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What is a battery electric vehicle (BEV)?

A battery electric vehicle (BEV) is powered by at least one electric motor in the absence of a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine (ICE). Electric vehicles (EVs) produce zero CO2 emissions.

Just like plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), BEVs need to be plugged-in for charging but there's no ICE as back-up like there is with a PHEV.

Fully electric vehicles are constantly in all-electric mode and, as the battery is considerably larger than in a PHEV, they can travel much further on a single charge.

Should I buy a battery electric vehicle?

How do electric cars and vans work?

Renault Kangoo ZE

Essentially, electric cars and vans are powered by an electric motor instead of a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine.

In replacement of the fuel tank, EVs have a large on-board battery, which stores energy to power the electric motor. The bigger the battery the higher the EV's mileage range.

A single-speed transmission features in EVs, sending power to the wheels from the electric motor.

An intelligent regenerative braking system is able to replenish some battery charge during journeys, however, most of the charging comes from plugging the vehicle in to a power source.

What are the different types of electric vehicles?

Explore the Range

Buying an electric vehicle

Electric Vehicle FAQs

Can I drive an electric vehicle through water?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to drive your EV through water.

However, like with conventionally-powered vehicles, don't confront deep water as this can still cause detrimental damage to your electrically-powered vehicle.

You are also safe to take your EV to automated car washes.

How and where do I charge an electric vehicle?

Charging your EV is simple and the process can be completed by numerous methods.

The slowest option is using a domestic 3-pin plug socket at home but to speed up the home-charging process you can have a dedicated wallbox installed which will significantly decrease charging times.

Public charging stations are also available.

What are the benefits of an electric vehicle?
  • Zero CO2 emissions
  • Better for the environment
  • Cheaper running price
  • Lower maintenance costs
Does an electric vehicle have a gearbox?

Unlike petrol and diesel vehicles, EVs don't have the choice between a manual or automatic transmission.

Instead, most have just a single gear.

Some vehicles, more often high-performance cars, do feature a multi-speed gearbox but this increases the complexity of building the vehicle and therefore inflates the car's price.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car or van?

The cost of charging varies depending on the car itself and the method of charging. Charging at home is often the cheapest option.

The average cost for standard electricity in the UK during 2020 was 17.2/kWh, multiply this figure by the size of your car's battery.

So, if your car as a 50kWh battery and you paid the average electricity price it would cost you about £8.50 to fully charge the battery; a lot cheaper than refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

Public charging points are also available and they tend to charge the car faster but for a higher price. Look out as some stations charge as £ per kWh whereas others charge £ per hour.

How long does it take to charge an electric car or van?

Charging times vary greatly across different models and the method of charging impacts the time too.

Using 50kW rapid chargers at a public charging station can boost an EV's battery from 10 to 80 percent in as little as 30 minutes, whereas charging at home using a 3-pin socket can take over 12 hours.

Installing a dedicated 7kW charging point at home can see the charging time of an electric vehicle dramatically reduce to around eight hours or less.

What happens when an electric vehicle runs out of charge?

In the same way traditional vehicles need petrol or diesel to run, electric vehicles need battery power to be driven.

A range indicator on the dashboard will indicate how far you can travel before the vehicle needs charging.

It is recommended that you don't run the vehicle until empty, also known as 'deep discharging', as this can damage the battery.

What is range anxiety?

In the early days of EVs, the term 'range anxiety' was used to describe the fear of running out of charge before reaching the destination.

Thanks to improved technology, electric vehicles are now capable of achieving a decent range and the number or public charging stations located around the UK are constantly increasing, which effectively diminishes the phenomenon of 'range anxiety'.

Are Government grants available?

A discount is available on the price of brand-new low emissions vehicles through a Government grant.

Electric cars must cost less than £35,000 and the grant will cover 35 percent of the purchase price, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Small electric vans, less than 2,500kg gross vehicle weight, can receive up to a maximum of £3,000.

Large electric vans, between 2,500kg and 3,500kg gross vehicle weight, are eligible for a grant of up to £6,000 off the purchase price.

When will all cars and vans be electric?

In the UK, the government have imposed a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030.

The following step takes place in 2035, with all new cars and vans producing zero tailpipe emissions.

Eventually, the plan is for the UK to end contribution to climate change from the transport sector by 2050.

Electric Car FAQs

What are the best electric cars?

There are now so many electric cars in both the new and used markets so we have compiled a list of the best used electric cars you can currently buy.

What are electric cars like to drive?

Fun is the quick and simple answer. Whilst driving electric cars you can appreciate instant torque as well as a smooth and quiet experience.

Should I buy a used electric car?

Buying a used electric car is no bigger risk than buying a conventionally-powered used car.

The key difference is the battery, like mobile phone batteries the condition of the battery in an EV will gradually decline and eventually need replacing.

However, there are plenty of used car examples that have completed more than 100,000 miles; suggesting the life expectancy of a battery is pretty decent.

How far can electric cars go?

The distance electric cars can travel varies across models but here are some examples of the different all-electric ranges:

How long do electric car batteries last?

There is no exact answer to this question, however, the fact that the majority of manufacturers tend to offer an eight-year or 100,000 miles battery warranty would suggest they are pretty confident in the reliability of the batteries in electric cars.

Which electric car has the longest range?

Cars from the Tesla range offer an outstanding range, with the Model S boasting up to 408 miles.

Although Ford's first all-electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E, is able to travel up to 379 miles on a single charge, whilst the electric offering from Hyundai, the Kona Electric, also offers a decent range of up to 300 miles.

Do electric cars make good company cars?

Choosing an electric car as your company car can significantly reduce costs as the benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax is based on the car's purchase price and its CO2 emissions.

As you're already aware, electric cars produce zero CO2 emissions and therefore the BIK rate is considerably lower at just 1 percent for the 2021/22 tax year.

Are electric cars available on the Motability Scheme?

Yes, you can get an electric car on the Motability Scheme and here are some of the best options currently available.

Electric Van FAQs

What are the best electric vans?

Depending on your requirements, different vans suit different people or businesses. However, here are some of the best electric vans that are currently available to buy or lease.

How far can electric vans go?

Like with electric cars, the distance electric vans can travel varies considerably across the models so here are some examples:

Is payload compromised on electric vans?

As you would imagine payload was an issue due to the weight involved with electric technology.

However, the legal maximum gross vehicle weight for a standard UK driving licence has increased from 3.5 tonnes to 4.25 tonnes with electric vans.

Known as the alternative fuel payload derogation, this update allows electric vans to compare with diesel equivalents in terms of carrying ability.

Are servicing costs higher for electric vans?

This may come as a surprise but as a whole, electric vans should be cheaper to service than their diesel rivals.

This is due to having fewer moving components, no oil to change and no clutch to wear out.

Brake pads and discs should last longer too thanks to intelligent regenerative braking.

What are electric vans like to drive?

Quiet. Electric vans are far quieter at all speeds and you can appreciate resting your left leg, whilst driving in traffic jams, thanks to the absence of a clutch.

Find your perfect electric vehicle

Now you've discovered the benefits of an electric vehicle and understand how they work, perhaps you've decided an electric vehicle is the right vehicle for you.

Whether you're looking for a new car, used car, new van or used van; we have plenty of fully electric vehicles available from popular manufacturers such as Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Renault and many more.