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Many electric vehicles are now much more flexible than they used to be, with some offering a 300-mile range and there are even some seven-seater models.
There are just over 90,000 fully electric and plug-in hybrid cars on UK roads, with the Nissan Leaf the world’s biggest-selling electric car.
Last week saw some big changes in the market: Volvo announced it will only launch electric or hybrid cars from 2019 and Emmanuel Macron’s new government pledged that France will ban diesel and petrol cars by 2040.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the proportion of fully electric new cars sold in the UK will be one in 12 by 2030 – up from one in every 200 today.
So if you’re thinking about ditching petrol and diesel in favour of electric, here’s what you need to consider:
This will be your main decision. Purely electric cars have no combustion engine, only an on-board electric battery which provides power through an re-chargeable electric motor, charged through an electricity supply. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are part battery and part conventional cars. Like electric cars, plug-in hybrids can be charged from an electricity supply and driven like an electric car, or the on board engine can be used if the electric battery is depleted.
It is widely recognised that electric cars are more expensive to buy than their diesel and petrol counterparts, but since 2011, the government has offered buyers of electric vehicles and PHEVs a grant.
The plug-in car grants are awarded in three categories and currently cover 35 per cent of the cost of a car, up to a maximum of £4,500 depending on its CO2 emissions and electric-only range. Only cars that can travel 70 miles or more on battery alone (and have CO2 figures under 50g/km) qualify for the full £4,500 grant.
When you buy an electric car, it’s recommended that you install a dedicated vehicle charging socket at your home. A 32 amp unit can charge up to 30-60 per cent faster than a conventional socket. Government grants are available towards the cost of having a charging point installed in or near to your home.