A lot of us feel quite impotent when thinking about things that we can do to help the climate.
Yes, there are lots of small changes that you can make – from reusable coffee cups to a more sustainable energy tariff – but it’s difficult to feel like you’re making a real impact.
For most people, the one area where you can really create change will be through your mode of transport. Consider switching to a bicycle or using more public transport… or, if you’re not ready to ditch four-wheels altogether, see if it makes financial sense to go electric.
Higher initial costs, cheaper long term
There’s no getting around the fact that an electric car will cost more upfront than an equivalent non-electric car. The starting price for a more basic model is going to be around £17,000. You might also need to pay for a charging point to be installed in your home so that you can charge your car overnight. Although the gov.uk site states that you can apply for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS).
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) is a grant that provides a 75% contribution to the cost of one chargepoint and its installation. A grant cap is set at £350 (including VAT) per installation.
After that initial outlay, though, you’ll be paying less than other motorists to keep yourself on the road. This means less road tax, no congestion charge and fewer maintenance costs as well as better value for your electricity when compared to other types of fuel. A typical electric car can go for 100 miles before needing to be juiced up. That 100-mile charge would cost around £9 if done at home (although keep in mind the rising costs of electricity when making your calculations) or £6.50 at a rapid-charging point while out and about. Some places even offer public charging points that will allow you to top yourself up for free.
Government grants help with the cost of more affordable models
For electric cars under £35,000, you can get a grant of £2,500 from the government to help with the cost. A version of this grant has been available for over ten years now, signalling a commitment from the government to keep encouraging people to make the switch. In many cases, this grant is taken off the listed price of the vehicle by the dealership. So when you’re browsing for cars, you should assume that the price you’re seeing is the final cost. That said, it never hurts to ask if you’re unsure.
Grab a second-hand bargain
Now that electric cars are not so new to the market, there are plenty of used vehicles available, usually at a much price. Buying an electric car second-hand is not much different to buying any other type of car, so most of our tips for buying a used car will still apply. If you’re able to get the car looked over by an expert before you buy it then that could help, as it’s difficult for a layperson to know what’s under the bonnet.
Make sure you ask the seller whether the battery is owned or leased. In some cases, you will lease the car’s battery rather than buying it outright. For a second-hand car, this would mean taking over the payment plan from the original owner.
Look at leasing deals
Leasing has become a popular choice as it calls for smaller monthly payments and makes driving a lease car more achievable for a lot of families. Although you won’t end up owning the car, there are plenty of benefits alongside the lower price. If you choose a maintenance package then the hassle of looking after the vehicle can be taken care of for you. Then at the end of the lease period you can look at trading up for a newer model – just like upgrading your mobile phone.