Thinking about switching to an Electric car? If you’re new to the world of electric and hybrid cars, our simple guide below will help to answer all of your questions
What is a battery electric car?
A battery electric vehicle is better for the environment than a petrol or diesel car, cheaper to run, and simple to own. Like the sound of that? Our simple guide can tell you more.
How does a battery electric vehicle work?
In simple terms, energy is stored in a large battery, which drives a powerful electric motor. Easy. To charge it, simply plug it into a home chargepoint, or a public charger when you’re out and about, and the car will take care of the rest. Plug it in at home, and you wake up every morning with a ‘full tank’* – in the case of the e-Niro, that’s a potential 282-mile range! The car then drives on battery power alone, there is no need to add petrol or diesel. It can even add charge to the battery while you are driving by recovering energy that would normally be lost – when braking for example.
What is a hybrid or self-charging hybrid car?
Hybrid cars can offer you improved fuel economy and lower emissions, without the need to change how you use your vehicle. No plugging in required.
How does a self-charging hybrid car work?
In terms of how you use it, a self-charging hybrid car works just like a conventional car – there is no need to plug in – simply fill up with petrol at the pumps, and off you go! So what does hybrid mean? It’s pretty simple, along with a petrol or diesel engine, hybrid cars also have an electric motor that is powered by a small battery. The aim of the electric motor is to assist the engine and occasionally drive very short distances on battery power – as opposed to driving long distances on battery power alone as a plug-in hybrid or a battery-electric vehicle would.
The battery is charged by recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted – when slowing down for example. The battery then feeds this energy to the electric motor to help with acceleration or to drive the car at low speeds. This means lower emissions, better fuel economy and more money to spend on the things you enjoy. Great!
What is a Plug-in Hybrid car?
Plug-in hybrid cars can offer you many of the benefits of an electric car, they have a shorter electric range but can rely on a petrol motor for longer trips.
How does a plug-in hybrid car work?
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) works in a similar way to a self-charging hybrid– there is a petrol engine that works with an electric motor and a battery. In a plug-in hybrid, the battery is much larger than in a self-charging hybrid. This means the car is able to travel around 30 miles on battery power alone – more than enough for the UK average daily commute – but it can also call on the petrol engine for longer trips.
Like a self-charging hybrid, the battery can be charged a little while driving, but for the full benefit, you will need to plug in. Charging a PHEV should take less than three hours. Put this all together and you can enjoy miles of low-cost, all-electric driving while still having a petrol engine for those rare long distance trips. Perfect.
What is a mild hybrid car?
Mild Hybrids allow your engine to switch off more frequently, which improves fuel economy and reduces emissions.
How does a mild hybrid car work?
A mild hybrid car works in a very similar way to a self-charging hybrid car, but it has a smaller battery. Because the battery is smaller, a mild hybrid cannot drive on battery power alone – unlike a self-charging hybrid in which the motor can take over at low speed or when cruising.
Instead, the petrol or diesel engine does the majority of the work and the electric motor is there to provide assistance. This means the engine doesn’t have to work as hard, which means lower emissions and increased fuel economy. The battery is charged by recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted – when slowing down for example. There is no need to plug-in a mild hybrid, simply keep it topped up with petrol or diesel as you would with a conventional car.
How does charging work?
Don’t worry, charging may seem like a whole new world, but in reality it’s very simple
How do you charge a hybrid or electric car?
Hybrid and electric cars are most commonly charged at home, but can be charged at work, or at thousands of public chargers, such as at supermarkets or service stations. You can find out a bit more about how each works below.
What is the cost of running an electric car?
Owning an electric car is cheaper than you might think
How much does an electric car cost?
That depends on which one you buy, but whichever you choose, there are some government incentives that make it cheaper to buy a new EV. There is a government grant for electric cars called the Plug-in Car Grant – this reduces the price of a battery electric vehicle by £3,500. So a new Kia e-Niro – WhatCar?’s Car of the Year 2019 – costs just £32,995 after the £3,500 grant. There is also a £500 homecharge grant to help you with the cost of a home charger.