The beginner’s guide to buying an electric car

efficiency? I thought range would be the big issue

For many, range is the most important aspect of an electric car, but efficiency must not be neglected either. Considering the former without considering the latter is like worrying about the size of your car’s gas tank without considering fuel economy.

The problem is that it’s easy for a manufacturer to increase a car’s range simply by equipping it with a larger battery. But a bigger battery adds weight, and that extra weight can make those longer-range electric cars less efficient and therefore more expensive to run — especially if you’re constantly using public chargers.

How do I find out the efficiency of an electric car?

Most manufacturers now state efficiency values ​​in their brochures; If you can’t find the figurine, ask the dealer instead.

Different manufacturers use different units to measure energy efficiency, but here it is The Telegraph We’ve decided it’s easiest to use miles per kilowatt hour (mpkWh). This makes it easy to calculate how much a trip in an electric car will cost you: simply divide the distance traveled in kilometers by the efficiency figure in mpkWh and then multiply this by your electricity tariff in kWh.

What is a kilowatt hour?

A kilowatt-hour, or kWh, is a unit of energy: 1 kWh is enough to power an electrical device (in this case, a car) rated at 1,000 watts, or 1 kilowatt (kW) for one hour.

It might be helpful to think of a kilowatt hour as a liter of fuel. Your battery (or fuel tank) can only hold a limited number of them; As soon as they are used up, the car stops.

If you have a larger battery (i.e. one with a higher kWh rating), it will hold more charge – or fuel – and your car will keep going.

However, if your electric vehicle is more efficient, it will go farther on fewer kilowatt hours, so it will cost you less and you won’t need as large a battery.

Is charging an electric vehicle as complicated as it sounds?

It can be, but it’s getting easier and easier. Today, many public chargers offer instant payments through an app, so you don’t need to have a subscription like you used to, while many are now starting to offer contactless credit and debit card payments as well.

However, the network is still not as reliable as it should be with users complaining of a high rate of chargers not working, but this condition is improving again and reliability should also improve as newer chargers are rolled out across the country .

You used to also have to worry about what type of charging socket your car uses – there used to be several – but now most manufacturers have standardized on a specific type called a Type 2/CCS charger. Almost every charging point will now be compatible with this type of charger.

How easy is it to install a charger at home?

Very. It’ll cost you around £800 (although there’s another government grant here that gives you a discount on the cost, bringing that price down to around £300). Most chargers come with the equipment included in the price and a technician will install it for you.

You said it takes a long time to charge an electric car, but how long?

You won’t hop on and off as fast as you would stop for gas, that’s for sure. But you won’t “fill up” quite like that. Think of an electric car a bit like your smartphone: it is best to charge it overnight so that the battery is fully charged in the morning when you want to use it.

If your car needs more juice during the day, a quick bang on a fast charger should be enough to get you there. Some of the fastest chargers currently being installed can charge at tremendous speeds and add around 100 miles to your electric vehicle’s range in just 10 minutes.

Sounds great – can any electric car use these faster chargers?

no An electric car can only be charged at a certain rate, limited by the onboard charging equipment. Today the fastest public chargers in the UK can charge at 150kW.

Charging speeds are measured in kilowatts (kW) – think of this as the number of kilowatt hours you can add to your car’s battery in one hour. So in that time, a 50kW fast charger will add 50kWh to the battery.

However, if your EV can only charge at 50kW, this is the fastest charge time even if you are connected to a 150kW charger. So if you want to charge your car in the shortest possible time, you need one that can be charged quickly. The beginner’s guide to buying an electric car

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