Should you buy an electric car?

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By 2040 the British Government will enforce the end of sales of diesel and petrol cars, with the rest of Europe also introducing the same rules.

It’s something which all big car manufacturers are already preparing for as fully electric vehicles are now becoming commonplace on British roads.

On Gumtree, the largest online private car marketplace in the UK[1], there are currently almost 2,000 listings of electric and hybrid electric cars for sale.

Furthermore, the government is already offering drivers incentives to buy hybrid or fully electric cars, so buying an electric car seems to be a sensible thing to do, the next time you are in the market.

However, as revealed in recently published research, 80% of drivers reference the lack of charging points as a reason for not wanting to buy electric.

Despite this, the same survey revealed:

  • 53% of drivers are concerned about their car’s emissions
  • 64% of people take emissions into account when choosing a new car
  • 84% of respondents would consider an EV if the charging network was much better

Furthermore, new information is being published on the dangers of car engine emissions every day, as exemplified by the comments from Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication;

“Each year, inhaling particulates causes around 29,000 deaths in the UK, which, on recent evidence, may rise to around 40,000 deaths when also considering nitrogen dioxide exposure.”

Therefore, a lot more thought needs to go into deciding whether to buy electric or not, which is why we have created this guide, which will help you weigh up all of the options and make the right choice.


Incentives on offer for electric and hybrid car owners

To help persuade British drivers to buy fully electric and hybrid cars, the Government has provided the following incentives:

  • Subsidised and free parking for electric cars in London
  • Some electric vehicles qualify for the Office of Low Emission Vehicles car grant, offering up to £3,500 off the cost of the car
  • Vehicles that emit 75g/km or less of CO2 and meet Euro 5 air quality standards can avoid the London Congestion Charge
  • Reduced road tax for hybrid cars and free road tax for all-electric cars

Right now, the incentives to buy electric or hybrid cars are as good as they are likely to ever be. This is because they make up a smaller percentage of the market and people need to be tempted to make the switch to electric.

However, this is changing.

Fully electric cars now account for one in every 12 new cars purchased in the UK with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars making up 8% of the overall market, according to the SMMT. Sales have also been increasing across Europe, with more than a million plug-ins now on the road according to figures published by EV Volumes.

These figures are further exemplified by the success of Tesla and its newly released Model 3 as Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at JATO Dynamics, said;

“The Tesla Model 3 achieved another record in February, as it became the top-selling premium midsize sedan in Europe – outperforming the popular Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series. As we’re seeing in the U.S, Tesla is also shaking up the European market.” (Forbes)

Therefore, it may only be a matter of time before the government starts to remove the incentives, as it will become more and more expensive for the taxpayer to subsidise costs as more and more people drive electric cars.


Key problems and challenges for electric and hybrid cars

Despite the fact that electric and hybrid cars are becoming more popular, there are still fundamental issues which are causing people to hold back on changing from diesel or petrol.

As highlighted in an article in The Sunday Times, which you can read by clicking here, people who own fully electric cars produced by Tesla will have major issues if something goes wrong with their car.

If a part needs replacing on a Tesla, it’s not like it can be ordered from a local parts supplier via a garage or dealership due to the fact that they don’t have large stock of the parts.

This means that parts have to be ordered from the Tesla, which is in California in the US, meaning it could take weeks for a new part to arrive and get fitted.

As highlighted in the introduction to this article, the charging network in the UK is also severely lacking in terms of coverage, meaning that drivers have to travel long distances just to find charging points if their car batteries are low.

The issue is made more inconvenient due to the fact that the time that it takes to fully charge an electric car can be up to an hour, which is hardly ideal.


To buy or not to buy, that is the question…

It is only a matter of time before charging stations are more common place on roads up and down the UK.

Furthermore, as battery technology improves, the amount of time to charge electric cars will reduce significantly while car part suppliers will begin to stockpile electric car parts as more people decide to buy cars without traditional car parts.

More of the giant manufacturers are also releasing EV ranges to rival the likes of Tesla so more choice will be available as time goes on. This will mean that you won’t be short of options in comparison to  petrol and diesel cars.

However, price point is always going to be a key factor people consider when buying a new car and most electric vehicles are more expensive than petrol and diesel engine cars. However, with sites like Gumtree, people can purchase pre-owned electric cars for as low as £2,250.

As electric car technology is still developing, the decision about whether to invest in an electric car is a difficult one – it may be wise to wait another couple of years to see how the industry progresses first.

For more information on Gumtree visit and follow @Gumtree to join the conversation.


[1] Autobiz Quarterly reports March 2017, Gumtree number of private motor ads is 95,849 compared with its closest competitors at 34,692, 2,382, 2,987 and 0.

The post Should you buy an electric car? appeared first on MoneyMagpie.

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