Is an electric car right for you? What are the pros and cons of EVs?

10 February 2022 Blog

EVs may be grabbing all the headlines, but is the time right for you to switch?

It’s hard to avoid the onslaught of electric cars – they seem to be absolutely everywhere: In the news, in Parliament and drinking electricity in the darker corners of our motorway service stations. 

There’s no doubt that they’re here to stay, but is the time right for you to ditch the diesel, put away the petrol and make a charge for one of Motorpoint’s nearly new electric cars? Read on and we’ll lay out the pros and cons of EV life based on our recent experience driving pretty much every single one of 2022’s crop of electric vehicles.

Can you charge it?

Some of the latest electric cars have ranges of over 300 miles – meaning you could drive from Manchester to Dover without stopping to charge. Just.

But if you frequently drive big distances then you’re unlikely to want to spend hours of your day charging your car – so for big distances, petrol and diesel cars still make more sense than EVs. Especially so when you consider that electric car batteries drain a lot more quickly at 70mph than 50mph, so big motorway treks aren’t really their forte.

However, research shows that the average UK car owner only drives 142 miles per week – so most people would actually be perfectly fine living with an electric car. If you’re fortunate enough to have off-street parking at home then you can get a home charger installed on your house, meaning you can plug your car in when you get home and likely return to a full ‘tank’ whenever you next take the car for a drive. 

If you can charge at home and don’t do lots of marathon journeys then an EV makes a huge amount of sense. And trust us, you can’t beat the smugness of coming back to your car each morning to find it’s magically full of delicious electric fuel.

Can you afford it?

The days of absolutely dirt-cheap EV charging are, sadly, a thing of the past. While you can still get affordable home-charging energy tariffs that drop in price overnight (Octopus Energy, EDF and Ovo are worth a look), public charging is getting more expensive. 

This is especially true if your car supports 150kW or faster charging, which might tempt you to use very fast chargers from the likes of Ionity and BP Pulse. If you take a Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Porsche Taycan (ooo, get you) to an Ionity station it’ll cost about £50 to fully charge your car. Sure, it’ll happen in under an hour, but it’s getting on for the cost of a tank of fuel.

Public chargers are getting busier by the day

If you can’t charge your EV at home then it’s worth knowing that – in our experience, at least – public chargers are getting very, very busy. EV sales have grown exponentially year on year, and it’s starting to put a strain on the UK’s network of chargers. We’ve experienced queues of an hour or more at busy service stations this year, and it’s only going to get worse until companies such as Gridserve open up more dedicated EV charging forecourts – which are like petrol stations, but with banks and banks of fast chargers.

Electric cars are holding their value better than ever

There’s a common misconception that EVs lose value (depreciate) faster than petrol and diesel cars. While this was true in the early days of BMW i3s and first-gen Nissan Leafs when there was low demand for EVs, things have changed. The UK Government has announced it will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, so more and more buyers are getting into EVs now – helping keep second-hand prices strong. So don’t let the thought of depreciation put you off going electric.

The environmental benefit of EVs is a mixed bag

While your petrol or diesel car will pump out harmful tailpipe emissions (albeit in vastly smaller quantities than 10 years ago), EVs have zero emissions. If every car in London was suddenly an EV, you’d no longer blow black soot out of your nose when you get home from a visit to the Capital.

Sadly, however, there’s no avoiding the fact that electric car batteries are made using lithium and other finite natural resources, and the electricity used to charge them may well come from a coal-burning power station. So you can’t claim they’re totally green just yet – we need to move towards a sustainably powered society before we can fully claim to have solved humanity’s woes.

Are EVs right for you?

In short, the biggest factor in whether an electric car is right for you comes down to your personal situation. If you can charge at home then there’s very little stopping you joining the electric revolution. If you don’t often do huge journeys then again, jump in with both feet. We’d still pick a petrol or diesel if we regularly do longer trips or can’t charge at home – and some people will like the reassurance of being able to stop at any petrol station and filling up in a matter of minutes. But there’s no doubt about it – the future will eventually be electric.

See Motorpoint's full range of nearly new electric cars.