hear! – the quiet hum of an electric car. As the cost of buying one continues to drop, it’s becoming more mainstream to make the change to electric vehicles – or EVs, for short, as they’re more broadly known. And that trend is only set to continue, following the recent government announcement that sales of fully petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030. (This doesn’t include hybrids, which are allowed until 2035.)
The good news is, electric cars offer all kinds of other advantages, too. They range from savings on fuel, tax and maintenance costs, to the (as some would argue) superior driving experience. Here, we walk you through the many perks of EVs, their downsides, and all the other basics you need to know.
Top 10 benefits of electric cars
- Electric cars are cheaper to run
The cost of running an EV is significantly cheaper than a petrol or diesel car. Electricity powers your car more cheaply than petrol. So while the price to buy many EVs is still higher than that of their petrol or diesel counterparts, you’ll spend less on fuel costs each year.
Maintenance costs are also lower. In general, there are fewer moving parts in electric cars. This means:
- You’re far less likely to have expensive repairs on replaceable parts like brake discs and pads
- The car will spend less time off the road, because services or repairs will usually be simple
- Servicing costs shouldn’t go beyond a basic check-up
- Electric cars are better for the environment
Many of us are drawn to EVs because of their lower impact on our planet. It’s possible to power fully electric cars with 100% renewable electricity – which is a vital step towards decarbonisation. Plus, they don’t emit any exhaust fumes, which can have a huge impact on reducing local air pollution. And that’s a much-needed and very welcome change for our congested cities.
- There are no (or lower) congestion charges for electric cars
With the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZ) by cities like Bath and Birmingham, electric car-drivers across the UK could benefit from this new government scheme. The details for different regions are still being finalised, but find out the latest from the government.
EV drivers in London can also save money on the Congestion Charge. Fully electric cars that emit no carbon are exempt until 2025, while certain hybrids can avoid paying it until 2021. If you plan on entering the inner-city congestion zone between 7am and 10pm, this means you’ll save £15 each and every time.
- Driving an electric car is a better experience
Driving an electric car is a smoother, safer experience. This is for 2 main reasons:
- The electric motor makes EVs responsive when you put your foot down, but also whisper-quiet on the road
- The weight and distribution of the batteries means a low centre of gravity, for improved handling and comfort
- The government is funding electric car charging points
Government grants are available through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to help with the cost of installing a charge point. They have grants of up to £350 up for grabs towards the cost of installing a home charge point.
Update: from April 2022, this scheme will only be open to EV owners who live in flats and/or rental accommodation. Find out more about the EV Homecharge Scheme.
There are also incentives for local authorities to create charging points, to try and solve the issues around urban charging. Plus, if you want to encourage your staff to use EVs, the Workplace Charging Scheme gives support to eligible businesses who’d like to install charging points at the office.
- Get up to £1500 off the purchase price or your EV
You can also make a big saving on the cost of buying a new electric or hybrid vehicle through the OLEV plug-in grant. For cars, this could be up to £1500, and for other vehicles – such as motorcycles, taxis and vans – the discounts vary in size. The grants are managed by the dealers, so you don’t have to do anything to benefit from them.
Find out more in our complete guide to the full range of government grants and incentives for electric and hybrid cars.
- Free parking for electric vehicles
To encourage more drivers to make the switch, many local authorities offer free street parking (and often free charging) for electric cars. Find your local authority to see what benefits might be available.
- Electric cars have solid resale value
The value of most new cars goes down as soon as you drive them out of the dealership. Amazingly, this isn’t the case for some electric cars. Their value drops much more slowly than for petrol cars – and, in some extraordinary cases, their value can even go up1!
And because their batteries are also worth a lot, EVs are unlikely to drop below a base price. You won’t find a Nissan LEAF for less than £5,000, for instance – no matter how old it is, or how many miles it’s clocked up.
- Electric cars reduce noise pollution
Who hasn’t been annoyed by the sound of a noisy car or motorcycle? Another great benefit of electric cars: they can help to minimise this anti-social aspect, being naturally much quieter than petrol and diesel vehicles.
They’re so quiet, in fact, that a new law has been introduced requiring EVs to have an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) fitted. These emit an artificial sound, signalling their presence to pedestrians when reversing, or travelling below 12mph.
Their quiet hum makes EVs very handy for reducing both noise and air pollution – which is great news for local neighbourhoods and inner cities alike.
- Easy and convenient EV charging
With an EV, the world is your oyster – or at least, it soon will be – as many local authorities start to expand their public charging facilities. It means that rather than going to the petrol station, you can charge an electric car wherever there’s a suitable socket or plug.