The cars on Britain’s roads are changing. More than a fifth of new registrations in the first half of 2022 were electric vehicles (EVs) and the transition from internal combustion engines to electric motors is continuing to gather pace.
A combination of tasty carrots and pointy sticks are making all drivers, from small families to fleet operators, consider making the switch to an electric car sooner rather than later. Carmakers have been responding, too, and the commonly cited barriers to mass EV adoption regarding charging, cost, range and vehicle choice are now eroding.
To celebrate this year’s World EV Day, we wanted to share some of the reasons why more and more people are choosing to drive electric. And because we approach on-screen reading with slightly less focus than we do the dead-tree kind, we’ve decided to bundle these bits of wisdom into handy little bitesize chunks. Here we go:
1. Electric cars are the future
The ban on petrol and diesel car sales is coming
In 2020, the UK Government announced it would end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 to support its ambition to become a net zero economy by 2050. Transport is the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions producing 27% of the UK’s total emissions in 2019*, so reforming this sector is critical to a net zero pathway. With the direction of travel set, industry has invested heavily to make electrification the dominant theme in all key vehicle categories. Today, there are already more than 100 fully-electric vehicles to choose from, with most being able to drive more than 200 miles on a single charge.
Of course, the internal combustion engine still has a few years left but in reality, any future development is dead and its relevance receding in favour of the electric car. You know the goal posts have shifted when the Kia EV6 wins the coveted 2022 WhatCar? Car of the Year Award - not just the electric family car category, but the whole damn thing. Game over, petrol.
Electric cars offer unrivalled acceleration
Electric vehicles aren’t just dominating new car sales, they’re ripping up the performance car rulebook. Today, the Tesla Model S Plaid has the quickest acceleration of any vehicle in production, with a 0-60mph sprint time of less than two seconds. Even the entry-level Model S manages the same sprint in 3.1 seconds, which is faster than many Ferraris on sale. Yet these sorts of mind-bending stats aren’t exclusively reserved for vehicles made by guys called Elon.
Electric motors are able to deliver ‘instant torque’, which basically means that the car can perform maximum acceleration as soon as the driver so much as tickles the right pedal. It helps to explain why electric cars can get off the line so much quicker than many internal combustion engined vehicles, that tend to have torque curves that increase in tandem with engine revolutions per minute (rpm).
Electric cars are quieter and more dignified
Another key characteristic that makes electric cars so appealing to drivers and their passengers is the near-silent powertrain. The lack of rumble and vibration of a combustion engine gives carmakers more opportunity to minimise what is known in the industry as noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Get it right, and the best electric vehicle cabins can feel like you’re being cossetted inside a giant set of noise-cancelling headphones. Until recently, you would have had to sit in a Rolls-Royce or a library for this sort of silence.
Of course, a lack of engine rumble may be considered more problematic if you’re a performance-orientated car brand attempting to electrify. If you’re BMW, for example, you take this opportunity to invent a new sonic landscape by hiring Hollywood’s go-to composer Hans Zimmer, whose back catalogue includes No Time to Die, Batman Begins, Gladiator and Blade Runner 2049. Who said electric cars can’t be sporty and refined?
Electric cars are more spacious and practical
Most electric vehicle architecture consists of a flat skateboard-like platform that houses a battery pack, inverter and electric motor, and this is the same basic configuration for city cars, people carriers and everything in between. As a result, nearly all the parameters of traditional vehicle packaging have changed, which is increasing the space efficiency - and therefore practicality - of these vehicles.
With no more big engine to house, the cowl - the structural element between engine compartment and passenger area - can be moved forwards in an electric car to increase interior space without increasing the overall length of the vehicle. Front boots or ‘froots’ can also be added as further stowage for shopping and charging cables, while flat floors can improve seating comfort for all, now that there is no requirement for a drive shaft. Exterior design will become similarly unbridled, although it feels like we’re just getting started here. Expect much more avant-garde design to come.
5. Cheaper to run
Electric cars have lower running costs
It’s quicker, easier and cheaper than you think to charge an electric car. Our nationwide rollout of GRIDSERVE High Power EV chargers offer contactless payment, are exclusively powered by net zero carbon energy and provide a maximum 350kW capacity. This means the latest electric cars can add 100 miles of range in less than 10 minutes. Our pricing per kWh also makes it significantly cheaper to fully charge an electric car than fill up an equivalent petrol or diesel car.
If you are able to charge your electric car at home, the fuel savings are even more dramatic. That’s because you’re able to take advantage of charging during off-peak rates, and have the added advantage of waking up to a full tank every morning. And because there are fewer moving parts associated with an electric vehicle, there is a noticeable reduction in maintenance schedules, too.
6. Tax incentives
Electric vehicles are exempt from road tax
Like saving money? Of course you do. There are plenty of EV incentives for both private and company car drivers. The most notable ones regard exemption from vehicle excise duty (VED) that’s often referred to as road tax, because electric vehicles emit no CO2 emissions from the tailpipe. There are further exemptions from the London Congestion Zone and Clean Air Zone charges that are being introduced across some of the UK’s major cities.
The biggie in business, however, is Benefit in Kind (BIK). A Benefit in Kind is a benefit that employees or directors receive from their employment, but isn’t included in their salary. Typically, this includes company cars, yet the Benefit in Kind tax rate on electric vehicles has fallen dramatically from 16% in the 2019 tax year, to 0% in 2020, rising marginally to 2% in 2022. This means that over a typical three-year agreement, a company car driver could save thousands of pounds in taxation if they were to drive an electric vehicle rather than an equivalent petrol or diesel model. It’s like getting a new car and a pay rise.
7. Better for the environment
Electric cars have lower emissions
We know that an electric car creates far fewer emissions throughout its life because, roughly, two thirds of the carbon footprint of driving a petrol or diesel-powered car is from its fuel. Even if the electric car was powered exclusively by energy from gas-fired power stations, it would still cause fewer emissions because of their efficient motors. Electric cars, bikes and vans can convert electricity to mechanical energy with up to 80% efficiency, whereas the combustion engine struggles to get better than 25%.
Yet cleaning up transport isn’t just about carbon and energy; it’s also about human health. If you do a lot of petrol or diesel-powered driving in urban areas, chemical compounds and particulates of various sizes are being expelled from the exhaust pipe and unknowingly absorbed into the lungs of passers-by. According to Public Health England, it is estimated that 28,000 - 36,000 people a year die prematurely from air pollution. A 2019 study by King’s College London has also revealed that children in London travelling to schools across the capital are exposed to air pollution five times higher than at any other time of the day. This is why Clean Air Zones and electric vehicles really matter.
Three months FREE charging
3 months' charging with every new lease with GRIDSERVE Car Leasing*
Hopefully, we’ve helped to establish that the switch to an electric vehicle is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’. While electric cars continue to showcase nascent technology and carry relatively high price tags, leasing an EV is often considered the best way for drivers to sample the latest technology while avoiding any up front, long-term investment. With EV leasing, buyers typically make fixed monthly payments over a certain period; usually two or three years in a manner that’s similar to the latest smartphone deals.
We may be biassed, but the team at GRIDSERVE Car Leasing do some pretty awesome stuff. Not only do they curate the best deals and secure the latest EV models so you can jump the long waiting lists, they also plant 100 trees for every vehicle leased. To celebrate World EV Day, the team is offering three months of free charging along the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway with every new vehicle lease*. See, there really has never been a better time for switching to an electric car - check out some of our latest deals now.
*Full terms and conditions can be found here.