What to look for in an electric car

The criteria on which people decide their next motoring purchase is changing. New car deals and their viability are no longer assessed on whether the model looks good on the drive, or can hit 60 mph in less than five seconds. These days in an era of sustainability and economic driving, car choices boil down to MPGs and emission figures, particularly for city drivers. This means that electric vehicles (EVs) have to be considered. A car that foregoes fossil fuels and is powered by electricity is far more environmentally friendly than a gas-guzzling juggernaut, but is that enough to make you go down the EV route and become one of the pioneers of the next major motoring generation? Here are some of the things to consider: Price Starting prices for EVs are higher than standard alternatives as the technology is still in its infancy and research and development costs are high. This, coupled with the fact that sales are still low, means you will have to pay more if you want clean motoring. However, that is not the end of the story. The UK government wants EVs to be at the forefront of the British transport sector in years to come and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg recently stated the coalition remains committed to electric motoring and there are no plans to withdraw subsidies to make them more affordable. This means that if you buy an EV, you can receive up to £5,000 back from the government. This cash injection makes electronic motoring much financially viable from an up-front perspective. Practicality This is a big barrier for many motorists. The idea still exists that EVs are fine for short trips around a village, but limited batteries hamper the long-journey potential of the cars. This is partly true. There is no doubt that charging a battery is more problematic than filling up, but the situation is certainly improving. The hybrid, which uses small quantities of petrol to charge the battery, has become quite popular, while all EV cars are set to be given a major boost by the introduction of rapid charge points along key roads and motorways. The government is investing £9 million to install the chargers, which are capable of returning a battery to 80 per cent full in just 30 minutes. EV options Despite all the benefits of low carbon motoring, many people still have an outdated perception of the cars themselves. Even taking the modern penchant for economical driving into consideration, a car is still a prestige purchase. However, modern EVs do get the balance right. “To many people, an EV is still a G-Wiz,” Michael Hurwitz, director of energy and technology at the Department for Transport, explained. to change these perceptions, the industry and government have launched the Go Ultra Low scheme, bringing together five of the biggest EV and plug-in hybrid makers – BMW, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Vauxhall – to help get the desirability message across. EVs such as the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius have already crossed into the mainstream and more could follow soon. Check out sites such as Cars2Buy.co.uk to see what new car deals are on offer.