Choosing an electric vehicle can seem a difficult thing to do due to the differences between them and combustion engine vehicles.
However, this section has all the information you need to understand electric vehicles and to make it easier for you when you make the move to electric either now or in the future.
When reading about or looking at electric vehicles, you may notice a large number of acronyms that you are unfamiliar with. Below you will find a list of the most common ones with their meaning.
EV - Electric Vehicle
PHEV - Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle
REX - Range Extender
ICE - Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle
Regenerative Braking - The process of slowing down the vehicle by using the electric motor whilst also generating electricity to feed back into the battery.
kWh - Kilowatt-hours is a measure of how much energy can be stored in a battery. For a given vehicle, a battery with greater capacity ‑ more kWh ‑ will have greater range and/or performance. For a given capacity, actual range will vary dependent on driving style and environmental conditions.
CHAdeMO - “CHAdeMO” is an abbreviation of “CHArge de MOve,” equivalent to “charge for moving,” and is a pun for “O cha demo ikaga desuka.” in Japanese, meaning “Let’s have a cup of tea while charging.” in English.
CCS - Combined Charging system
Type 2 - Charging connector which is most common type of charging connector, is now European law for new models from manufacturers to have type 2
Type 1 - Charging connector which you will mainly find on Japanese vehicles eg. Mitsubishi Outlander and 1st Gen Nissan LEAF.
ICED - When an Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle parks in or blocks a charging point miles /kWh
PICG - Plug in Car Grant (up to £3500, scroll down further for details)
TYPE OF ELECTRIC VEHICLE
There are many types of electric vehicles on the market which all have varying levels of electrification and therefore it can be confusing when looking to purchase one. Below is a quick explanation of the main types.
This is where the vehicle is powered solely by an electric motor and the battery can only be charged by plugging the vehicle into a charging unit.
A range extender (REX) is effectively a full electric vehicle (EV) as the vehicle is propelled solely by electric motors which drive the wheels. The difference however between a REX an full EV is the ability to hold or charge the battery using a small petrol engine that acts a generator. REX vehicles have similar size batteries to full EVs. Example BMW i3
A plug-in hybrid is a vehicle which has both a combustion engine and an electric motor. In normal hybrid mode, these vehicles decide which is the best powertrain to use. For example, it will usually use the electric motor at lower speeds and the engine will cut in to provide power when needed. However, unlike a standard hybrid, it is possible to tell the vehicle to only use the electric drivetrain. The maximum speed to which this works at varies from vehicle to vehicle.
A hydrogen vehicle is a vehicle that uses hydrogen as its onboard fuel for motive power. ... The power plants of such vehicles convert the chemical energy of hydrogen to mechanical energy either by burning hydrogen in an internal combustion engine, or by reacting hydrogen with oxygen in a fuel cell to run electric motors.
A hybrid is a vehicle similar to a plug-in hybrid however it has a smaller battery meaning it has a lower electric range and is unable to charge the battery by plugging the vehicle into a charging point.
A mild hybrid is where manufacturers put a larger 48-volt battery in the vehicle to power functions such as turbos that would otherwise be driven by the engine. This improves the efficiency of the engine. However, unlike vehicles mentioned above, the battery does not drive the wheels.
MODELS AVAILABLE TO BUY
There are a large number of electric vehicles to buy in the UK. Click here to view all of the vehicles available to buy.
The government are eager to get people into an electric vehicle and so have a number of grants that make it even easier for people to make the switch.
To put it simply, you can get up to £3,500 off the price of a car that produces less than 50g/km of CO2 and can travel at least 70 miles (112km) without any emissions at all.
VANS, MOTOCYCLES AND MOPEDS
There are also grants available for vans, motorbikes and mopeds.
Eligibility criteria is listed below;
Vehicles have to have CO2 emissions of less than 75g/km and can be able travel at least 16km (10 miles) without any CO2 emissions at all. The grant will pay for 20% of the purchase price for these vehicles, up to a maximum of £8,000.
Vehicles must have no CO2 emissions and be capable of traveling at least 50km (31 miles) between charges. The grant will pay for 20% of the purchase price for these vehicles, up to a maximum of £1,500.
Vehicles must produce no CO2 emissions and be capable of traveling at least 30km (19 miles) between charges. The grant will pay for 20% of the purchase price for these vehicles, up to a maximum of £1,500.
For more information on cars, vans and motorcycles eligible for the Grant, click here.
GRANTS FOR CHARGING
Up to £500 grants for charging
If you have off-street parking where you live, then you can get £500 of the cost of installing a homecharge unit. this means the cost of a chargepoint falls between £200 and £400 dependant on the manufacturer and the power of the unit you go for. As well as having off-street parking, you also need to be the registered keeper, leaseholder or be nominated as the primary user of an eligible electric vehicle. Electric Vehicle Expert highly recommends installing a homecharge unit as it means charging is not only faster but also easier and safer.
For more information and answers to FAQs, click here.
If you do not have off-street parking and therefore can't get a chargepoint installed, you may still be able to get a chargepoint installed on your street. There is a large amount of money that the goverment has put aside for local councils to install chargepoints for people who can't have one at their place of residence.
For more information on On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, click here.
As well as the grants available for homecharge points and the money available to local councils to install chargepoints, there is also the Workplace Charging Scheme. This scheme provides up to £500 per charging socket towards the cost of installing a chargepoint. Workplace chargers tend to have two charging sockets per charger.
For more information on FAQs about the Workplace Charging scheme, click here.
DRIVING TEST CYCLES
When looking at electric vehicles, you might question, where do they get those figures for the range of the vehicles?
Well, the answer depends on where you live in the world but here in the UK you will see a figure brought about by two main tests. The first of these tests is the NEDC test cycle (New European Driving Cycle) and the second is the WLTP test cycle (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure). The reason for there being two is due to many seeing the NEDC figure as being unrealistic and out of date and therefore the WLTP figure has been introduced. We are currently in the transition period meaning that not all vehicles (due to the time they came out) have been tested on the WLTP cycle and therefore you might still see the NEDC figure used.
Further to these test cycles, you may also hear people mention the EPA test cycle. This is the American version and in is the most accurate (although still optimistic) test for predicting an EV’s range.
Learn more about the cost savings you can make when switching to an EV.
Charging a EV
Learn more about the process of charging your EV and the three main types of chargers for electric vehicles
Read through our frequently asked questions to see if your question is already answered.
CHECK OUT THE NEWS
Read articles hand picked by the expert to see whats happening in the world of EVs.
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