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Everything You Need to Know About Electric Vehicles.

We are all familiar with traditional cars, most of us will have taken our driving test and be used to driving petrol or diesel engine vehicles, therefore we know who they operate and are used to simple things such as filling up with fuel at the local petrol station.

When it comes to electric vehicles we have to learn a whole load of new terminology and understand a lot more about this new technology.

The Cost of Motoring

The first thing you should understand is that driving an electric vehicle is considerably more cost effective than driving a fossil fuel vehicle. There are a number of reasons why this is the case.

Buying a New EV

On the face of it, a new electric vehicle is more expensive than a traditional powertrain. However, there are strong incentives for changing from fossil fuels to renewable energy driven transport. To this end, the Government have implemented the plug-in electric car grant, which offers grants to reduce the cost of a range of electric vehicles

The maximum funding available for cars is £3,500 and £8,000 for zero emissions vans. This is up to 35% of the purchase price of the vehicle and brings the purchase price in line with similar vehicles on the market.

Running Costs

The cost of fuel is increasing, every time you visit the petrol station you will find the cost per litre is higher, per mile the difference between an electric car and a traditional one is quite large. On average the cost per mile for an electric car is 4p whereas a traditional vehicle would cost 12p per mile.

On this basis, if you were to use the vehicle only for commuting the average distance for the UK, you would save almost £500 per year.

Tax

Road tax in the UK ranges from £105 to £2.070 per year based on the emissions rating for your vehicle. Zero emissions vehicles carry zero tax. Therefore, again, electric motoring is the most cost effective.

Company Car Tax

If you drive a company car, you will have additional tax costs. These taxes, known as ‘benefit in kind’ are paid by employees who receive benefits on top of their usual salary, such as using a company car for private use.

Benefit in kind is calculated using the CO2 emissions produced by the vehicle with the amount of CO2 produced per kilometre fitting into individual bands based on emission ranges. The amount paid by the individual is then determined by the list price of the car, combined with the employee’s personal tax rate.

So for example the method for calculating the tax paid is as follows, for the 3 Series BMW if we consider a cost price of £30,000 and an emissions rate of 124g/Km CO2 for a higher rate tax payer:

Company Car List price £30,000

Multiply by the tax rate

(120-124g/Km band) 28%

Multiple by your personal tax rate 40%

Annual Tax payment £3,360

It equates to an additional tax bill of almost £300 deducted from your pay packet each month for a relatively mid-range vehicle. It is not inconceivable to have a monthly tax bill of over £1,000 and the average fees for executive drivers is over £600 per month. Again, zero emissions vehicles do not attract benefit in kind taxation.

Emissions And Congestion Costs

More and more cities are starting to implement low emission and congestion charges. These are fees where drivers are required to pay to enter the central zone, in addition to this there are additional charges for vehicles with a higher emission rating.

Here are the total costs for an average executive saloon for one month in Central London.

 Petrol EngineEV
Benefit in Kind£600£0
Low Emissions Zone Charging£720£0
Congestion Charge£345£0
Vehicle Excise Fund£180£0
Fuel 1,000 miles driven on average costs£410£40
Average Monthly Cost£2,255£40

That is a total of £27,060 per year, just to get around and drive in a major city if you decide to stick with a fossil fuel vehicle.

Charging Your Vehicle

Understanding Range

The range for your electric vehicle is the number of miles your vehicle can charge on a full charge and how many miles you have remaining at anytime. Battery capacity, and therefore the vehicle range has been increasing over time. Today you can purchase vehicles which have a range between 150 and 300 miles.

People worry they will not be able to go on a long journey or that they will run out of power and have to wait hours to recharge. Both of these concerns are somewhat outdated.

Firstly we need to understand how most of us use our cars, Department of Transport research shows 67% of us use our cars mostly for short range commuting and for short, local journeys. We generally go to the office and back, and maybe trips out to the shops or for entertainment. Whereas we do sometimes go on longer journeys, this, for many of us, is not the norm.

If you look at the battery range available on most electric vehicles available on the market you will find that they can easily do the weekly commute on a single charge.

Therefore, if you were to trickle charge your car at home overnight or at your place of work, you would always have a full range available.

For longer journeys there are networks of fast charge points available which can top up a vehicle to 80% capacity in as little as thirty minutes, so while you take a break on a longer journey and enjoy a coffee and a rest, you can charge your car for minimal cost.

Home Charging

To get the full benefit of your vehicle it is best to install a home charge point which allow you to maintain your car’s charge when it is not in use. Again there are Government grants available, to reduce the cost of installation of a charge point at your home. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme offers up to £500 discount on charge point installations.

Our partner Electric Vehicle Charge Point Quotes (EVCPQ) can offer professional, accredited and guaranteed charge point installation including the Homecharge scheme grant.

Having your own charging point will allow you to ensure that your vehicle is always fully charged and ready to go. There are a number of decisions to be made when it comes to selecting a charge point and the team at EVCPQ will help you select a charge point which is best suited for your needs.

Charge points can range from a simple standalone charge point such as the EO Charging Mini which is the world’s smallest fast charger and is perfect for drivers looking for a discreet and easy to use charging solution. It’s the world’s smallest fast charge.

There are also more complex charge points, for example the Wallbox Quasar which is a state of the art charge point which not only has the ability to automatically select the charge rate based on available power and even offers the ability to use your electric vehicle to sell surplus electricity when the local grid requires it, allowing you to make money from your car when it is sitting not being used.

Tesla drivers can install a Tesla charge point allowing them to maximise their vehicle, allowing the highest charging speeds available and full remote management.

Charging on The Go

There are over 25,000 public and destination charge points available across the UK and many organisations are installing charge points for employees and visitors allowing you to charge your vehicle while you work, or play!

Our partners Brite Accessories offer a wide range of cables and accessories to allow you to charge from public charge points.

Ranging from cables and converters to velcro backed carry bags which stay placed on your boot floor and ensure you always keep your cables to hand and in the best condition.

Charging Technology

The difference between Single phase and Three Phase Electricity

In our homes we have 220 volt, single phase alternating current, industrial and commercial installations which require a heavier power use have what is called three-phase electricity supplied at 400 volts and is in effect three individual supplies which are tied together to create a higher capacity supply.

A three-phase supply can therefore charge a vehicle more quickly, in essence three times faster as there is a greater capacity which can be drawn upon.

Charging cables are either optimised to facilitate either single-phase or three-phase charging or support automatic switching to allow three-phase cables to be used on single-phase charging points or single-phase cars, conversely single-phase cables are perfectly safe to be used on three-phase commercial charge points.

Alternating Current and Direct Current

The batteries installed in electric vehicles require Direct Current, known as DC, to charge. Standard charging device or regular domestic power sockets supply Alternating Current, known as AC. In these cases the vehicle’s built-in charger the AC power to DC power.

To simplify this description, the electricity flows from the power socket to the on-board electric vehicle charger, here the Alternating Current is converted into Direct Current and the battery is then charged as per the set maximum current rating.

The conversion of AC mains electricity is generally inefficient and so there are some losses. The more efficient and therefore quicker way to charge electric vehicles is using DC supplies. These are now being installed in the guise of public fast chargers available across the UK.

Types of Charger

There are four main types of Electric Vehicle charging:

  • Ultra-Rapid
  • Rapid
  • Fast
  • Slow

The speed references refer to the power which is output by the charger, the higher the output, the more quickly it can charge EV’s.

Ultra Rapid chargers

Ultra-rapid chargers offer the fastest charge times. Operating at 100 – 150kW DC, they can provide 100 miles of charge in just ten minutes. They will have the capability over time to increase the output up to 350kW which will allow even faster charging.

Rapid Chargers

Rapid chargers offer 50kW again using DC and can provide 100 miles within 35 minutes.

Fast Chargers

Fast chargers provide between 7 – 22kW output which will provide a full charge within three to four hours.  These chargers make up the majority of public charge points at this time.

Slow Chargers

These are mostly home charge points which provide an overnight trickle charge, providing a full charge within six to twelve hours.

The anatomy of an electric vehicle charging cable

Type 1 and Type 2 electric vehicle charging cables: What’s the difference?

There are two main styles of charging connector in use for electric vehicles.

TypeVehiclesLayout
Type 1Asian, Japanese and American vehicles
Type 2European vehicles

Type 1 plugs have an in-built safety catch. Type 2 plugs have a locking pin which prevents it being accidentally removed and therefore they cannot be removed except by the driver.  Both Type 1 and Type 2 plugs contain pins that carry power and safety earth connectors.

Type 2 cables have resistors that communicate with the car and tell it that the cable is plugged in to keep charging, and other resistor functions by maintaining the uniform supply of power as it detects the strength of the cable and derives power accordingly.

Whereas the resistors in the Type 1 cable detect whether the cable is plugged in the car or not and decide to turn off the charger in case the lever is pressed to unlatch the plug.

Converter cables are available from evchargepoints to allow you to charge your vehicle at an otherwise incompatible charge point.

Cable Rating

There are specific factors that matter when picking a EV charging cable such as power and amp rating of the cable.

Amperage rating is crucial for determining the charging time of the EV, the higher the amp rating the shorter the charging time will be. Standard power output levels for home charge points are 3.6kW and 7.2kW which correspond to a 16 Amp or 32 Amp supply. A 32 amp charging cable is thicker and heavier than a 16 amp charging cable.

The charging cable should be picked according to the type of the car because, apart from the power supply and amperage, what really matters in determining the charging time of the EV are the make and model of the car, the size of the charger, the battery capacity and size of the EV charging cable.

For instance, an electric vehicle whose onboard charger has the capacity of 3.6kW will only accept current up to 16 Amp therefore, even if you use a 32 Amp charging cable plugged into a 7.2kW charging point, the charging rate won’t be increased, neither it will reduce the charging time.

Charge Cable length

Electric Vehicle Charging Cables coming in a range of lengths. A longer charging cable should be chosen for cars that have charging ports located on one side of their body or at the farthest end when the vehicle is parked so that they’ll easily reach the charging socket. 

You can purchase a variety of extension cables from Brite Accessories.

Cable colours

Cables are becoming as personal as the covers on our smartphones. Some customers match the cable colour to their car, some to their property and some to their personality. This has resulted in an exciting colour spectrum of cable being available from Brite Accessories.

Cable bags

Cables can become wet and dirty when being used outside therefore a cable bag is a vital accessory.  A useful feature to look out for is velcro on the rear of the bag that attaches to the floor of the boot of the car and provides a solid connection to help the convenience of returning a cable to its bag. Every cable supplied by Brite Accessories is provided with a free carry bag.

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