Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longestRange anxiety – the fear of not making it to your destination without recharging – is a big concern for those buying an electric vehicle (EV). We’ve done the research and ranked 20 battery EVs currently on sale in order of range when fully charged.

It’s important to note that we are listing purely battery-powered vehicles here, so plug-in hybrids are not included. The range figures are from New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) tests. A new ‘WLTP’ test-cycle is well on the way to phasing out NEDC results, and thus some of the newest cars on this list have estimated range results. Prices quoted include government EV grants where relevant.

Renault Twizy – NEDC range: 62 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Is it a car? Well, technically the Renault Twizy is classed as a quadricycle, meaning it has to conform to limits on weight and power. Fitted with a 13kW (17hp) motor driving the rear wheels, the Twizy is capable of just 50mph. But being designed for city use suits it just fine, as does an NEDC range of 62 miles. Prices are also low, starting at £6,690, plus compulsory battery rental.

Citroen C-Zero – NEDC range: 93 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longestEssentially a rebadged version of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV – a car no longer sold in the UK – the C-Zero ups the power stakes to 49kW (67hp). The rear-mounted motor drives the back wheels, and is claimed to be capable of pushing the C-Zero to an 80mph top speed. Driving like that won’t help the 93-mile range, though. It costs from £16,020.

Peugeot iOn – NEDC range: 93 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Identical to the C-Zero in looks and powertrain, the Peugeot iOn also matches its 93-mile NEDC range. Similarly, it takes nine hours to charge from a domestic plug socket, but can be topped up to 50% capacity in just 15 minutes when connected to a rapid charger. The iOn costs £15,995 – big money for a car that has made only a small impact on the UK electric car market.

Volkswagen e-Up – NEDC range: 99 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Although Volkswagen is now fully embracing EVs, until very recently it chose to base electric cars on existing models. Out goes the regular petrol engine from the Up, and in comes a 60kW (82hp) electric motor powering the front wheels. Rapid charging will fill the 18.7kWh battery in just 30 minutes, and the e-Up enjoys a range of standard kit including parking sensors, cruise control and DAB radio. But, with a price of £21,140, this is a very expensive city car.

Smart EQ – NEDC range: 99 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

We’ve had the pleasure of little Smart cars on our roads for 20 years now. It seems like a car that should always have been electric-powered. As it happens, electric Smarts are available now, in three flavours no less: four-door ForFour, ForTwo Coupe and ForTwo Cabriolet. With less than 100 miles range, they’re not exactly long-distance haulers, but they’re certainly capable city cars. Pricey, though, with the ForTwo coupe kicking off the range from £20,920.

Volkswagen e-Golf – NEDC range: 144 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

It might look like a Golf but, as with the e-Up, this is anything but a normal VW underneath. There’s a 100kW (136hp) electric motor driving the front wheels, which makes the e-Golf capable of 0-62mph in mild-to-warm 9.6 seconds. The 214lb ft of torque also helps acceleration feel brisk, even if top speed is only 93mph. An NEDC range of 144 miles is just about reasonable, but the price is steep. The e-Golf starts from £32,730.

Morgan EV3 – NEDC range: 150 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

We’re still waiting on a finalised production version of this battery-powered Morgan 3 Wheeler, but it’s too cool not to include. Morgan claims the EV3 will have a range of 150 miles, along with the ability to hit 62mph in nine seconds and a top speed of 90mph. With a planned weight of less than 500kg, and packing a 20kWh battery, those figures are fully believable.

Kia Soul EV – NEDC range: 155 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

The Soul is a fairly unique looking vehicle to begin with, so Kia making it electric probably shouldn’t seem surprising. More startling is the price tag of £25,995. That represents a jump of more than £2,000 from the most expensive petrol-engined Soul, and makes this a direct competitor to premium rivals like the e-Golf. Notably, the EV still comes with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty like any other Kia model, which is a big deal in the EV world.

Nissan e-NV200 Combi – NEDC range: 174 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Ignore the fact it looks like a van, and that it even comes in van form. Nissan wants you to think of the e-NV200 Combi as an electric-powered people carrier. An ‘EVMPV’, if you will. With sliding rear doors, and seating for up to seven, it’s certainly one of the more practical ways to experience battery propulsion. The 0-62mph dash takes 14 seconds and top speed is just 76mph, but we doubt this is high on the list of priorities for any buyer – unlike the £30,480 list price.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric – NEDC range: 174 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

The Ioniq isn’t just one model. No, Hyundai has taken the path of building three versions of the same car: hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery EV. With an 88kW (120hp) motor, the Ioniq is one of the few lower-end models with a top speed exceeding 100mph – admittedly by just 3mph. It also features a Sport Mode, which drops the 0-62mph time to 9.9 seconds when engaged. Keenly priced at £25,745, the Ioniq shows the benefits of designing an EV from the ground up, rather than converting a conventionally-powered model.

BMW i3 42kwh – NEDC range: 225 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

If you want a motorsport-style carbon-fibre chassis, rear-wheel-drive and 19-inch alloy wheels, an electric car might not be your first choice. But those features are exactly what the BMW i3 offers, along with an NEDC range of 225 miles with the recently revised 42kWh battery pack. You’ll also get 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, funky ‘suicide’ rear doors and the benefit of a premium badge. Prices for the updated model haven’t been confirmed yet, but the starting list price for the 33kwh car was £27,880.

Nissan Leaf 40kWh – NEDC range: 235 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

From £25,190, you now get an NEDC range of 235 miles in the new 2018 Leaf. The updated looks are less apologetic, the cabin is much more attractive and the real world range of 150 miles is workable. The second-generation Leaf is a major step on indeed. The e-Pedal makes driving easier than ever, too, with regenerative deceleration calibrated such that normal braking is just a matter of lifting off. What’s more, a 60kWh version with even more range should be here soon.

Renault Zoe R110 ZE 40 – NEDC range: 250+ miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Fitted with the larger ZE 40 battery and now available with the new R110 motor, the Zoe can be charged from 0-80 percent in just 65 minutes via an appropriate charging station and will cover an NEDC-equivalent 250 miles – real world, that’s around 180 miles. The old Q90 motor is still available, although overall range is compromised slightly. The main question is whether you rent or buy the batteries. The former leaves a starting price of £18,420, the latter more than £24,000.

Mercedes-Benz EQC400 80kWh – NEDC range: 280 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Beating the Audi E-tron to the punch was the EQC crossover SUV from Mercedes-Benz. Packing a comparatively small 80kWh battery, on balance, the EQC’s 280-ish NEDC equivalent range is impressive. While not using all of its 400hp, you can expect around 250 miles of real-world driving. Price-wise it shouldn’t be too far north of £60,000 when it arrives in 2019. Expect a veritable tidal wave of EQ-branded electric models from Mercedes going forward.

DS 3 Crossback E-Tense – NEDC range: 280 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Fresh from its Paris Motor Show debut is the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. It’s the car that suggests an EV variant should be the norm. It packs a 50kWh battery and is good for an NEDC-rated 280-mile range. Not bad, but not quite up there with certain Korean rivals. It’s got French style on its side, though. No prices just yet, athough it shouldn’t cost much more than the Hyundai/Kia dream team…

Audi E-tron 95kWh – NEDC range: 300+ miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

The freshly-revealed Audi E-Tron is a relatively late entry to the EV market for a marque that’s been so publicly curious about electric power over the last decade. Still, better late than never. The E-tron looks promising to say the least. An official NEDC number hasn’t actually been quoted, but based on Audi’s 250-280-mile post-homologation estimates, that could reasonably see it past an NEDC-rated 300 miles. As well as that, you get up to 400hp and cameras instead of wing mirrors for your £71,000 or so. It marks the start of a 12-car Audi EV onslaught.

Jaguar I-Pace – NEDC range: 336 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

The Jaguar I-Pace has the Germans licked for now. Not only has it got to market months earlier, it also offers what seems to be superior range. While Audi and Mercedes are talking about between 250 and 280 miles of homologated range, Jag was there months ago with 280+ real-world miles or 336 miles on the NEDC cycle. Couple that with 400hp and startling looks to make the relatively humdrum Germans fade into the background and you’ve got a leader in this fledgling £60,000-£80,000 premium EV segment.

Tesla Model X P100D – NEDC range: 336 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

There are of course many variants in the Tesla range. The 90D Model X will get you 303 miles of NEDC driving. If you really need to make six passengers vomit profusely, but with the guilt-free feeling of using electric power, the Model X P100D is what you need. The ‘P’ stands for performance, and means a 100kWh battery pack mated to uprated electric motors. The result is a range of 336 miles, but a 0-60mph time of 2.9 seconds is the bigger party-trick for this £129,200 SUV.

Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh – NEDC range: 339 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Devoid of I-Pace levels of fanfare, Tesla levels of hype or E-tron levels of teasing, comes the humble circa-£30,000 Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh. It’s a silent revolution, obviously in terms of the powertrain but also in terms of fuss. It’s delivering premium EV range for half the price. You aren’t getting better range-per-pound anywhere else. There’s also a 40kWh model that manages an NEDC-rated 214 miles for around £5,000 less.

Kia e-Niro 64kWh – NEDC range: 339 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Borrowing much from its Hyundai Kona Electric sister car, the Kia e-Niro is just as impressive. A circa-£30,000 price point when the 64kWh model arrives seems tall for a Kia. However, as with the Hyundai, it’s I-Pace-beating range for half the price. If you value substance over style, these Korean EV twins rule the world right now.

Tesla Model S 100D Dual Motor AWD – NEDC range: 393 miles

Going the distance: electric car range from shortest to longest

Forgo the need to get ‘Ludicrous’ with your Model S and you can save £41,900 – and gain an additional 12 miles in NEDC range. The long-distance EV still achieves supercar-rivalling performance and, at present, offers the furthest you can go in an EV on a single charge. As with all the cars featured here, remember the NEDC range is purely for comparison purposes. Real-world figures will vary due to weather, driving style, and traffic conditions.

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Charging an electric car: everything you need to know

Charging an electric car: everything you need to know

Charging an electric car: everything you need to know

If estimates are to be believed, one million of us could be driving electric cars within the next four years. Like it or not, it’s probably time to consider whether an electric vehicle could work for you.

The actual process of driving an electric car is very simple. Many are very similar to petrol or diesels in the way that they drive albeit with an automatic transmission and instant torque. They generally feel more relaxing than equivalent petrols or diesels, but they can also offer surprising performance.

It’s recharging that’s a little more difficult. Rather than simply stopping at a petrol station and filling your car’s tank within a few minutes, charging an electric car can be a time-consuming process. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be difficult and, for many of us, it’s easy enough to fit it into our lives.

How do you charge an electric car?

Charging an electric car: everything you need to know

Think of charging an electric car the same as charging your phone. You can do it using a simple three-pin domestic plug socket, leaving it overnight for a fully-charged car when you wake up the next day.

Although it depends on your electricity supply, the specific car and, of course, how flat the batteries are, it typically takes around eight hours to charge an EV using a three-pin socket.

For faster charging, a professional can install a home charging point. This would normally cost around £1,000, but there’s currently a £500 government grant available for EV drivers. This can reduce charging times by up to 50 percent – meaning you can have a fully-charged EV in about four hours.

But that’s longer than filling up with petrol…

Charging an electric car: everything you need to know

True, most people don’t have four hours to waste waiting for their car to charge. But with the range of many electric cars (i.e. how far they will travel on a charge) now exceeding 200 miles, ask yourself how often you exceed that in one day? If your daily mileage is usually less than 200 miles, just charge your electric car at home overnight.

For those occasions when you do travel further afield, there are alternatives to charging at home. There’s a network of more than 14,000 chargers at around 5,000 different locations around the UK, with the number of fast and rapid chargers growing quickly.

Rapid chargers are usually found at motorway service stations. They can top an electric car up to 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes  ideal if you’re on a long journey and want to break it up with a coffee and a refill. They do cost, though, with Ecotricity (the firm that owns UK’s rapid charging network) implementing a £3 connection charge, plus 17p per unit of electricity used.

Alternatively, there are a number of slower public chargers available to use for free. These include more than 7,000 fast chargers, often found in shopping centres and supermarket car parks. These can charge an electric car in a couple of hours  perfect if you’re spending an afternoon shopping.

Tell me about charging networks

Charging an electric car: everything you need to know

Wouldn’t it be handy if there was a streamlined charging network around the UK? Several different companies run public chargers across the country, meaning you may need various different cards or methods to access them.

The best thing we did when we ran a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for six months was to obtain a Polar Plus card from Chargemaster. For £7.85 a month, this gave us access to more than 6,000 charging points across the UK. This live map showed us where we could use the card  including live information  and then all we had to do was swipe the card and plug in.

The majority of chargers at motorway service stations are operated by Ecotricity which, as we’ve mentioned, does charge you for a, er… charge. Tesla owners, meanwhile, can use the brand’s own Supercharger network.

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Renault Zoe

Electric cars: what you need to know

Renault Zoe

In a depressed new car market, electric cars are a rare beacon of hope for the carmakers. Year-to-date registrations are down 9.3%, but sales of alternative-fueled vehicles are up 41.0%.

Sales of pure electric cars are a significant factor, with registrations up 37.3% to 11,127 units by the end of September. All of which means electric cars are emerging from the shadows of petrol and diesel cars, switching from niche to mainstream.

The threat of anti-diesel legislation and concerns over public health have led to a backlash against diesel, which is fuelling a rise in the number of people considering an electric car. With this in mind, what do you need to know if you’re considering making the switch?

What is an electric car?

The electric vehicle is nothing new. In fact, electric cars date back to the late 19th and early 20th century, and electricity was once the dominant means of propulsion. For many people, the one and only experience of an electric vehicle is the sound of the milk float delivering fresh pints to our doorsteps.

But today’s electric cars are a far cry from the milkman’s chariot. The technology and infrastructure have moved on to such an extent, an EV makes practical sense for a large number of motorists.

An electric car is just that: a car that runs on electric power. An electric motor sources power from a battery, which can be recharged by plugging the car into a power source.

Is an electric car right for you?

As the technology moves on and the infrastructure continues to grow, there’s no doubt that an electric car is becoming a realistic prospect for a greater number of motorists. But there are some questions to be asked before you take the plunge.

Do you have access to a charging point?

Realistically, you’ll need to install a home charging point if you’re buying an electric car. The good news is that some manufacturers will offer a free charging kit as part of a finance package, while grants are available towards the cost of installing a charge point.

If you haven’t got access to a garage or parking space with access to a plug socket, an electric car will be a non-starter. Trailing a charging cable across a pavement is not a good idea, while carmakers advise against using an extension lead.

Alternatively, you could charge up at work, but if a charging point isn’t available at home or the office, we’d suggest an electric car isn’t for you. Not yet, anyway.

Daily commute

Once upon a time, 100 miles was the maximum range you could expect from an electric car, but cars like the Tesla Model S, and to a lesser extent, new versions of the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf are able to travel much further.

Even so, if your daily commute is further than 100 miles, we’d recommend a plug-in hybrid, rather than a pure electric vehicle. An EV is best suited for shorter commutes, trips to the station and predominantly urban use.

Budget

While you can buy a new petrol car for as little as £6,000, you’ll need to fork out at least £15,000 for an electric vehicle, and that’s before factoring in the cost of the battery.

And because EV technology is still relatively new, the used car market isn’t loaded with cheaper alternatives. More on this later.

Costs

Purchase price

Generally speaking, electric cars are more expensive to buy than their petrol or diesel counterparts, but the tide is shifting in favour of EVs. Taking the Renault Twizy quadricycle out of the equation, you’ll need to find at least £15,000 for a brand new electric car.

Looks good on paper, but be warned: the purchase price doesn’t necessarily include the battery, which will be leased on a monthly basis. For example, battery rental on the Renault Zoe costs from £49 to £110 per month, depending on spec and mileage. That adds between £588 and £1,320 a year.

You can purchase the battery outright on the Nissan Leaf, but it adds £5,000 to the purchase price, taking the cost of the cheapest Leaf 24kWh to £21,680. There are pros and cons associated with leasing or buying a battery – more on this later.

As a guide, these are the entry-level prices for electric cars on sale in the UK (correct as of October 2017):

Renault Twizy: £6,995
Renault Zoe: £14,245
Peugeot iOn: £15,995
Smart Fortwo Electric Drive: £16,420
Nissan Leaf 24kWh: £16,680
Nissan e-NV200: £19,403
Volkswagen e-Up: £20,780
Hyundai Ioniq: £24,995
Kia Soul: £25,495
Volkswagen e-Golf: £27,690
BMW i3: £29,570
Tesla Model 3: $35,000 (estimated)
Tesla Model S: £60,200
Tesla Model X: £66,000

Incentives

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Government Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG)

The prices listed above include the government’s Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG), which is currently set at 35% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of £4,500. To qualify for the maximum (Category 1) grant, vehicles must emit less than 50g/km CO2 and be able to travel at least 70 miles on electric power.

Scrappage discounts

The threat of anti-diesel legislation has prompted many carmakers into launching so-called scrappage schemes, designed to encourage the purchase of cleaner vehicles. The deals can be more lucrative on electric and hybrid cars.

For example, Volkswagen is offering £5,500 off the price of an e-Golf when you trade in an old diesel vehicle. The saving is £3,300 on the e-Up and is in addition to the government’s plug-in vehicle grant.

Under Nissan’s ‘Switch Scheme’, owners of cars built before 2010 can claim up to £5,000 on top of the car’s trade-in value if they agree for it to be exchanged. It means that the Nissan Leaf is more affordable than ever.

But there’s more because Nissan is also offering a discount on an approved-used Leaf. Buyers will receive up to £2,000 on top of the trade-in value and a special three-year, 3.9% APR PCP scheme to spread the payment. You could pay as little as £87 a month and receive a free home charging kit worth £279.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)

The new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) tax bands, introduced in April 2017, eliminated the zero-rate of tax for all but the cleanest of vehicles. In fact, only zero-emissions vehicles are exempt from paying any tax.

That said, all cars above £40,000 pay a £310 annual surcharge for five years starting in year two, which affects the rate of tax for the Tesla Model S and Model X.

London Congestion Charge/T-charge

The London Congestion Charge is a £11.50 daily charge for driving a vehicle within the charging zone between 7pm and 6pm, Monday to Friday. This fee can be reduced by £1 a day with Auto Pay, which costs £10 to register per vehicle.

But worse is to come for motorists entering London, with a new Toxicity Charge (T-charge) for older, more polluting vehicles. From 23 October 2017, vehicles that don’t comply with the Euro IV exhaust standard as a minimum will be charged £10 for entering central London.

This means that, in effect, all vehicles registered before 2006 will have to pay to enter central London, with the T-charge on top of the Congestion Charge. Electric cars are exempt from both fees: a potential saving of £21.50 a day.

The T-charge will be in force until the Ultra Low Emission Zone is introduced in 2019.

With politicians and local authorities seeking to clean up our urban areas, you can expect other towns and cities to follow the London lead. Soon, zero- or low-emissions cars might be the only vehicles welcome in city centres.

Buying a used electric car

With the electric car in its infancy, you’re not exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to buying a used EV. At the time of writing, only 744 of the 450,000 or so cars for sale on Auto Trader were electric, of which 696 were used or nearly new.

You’ll also need to factor in the cost of battery leasing, especially if buying a Renault electric vehicle, as 95% of the French firm’s EV product has a leased battery. Conversely, only 5% of Nissan Leaf product featured a battery purchased on a lease.

If the used electric car includes a battery purchased outright, there’s the worry of how well it keeps its charge. If the battery is past its best, the cost of replacement could be enormous, and as the car gets older, more than the vehicle is worth.

Battery: lease or purchase?

For most people, leasing a battery makes more sense, as it removes any concerns about resale value or battery life. The charging infrastructure and limited range mean that many electric cars cover limited miles and the tariffs tend to reflect this.

We’ve provided examples based on two versions of the Renault Zoe.

Renault Zoe 22kWh
Up to 4,500 miles: £49 per month
Up to 6,000 miles: £59 per month
Up to 7,500 miles: £69 per month
Up to 9,000 miles: £79 per month
Up to 10,500 miles: £89 per month

Renault Zoe Z.E 4.0
Up to 4,500 miles: £59 per month
Up to 6,000 miles: £69 per month
Up to 7,500 miles: £79 per month
Up to 9,000 miles: £89 per month
Up to 10,500 miles: £99 per month
Unlimited: £110 per month

Based on a three-year contract at 10,500 miles per annum, a Renault Zoe Expression Nav 22kWh will cost £14,245 to buy and £3,204 in battery hire, providing a total cost of £17,449. Bought outright, the cost would be £19,845.

When leasing, Renault will provide a battery performance guarantee to at least 75% of its original capacity. If it drops below 75%, Renault will repair or replace the battery. When buying outright, Renault will provide a guarantee of eight years or 100,000 miles, as well as guaranteeing the battery to at least 66% of its capacity.

Charging

Nissan Leaf charger

Charging an electric car can be done at home, at work or at a public charging point. According to Zap-Map, there are currently charging points at 4,887 different locations in the UK, providing a total of 7,535 devices and 13,971 connectors.

These figures are up from 4,003 devices and 10,839 connectors in November 2016, which proves that the infrastructure is catching up with demand. But the overall figure tells only half the story: what’s just as important is the type of charger available at any given location.

There are three types of charger available in the UK: Slow, Fast and Rapid. These can be summarised as follows:

Slow chargers (3kw)

As recently as five years ago this was the most common type of charging point in the UK, but today, the slow charger is in the minority. The clue is in the name: a full charge could take anything between six and 12 hours. Most electric cars are supplied with a charger allowing you charge using a standard 13-amp three-pin plug.

A slow charger is best reserved for charging overnight when at home or during the day at the office. A home charging point is recommended, with some carmakers incentivising purchases via a free home installation.

Fast chargers (7-22kw)

You’ll find fast chargers in supermarket car parks and shopping centres, or somewhere an electric car can be left for a more extended period of time. A 7kW charger will recharge an EV in 3-5 hours, while a 22kw charger could complete the job in less than a couple of hours.

Today, the fast charger is the most common charging point in the UK, with 7kW home chargers the norm for electric car households, especially those with 80-100A supplies.

Rapid chargers (43, 50 or 120kW)

A rapid charger can provide up to 80% of charge in just 20-40 minutes, making them ideally suited to motorway service stations. 

Chargemaster – the self-proclaimed ‘biggest name in electric vehicle charging’ – could install a charging point at your home within two weeks, with prices starting from £279 for a 3kW charger. Its entry-level Homecharge point is 60% faster than a 13A plug.

A 7kW charger is three times faster than a 13A plug and costs £354, while a 22kW charger – 10 times more rapid than a 13A plug – costs £1,200. The Homecharge points are suitable for indoor and outdoor use and covered by a three-year warranty.

Cost of charging

According to Pod Point, it’ll cost around £3.64 for a full charge when charging an electric car overnight at home. Assuming a typical range of 100 miles, that equates to less than 4p per mile.

Many public charging points remain free, although you’ll have to pay for rapid chargers, such as those found at motorway service stations. Similarly, while Tesla offers free access to its Supercharger network for Model S owners, it will introduce ‘pay per use’ charging on the Model 3.

Ecotricity claims that its electric vehicle charging network is the ‘most comprehensive in Europe’, featuring around 300 electric charging points. Each charging session costs 17p per kWh of electricity used, plus a £3 connection fee.

Polar – the UK’s largest EV charging network – provides access to 5,000 public charging points via a subscription service. The first three months’ membership is free, after which you pay £7.85 per month, which provides access to all charging points, 80% of which are free to use.

Pod Point suggests budgeting £6.50 for a 30-minute rapid charge at a motorway service station.

Range

The range you can expect from an electric car is dependent on the battery, the time of year and the style of driving. For example, the driving range will drop considerably in colder weather. Renault estimates up 186 miles in the summer and 124 miles in the winter for the Zoe Z.E. 40.

As an overview, here are the official New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) figures, as provided by the manufacturers. In all cases, you’re unlikely to achieve the claimed figures.

Peugeot iOn/Citroen C-Zero: 93 miles
Volkswagen e-Up: 93 miles
Smart Fortwo Electric: 96 miles
Nissan e-NV200: 106 miles
Nissan Leaf 24kWh: 124 miles
BMW i3: 124 miles
Kia Soul EV: 132 miles
Renault Zoe 22kWh: 149 miles
Nissan Leaf 30kWh: 155 miles
Hyundai Ioniq: 174 miles
Volkswagen e-Golf: 186 miles
BMW i3 33kWh: 195 miles
Tesla Model 3: 220-310 miles
Renault Zoe Z.E. 40: 250 miles
Tesla Model X 75D: 259 miles
Tesla Model S 75D: 304 miles
Tesla Model X P100D: 336 miles
Tesla Model X 100D: 351 miles
Tesla Model S P100D: 381 miles
Tesla Model S 100D: 393 miles

Servicing and maintenance

Electric car servicing

A pure electric car has three main components – the motor, the charger and the inverter – which meaning servicing and maintenance is much more straightforward and cheaper than on a petrol or diesel car.

Using data from KeeResources, Go Ultra Low published cost comparison information for electric cars versus their petrol and diesel equivalents. The data – based on four years and 60,000 miles – is quite telling:

BMW i3: £2,264.05 (total maintenance)
BMW 118d: £2,929.94
Cost saving for EV: £665.89

Hyundai Ioniq: £1,543.20
Hyundai Ioniq h-GDi: £2,120.88
Cost saving for EV: £577.68

Kia Soul EV: £1,203.57
Kia Soul GDI: £1,570.86
Cost saving for EV: £367.29

Volkswagen e-Golf: £1,730.69
Volkswagen Golf GTD: £2,965.29
Cost saving for EV: £1,234.60

In all cases, the cost-saving needs to be balanced with the initial outlay, which tends to be higher for an electric vehicle, but it proves that maintenance and servicing should be easier to manage.

Warranty

Electric vehicles typically have between five and eight years’ warranty on the electric motor and battery components. For the rest of the car, the length of warranty depends on the manufacturer – ranging from three years and 60,000 miles to seven years and 100,000 miles.

The battery guarantee will also depend on the manufacturer. For example, Renault will guarantee performance to at least 85% of its original capacity, or pay for repair or replacement, when you lease the battery. If you’re buying outright, the battery is covered for eight years or 100,000 miles, along with a performance guarantee to at least 66% of its original charge capacity.

As the technology improves, batteries are becoming more robust. Owners forums are a good place to discover real-world experiences of EV owners. For example, we discovered that a Tesla Model S will retain between 90 and 95% capacity, even after 93 miles. After 150,000 miles, only 15% capacity will have been lost.

Safety

Euro NCAP conducted the first crash test of an EV in 2011 when the Mitsubishi i-MiEV was awarded a four-star rating. Other EVs have since been tested, but it’s worth noting that a Euro NCAP test in 2017 is more rigorous than the equivalent test in 2011.

Here’s a list of pure electric vehicles tested by Euro NCAP, together with the date tested and star rating:

Five stars

Hyundai Ioniq (2016)
Tesla Model S (2014)
Renault Zoe (2013)
Nissan Leaf (2012)

Four stars

BMW i3 (2013)
Kia Soul EV (2014)
Citroen C-Zero (2011)
Peugeot iOn (2011)
Mitsubishi i-MiEV (2011)
Renault Fluence: 4 stars (2011)

Three stars

Nissan e-NV200: 3 stars (2014)

Latest electric car news

In what is seen as a significant step forward for electric cars in the UK, Shell is to install vehicle charging points at its petrol filling stations.

Drivers will be able to recharge 80% of their battery in 30 minutes at forecourts in London, Surrey and Derby, with a further 10 service stations to feature rapid chargers by the end of the year.

“There’s no doubt the electric vehicle market is developing fast. And we want to offer customers choice: it doesn’t really matter what kind of vehicle they’re driving, we want them to drive into a Shell station, refuel in whatever capacity the fuel is,” said Jane Lindsay-Green, future fuels manager at Shell UK.

Meanwhile, the government has introduced a bill to make electric charging points mandatory at large petrol stations and motorway service areas.

The Automated and Electric Vehicles bills will double the number of charging locations in the UK, leading to multiple points at some of the busiest areas.

Transport minister, John Hayes, said: “We want the UK to be the best place in the world to do business and a leading hub for modern transport technology, which is why we are introducing the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill in Parliament and investing more than £1.2 billion in the industry.

“This bill will aid the construction of greater infrastructure to support the growing demand for automated and electric vehicles as we embrace this technology and move into the future.”

NEXT> The best value new electric cars for 2017

Britain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

Britain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

Britain’s most wanted hybrid and electric carsWhen you clambered out of bed this morning, were you desperately hoping to discover what were Auto Trader’s most viewed electric and hybrid adverts in 2016? If so, we bring good news, as here are the answers, kicking off with the most viewed hybrids, presented in reverse order. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

10. Honda Civic HybridBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

Remember the Honda Civic Hybrid? Probably not, because it lived in the shadow of the more popular Toyota Prius, but it makes a terrific used buy. The Mk2 is powered by the 1.3-litre engine from the Honda Jazz, which works with an electric motor to deliver the economy of a 1.1-litre car and the performance of a 1.6. Prices range from £1,250 to £6,000.

9. Lexus GS 450hBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

The petrol-electric 450h is the flagship of the Lexus GS range, powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine mated to a CVT transmission. New, you’ll spend upwards of £52,995 on a GS 450h, but used prices start at £4,000. That’s an awful lot of car for the money.

8. Mercedes-Benz E-ClassBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

Whether you’re looking at a used E300 diesel-hybrid or a brand new E350e petrol-hybrid, the Mercedes-Benz is a popular search on Auto Trader. The new E350e plug-in hybrid pairs a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with an electric motor to deliver CO2 emissions of just 49g/km. Prices start from £45,510.

7. Lexus RX 400hBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

The Lexus RX 400h arrived in 2005 and immediately struck a chord with eco-conscious SUV drivers. The petrol-electric version of the RX paired a 3.3-litre V6 engine with an electric motor to deliver best-in-class fuel economy and brisk performance. Used prices range from £4,000 for a high-miler to £14,000 for a more recent example. These things are very good at holding their value.

6. Lexus IS 300hBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

Lexus’ near dominance of the hybrid sector continues with the IS 300h. New, you’ll spend £29,995 on the entry-level IS 300h SE, and in return you’ll see CO2 emissions of 97g/km and a claimed 67.2mpg. Used prices start from around £12,000.

5. BMW i8Britain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

We take a break from this Lexus party to bring you a slice of the future. Thanks to its supercar-styling, the BMW i8 is the poster child of the hybrid sector, with a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor combining to create a total system output of 357hp. New, you’ll pay upwards of £104,660, while used prices start from a not unreasonable £60,000.

4. Toyota Auris HybridBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

Meanwhile, back in the real world… A Toyota Auris Hybrid will set you back at least £20,895, and in return you could see up to 80.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 79g/km. The Auris Hybrid pairs a 1.8-litre petrol engine with an electric motor, and while it’s not the most exciting car on the planet, it does a reasonable job of protecting it. It should be reliable, too.

3. Lexus RX 450hBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

We return to Lexus, where we find the RX making its second appearance. The current RX is available with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine in the form of the 200t, but the 450h petrol-hybrid is far more interesting. The 3.5-litre V6 engine and electric motor combine to deliver 262hp, whilst delivering CO2 emissions of just 120g/km. Other SUVs are available, but we doubt any will be as dependable as a Lexus RX.

2. Lexus CT 200hBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

The self-proclaimed “world’s first full hybrid luxury compact” is the most affordable entry point into the Lexus brand and a rival to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, BMW 1 Series and Audi A3. It’s not as exciting as Lexus would have you believe, but it is well equipped and should be reliable. Prices start from £22,495.

1. Toyota PriusBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

So here it is: the most popular hybrid on Auto Trader. We’re offering no prizes if you guessed that the Toyota Prius would be sitting at the top of the hybrid tree as it has become the near brand generic for eco cars. You can pick up a really early Prius for around a grand, while new prices start from £24,100.

Top 10 electric carsBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

So that’s the top 10 most viewed hybrids on Auto Trader in 2016, but what about electric cars? Read on to discover the most popular EVs…

10. Mitsubishi i-MiEVBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV was one of the first all-electric cars to be available in the UK, but sales suffered from a high price tag, buyer apathy and a relatively small real-world range of 80-100 miles. New, you’d have paid around £30,000 for this pioneering EV, although the price was later reduced. Only one used i-MiEV is for sale and it could be yours for £5,500.

9. Peugeot iOnBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

The Peugeot iOn is essentially a rebadged version of the i-MiEV but, crucially, it’s still available to buy new. The price is a not unreasonable £15,995 and Peugeot claims you could drive up to 93 miles on a full charge. The game has moved on, which is why the i-MiEV, iOn and Citroen C-Zero were never big sellers.

8. Volkswagen e-GolfBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

Take a wander through the streets of London and you’ll spot countless Volkswagen e-Golfs charging by the roadside. Right now, you can buy the all-electric Golf for £275 per month after a deposit of £7,034.77.

7. Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric DriveBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

Alternatively, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is available for £299 per month after a £2,999 deposit and £7,194.57 dealer contribution. The Electric Drive will sprint to 62mph in 7.9 seconds and offers a range of up to 124 miles.

6. Renault FluenceBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

The Renault Fluence was a short-lived EV available in the UK from 2012 to 2013. New, you’d have paid £17,850 after a £5,000 government grant, but that price didn’t include the cost of leasing the battery from Renault. Something to factor in if you’re thinking of spending between £3,000 and £4,000 on a used Fluence.

5. Renault TwizyBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

The Renault Twizy: there’s quite literally nothing else like it on the road. It’s a bit of a hard sell in the UK, not least because you have to pay extra for the doors! Prices start from £6,690, but you’ll need to factor in the cost of battery hire, of which prices range from £45 to £67 a month, depending on mileage and length of contract.

4. Renault ZoeBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

And so to the ‘big four’ of the electric car world, starting with this: the Renault Zoe. The popular EV has recently been updated and now offers an NEDC range of 250 miles, with real-life estimates of 186 miles in the summer and 124 miles in the winter. Prices start from £13,995 after the government grant, but you’ll need to find at least £59 per month for the ZE 40 battery hire.

3. BMW i3Britain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

In standard form the BMW i3 offers a range of up to 125 miles, or 206 miles if you opt for the Range Extender model. It’s currently available from £269 a month after a £3,999 initial rental. Alternatively, used prices start from around £15,000.

2. Nissan LeafBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

The Nissan Leaf is available in two configurations: a Leaf 24kWh offering 124 miles of range, and a Leaf 30kWh offering 155 miles. That said, as in all electric vehicles, you’ll need to drive with care in order to achieve these targets. Right now, Nissan is offering a Leaf Tekna 24kWh for £199 per month with a £1,000 Nissan deposit contribution. The offer includes free insurance and servicing.

1. Tesla Model SBritain’s most wanted hybrid and electric cars

Visit the Tesla website and you’ll find a very handy range calculator. Adjust the speed, outside temperature, size of wheels to discover the impact they have on the real-world range. Thanks to a network of Superchargers and a realistic range, the Model S makes EV ownership a realistic proposition. It doesn’t come cheap, mind.

The best value new electric cars for 2017

The best value new electric cars for 2017

The best value new electric cars for 2017Electric car sales are growing year-on-year, by double-digit amounts. As concerns over city centre emissions grow, and the threat of penalties for combustion engines grows (diesel cars are particularly vulnerable here), many are now looking at electric vehicles (EVs) in a new light.

So is this the year to go electric?

Of course, traditionally, high-tech electric cars have not been cheap. Enter the government’s Plug-in-Car Grant. On electric cars with a range of at least 70 miles, this is worth £4,500 off the recommended retail price (the prices listed here are all pre-Plug-in Car Grant). List prices themselves are also becoming more affordable as sales gain critical mass.

Incremental improvements in battery technology are also stretching the range enough to make them a genuine option for most people. In the early days of EVs, you’d struggle to get 100 miles from a full charge. Now, you can get well over 150 miles from some models, and one real-world choice now claims a 250-mile range. The compromise-free EV is almost here.

In such a fast-growing sector, which are the models you should be looking at? Here, we’ve picked out 10 of the most significant EVs, and ranked them. We’ve also included key specs for driving range, battery size and price. All have their zero-emissions strengths, but some are better than others – particularly when you factor in range and price.

Hyundai IoniqThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 174 miles

Battery size: 28kWh

Price: £28,995 (Premium)

The fresh-faced Hyundai Ioniq is a car available in three flavours: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full EV. Here, we’re looking at the pure electric Ioniq, which is priced from an affordable £28,995. The claimed range is up to 174 miles, which is more than the class-leading Nissan Leaf. Hyundai’s five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty is extended further for the electric bits here – they’re covered for eight years and 125,000 miles.

Renault ZoeThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 250 miles

Battery size: 41kWh

Price: £28,695 (i-Dynamique Nav Rapid Charge)

The Renault Zoe is a supermini electric car that’s both brilliant and badly flawed in equal measure. The brilliant bit is the stupendous range of this Z.E.40 model – a new 41kWh battery has stretched it to a Tesla-like 250 miles. But then, Renault has long eradicated the consumer appeal of this with its silly battery hire scheme, meaning you have to fork out £70 a month on top of the list price (or finance cost). The i-branded models cure this by including the battery in the asking price. Trouble is, they mean the asking price of this small EV is the same as the more-family-sized Ioniq EV…

Nissan LeafThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 155 miles

Battery size: 30kWh

Price: £30,290 (Acenta 30kWh)

The first mass-market electric car on sale in Britain is getting on a bit these days, but is a deservedly familiar sight. It was enhanced a little while ago with a larger-capacity 30kWh battery, taking the range up to 155 miles. That’s an improvement on the old 24kWh car, and will give existing owners a nice upgrade come trade-in time. It’s also built in Britain, for patriotic appeal. These days, it’s not the class-leader in terms of range or ability, but it’s still competitive.

BMW i3The best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 195 miles

Battery size: 33kWh

Price: £32,330 (94Ah)

The ultra-clever BMW i3 looks like nothing else, is made from lightweight carbon fibre and is a Tardis-like car that still drives like a real BMW. Trouble is, it’s perhaps a bit too quirky for some; what works in trendy parts of London might not quite be so appealing in rural Dorset. This 2017 model does have a big new battery, though – taking the range up to nearly 200 miles. And the car’s clever engineering means you stand a decent chance of achieving that, too.

Volkswagen e-GolfThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 118 miles

Battery size: 24.2kWh

Price: £31,680

There’s a facelifted Volkswagen e-Golf coming soon, but we’re still recommending this one if you’re able to strike a sharp deal with a retailer. It doesn’t have the biggest battery or the largest range in the family class, but it’s still a Golf, and that counts for a lot. It’s nice to drive and will always sell on for decent money. A few thousand pounds off will solve the issue of that list price, too…

Kia Soul EVThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 132 miles

Battery size: 27kWh

Price: £29,995

The quirky Kia Soul EV is an electric car that’s a bit different. Probably too different for many, but early adopters who like to stand out might love it. The range is decent and it’s extremely practical inside for five, while a fulsome level of standard kit means you shouldn’t feel short-changed by the sub-£30k list price.

Tesla Model S 60The best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 253 miles

Battery size: 60kWh

Price: £65,680 (Model S 60)

We have to include the mighty Tesla Model S here, despite even the basic car costing a whopping £65,000. That’s because it’s a genuine luxury car that’s shaken up the electric car market ever since its launch. The range is long, performance is stupendous and the interior, dominated by that famous touchscreen, is superb. Pity new car buyers no longer get free charges from the ever-growing Supercharger network.

Volkswagen e-UpThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 99 miles

Battery size: 18.7kWh

Price: £25,280

Volkswagen has recently facelifted the little e-Up. Frankly, while able, it’s a bit too expensive for what it is: a tiny city car with a sub-100-mile range. The Plug-in Car Grant helps, but it’s still more than £20k – you can get a petrol-engined Up for less than £10k. Despite this, it’s a likeable and able car that drives well and serves as a nice introduction to electric motoring.

Renault TwizyThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 62 miles

Battery size: 6.1kWh

Price: £6,895 (Expression)

One of the cheapest cars on sale in Britain is also a fully-electric one. The Twizy is rather compromised, of course: it’s a quadricycle, so doesn’t meet the same standards of refinement (or, as Euro NCAP pointed out, crash safety) as a normal car. The range is also just 62 miles, and it’s so slow, it can’t even clock a 0-60mph time because it can’t reach 60mph. Still, for those who want a cheap electric car runabout they can park anywhere, it’s still worth a look.

Smart edThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 99 miles

Battery size: 17.2kWh

Price: TBC

One of the freshest EVs on the UK new car market is the soon-to-be-launched Smart ed range. Because we don’t yet have prices, we can’t yet fully judge its competitiveness – but the range is looking OK for a city car and the manoeuvrability of the Fortwo two-seater is peerless. There’s now even a Forfour ed for those who need a city-friendly five-door four-seater.

Go Ultra Low reports rising EV sales in the UK

Electric car sales still growing fast in UK

Go Ultra Low reports rising EV sales in the UKElectric and plug-in car sales grew by almost a third in the first half of 2016, with registrations of over 19,200 British EVs setting yet another British electric car high.

It seems things are picking up as the months tick on, too: in the last quarter, sales were up 38%.

The latest figures mean electric and plug-in car sales have grown for 22 months in a row. Best-sellers include the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Motoring Research is running as a long-termer, plus the Nissan LEAF (still Britain’s best-selling full EV) and newer entrants such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class PHEV.

The government Plug-in Car Grant is helping drive EV growth, say analysts. Almost 70,000 electric-capable cars have now been sold through the Plug-in Car Grant since it was introduced in 2011.

The latest iteration of the scheme offers buyers of sub-50g/km models with an EV range of at least 70 miles an allowance of £4,500; those with lesser ranges, or emissions between 50-75g/km, get £2,500 off the car’s list price.

The Go Ultra Low organisation said government support “has been crucial to driving the success of electric vehicles in the UK”. But it’s not just the Plug-in Car Grant; on top of it are “tax benefits that could be worth thousands over the life of the car such as the lowest rates of Vehicle Excise Duty and company car tax, as well as support for home and public charging infrastructure”.

Transport Minister John Hayes said: “The low-emission sector supports over 18,000 UK jobs and is a key pillar in our ambition for a low carbon, high tech and high skills economy.”

He also reiterated the UK’s ambitious pledge for green cars in the future. “We want to make the UK a world leader in electric vehicle uptake and manufacture, to ensure that by 2050 every car and van on our roads is a zero emission vehicle.”

BMW 740e 740Le xDrive 2016

BMW 740e plug-in hybrid does 134.5mpg and costs £68,330

BMW 740e 740Le xDrive 2016The new BMW 740e plug-in hybrid has become the most fuel-efficient 7 Series ever, with combined economy of 134.5mpg despite offering 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds potency.

The PHEV also boasts CO2 emissions of just 49g/km – giving it an ultra-low 7% Benefit In Kind tax rating for company car drivers. Combined with a list price from £68,330, this may make it extremely attractive to fleet car operators.

Provided, that is, BMW can secure enough UK supplies of it…

The BMW 740e drivetrain combines a 258 hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a 112 hp electric motor for a total system power of 326 hp. There’s ample torque of 386 lb-ft as well.

BMW 740e 740Le xDrive 2016

A high-capacity 9.2kWh lithium ion battery is necessary to power the system (and provide up to 29 miles of full EV driving); it’s stored under the rear seat but doesn’t take up too much room – the boot is still 420 litres.

BMW also offers a long-wheelbase all-wheel drive version, the 740Le xDrive: this costs £74,880, and is 0.1 seconds faster to 62mph (thank you, all-wheel drive traction), although economy drops to 117.7mpg and CO2 is up to 54g/km (costing fleet drivers an extra 4% on their tax bill).

BMW 740e 740Le xDrive 2016

The 740e compares well with the 730d that takes the bulk of UK sales: that costs from £63,530, averages 60.1mpg and emits 124g/km CO2 for a much, much steeper 24% BIK company car tax bill.

The firm is trading the new 7 Series plug-in hybrid models as part of the BMW iPerformance range, which already includes the X5 eDrive40e, 225xe and BMW 330e. Both the ultra-clever 740e and 740Le xDrive, which are marked out by their battery charge point in the left front wing, eDrive badges on the C pillars, BMW i logo on the front side panels and BMW i Blue bits for the kidney grille, are on sale now.

Busted: top five electric car myths

Busted: top five electric car myths

Busted: top five electric car myths

What’s stopping you buying an electric car? With ultra-low emission electric and plug-in hybrid car sales booming within the last year, the AA reckons we could be on the verge of a ‘tipping point’ – with half a million expected to be on the roads by 2020.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2016): long-term review

But many of us are continuing to snub electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Why is that? The AA has teamed up with charging experts Chargemaster to dispel the top five myths surrounding electric car ownership.

1: Electric cars costs too much (82% concerned)

Apparently 82% of those surveyed are put off by the high purchase price of an electric car. They are more expensive than conventional petrol and diesel cars, but savings are available. Government grants slash up to £4,500 off the list price of a new electric car, with the Renault Zoe starting at £13,945 (although battery hire is charged on top of that).

Impressive lease deals are available – and electric cars have been around long enough for them to start cropping up at tempting prices in the classifieds. You can buy a three-year-old Renault Zoe or a more practical Nissan Leaf from around £5,000.

2: Availability of public charging points (81% concerned)

2: Availability of public charging points (81% concerned)

This is a chicken and egg situation – as more of us buy electric cars, more public charging points will pop up. Currently, Chargemaster says 4,000 publicly accessible charge points are available through its scheme – with a further 500 to be added this year. Ecotricity has fast electric chargers at almost every UK motorway service station.

3: Time taken to offset higher purchase price through fuel and taxation savings (68% concerned)

Although we’ve said that electric cars are more expensive to buy than conventionally-fuelled vehicles, you will save some money through their low running costs. But 68% say they don’t think those running costs will offset the higher purchase price quick enough.

Of course, it depends on your personal circumstances, but you might be surprised how much money running an electric car can save. For a start, you won’t pay road tax and company car drivers will save money on benefit in kind (BIK) tax. If you drive into London regularly, you could save a fortune on the congestion charge – and EVs usually get free parking while charging, saving you money if you regularly pay and display.

4: Durability of battery (65% concerned)

4: Durability of battery (65% concerned)

Replacing a battery could be a huge cost in electric car ownership, so prospective buyers are right to be concerned about the cell’s lifespan. The AA says that batteries in older EVs are aging better than expected, however, and a number of manufacturers are now offering warranties of around eight years on batteries in new EVs.

5: Limited range (59% concerned)

You can refuel some diesel cars and not have to visit a petrol station for at least 600 miles, while some electric cars have a real-life range as short as 60 miles. But how far do you really need to travel on a charge? National statistics suggests that 95% of car journeys are under 25 miles – and a third of UK households have two or more cars. Using an electric car everyday is a very realistic proposition for most of us, then – just use a second car (or hire one) for that occasional journey to the in-laws.

As battery technology progresses, the realistic range of electric cars are getting longer, and the AA says that it expects 200 miles from a single charge to be the norm within two years. You can already expect a Tesla Model S to cover 250 miles from a charge, while plug-in hybrids are available with a petrol engine as back-up for when you run out of electric juice.

The partnership between AA and Chargemaster brings a number of advantages to members and electric car owners, to help make ownership easier and more appealing. These include discounts on Chargemaster membership, enabling access to its chargers for £7.85 a month, and a programme to install charge points at AA-rated hotels.

Toyota and Lexus recalls 72,885 hybrid models in the UK

Toyota and Lexus recall 72,885 hybrid cars in the UK

Toyota and Lexus recalls 72,885 hybrid models in the UK

More than 70,000 Toyota Prius, Auris and Lexus CT 200h models are being recalled in the UK – after the company discovered a fault that could result in petrol being leaked from the fuel tank.

In a statement released today, the firm said: “The subject vehicles are equipped with an evaporative fuel emissions control unit (canister) mounted in the fuel tank.

“There is a possibility that cracks could develop in the coating of the emissions channel due to improper shaping of portions of the channel. As a result of this condition, the cracks could expand over time and, eventually, fuel may leak from these cracks when the vehicle has a full tank of petrol.”

The firm, which has issued a number of safety recalls over recent years, insists it hasn’t received any reports of accidents, injuries or fatalities connected to the issue.

It affects Toyota Prius, Auris and Lexus CT200h models built between April 2006 and August 2015. Owners can find out if their car is affected by inserting its registration number into Toyota’s website.

For all involved vehicles, Toyota and Lexus dealers will replace the canister with an improved one free of charge. The work should take two to three hours.

In a further recall, the company is also warning that 34,135 Toyota Prius and Lexus CT200h models in the UK also need to be returned to their dealer after a fault with curtain airbags emerged.

Toyota said: “The involved vehicles are equipped with curtain shield airbags in the driver and passenger side roof rails that have airbag inflators composed of two chambers welded together. Some inflators could have a small crack in the weld area joining the chambers, which could grow over time, and lead to the separation of the inflator chambers.

“This has been observed when the vehicle is parked and unoccupied for a period of time. If an inflator separates, the CSA could partially inflate, and, in limited circumstances, one or both sections of the inflator could enter the interior of the vehicle. If an occupant is present in the vehicle, there is an increased risk of injury.”

All vehicles subject to the recall were manufactured between October 2008 and August 2012. To rectify the fault, dealers will install retention brackets on the curtain shield air bag inflators. The repair will take approximately two to four hours.

The company says that, so far, it is not aware of any injuries or fatalities related to the issue.

Lexus hybrid

Lexus hybrid landmark: 1 million sales and counting

Lexus hybridLexus has just sold its 1 millionth hybrid vehicle, 11 years after deciding to steer its focus away from diesel in favour of the green petrol-electric tech.

Today, Lexus is known as the premium hybrid car brand, particularly in Western Europe where a staggering 95% of its new car sales are hybrid.

And Lexus is clearly proud of selling so many hybrids: Head of Lexus Europe Alain Uyttenhoven travelled to Italy to help hand over the 1 millionth hybrid Lexus, an NX300h bought by first-time Lexus buyer Aldo Piranello.

The Milanese admits he was “surprised to hear that I was the buyer of the one millionth hybrid Lexus and I am honoured to help celebrate this important milestone.”

Lexus isn’t going to step back on its hybrid plans any time soon. Tokyo Fukuichi, president of Lexus International, confirmed “the hybrid powertrain continues to be our signature powertrain.

“We have set ambitious environmental goals for 2050 and the popularity of hybrid worldwide is extremely important for us in achieving these goals.”

It’s quite a turnaround, and quite a statement of success, for Lexus: just a few years back, some were still questioning why the brand focuses on hybrid at the expense of diesel. That was, of course, pre-dieselgate and before there was so much public awareness of risky NOx levels in city centres…

Lexus hybrid sales – in numbers

Lexus says the UK is one of its strongest European markets and, to the end of 2015, 65,246 hybrid Lexus have been sold here – including Motoring Research’s popular and eye-opening old IS 300h long-term test car.

In total, North America has taken 345,500 hybrid Lexus, Europe has bought 237,500 and Japan has taken 225,000. China and Hong Kong have to date bought less than 100,000, but this is growing fast – last year alone, more than 21,000 were sold…

And the most popular hybrid Lexus? The RX, with 335,000 global sales to the end of 2015. Next up, surprisingly, is the CT, followed by the U.S.-specific ES and HD, then the NX, GS, IS and LS.