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Electric car buyers guide

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Get answers to all your questions about buying an electric car. We’ll guide you through all the key considerations to help you choose the right electric car.

Article contents

  • Should I buy an electric car?
    • Benefits of electric cars
  • Which type of electric car is best for you?
    • Entry level
    • Mid-range
    • High-end
  • Questions to ask yourself when choosing an EV
    • Journey types & distances
    • EV charging options 
    • Driving style
    • Associated costs 
  • Considerations when buying an electric car
    • Funding  
    • When to buy 
    • Second-hand & used EVs 
    • Buying with a business 
    • Resale value 
  • Power NI electric vehicle tariff

Should I buy an electric car?

If you’re looking for a new car at the moment, buying an electric car is the obvious choice. With sales of new petrol and diesel cars banned from 2030, it makes sense to move to the technology that’s replacing it. When you add into the mix the many benefits of electric cars, now is the perfect time to make the switch.

  • Environmental benefits - With zero exhaust emissions, electric cars are far more environmentally friendly than petrol or diesel cars.
  • Resale value - As a relatively new technology with increasing demand and relatively short supply, electric cars hold their value very well.
  • Lowering maintenance costs - Electric cars have fewer parts, which means less chance of things going wrong and less maintenance to do.
  • Lowering running costs - Electric cars are cheaper to run than petrol or diesel.
  • Safety - Electric cars have to meet the same safety standards as conventional cars.

Which electric car is best for you?

Just like conventional cars, there is a wide range of electric cars to choose from. There’s something out there to suit every size, budget and use. It's just a case of deciding which electric car is best for you and your lifestyle within the right price bracket. Let’s take a look at some of the options.

Entry level electric cars 
If you’re ready to get started on your electric journey, entry level electric cars are great for getting from A to B around towns and cities. As with conventional cars, entry level electric cars tend to be on the smaller side. For that reason, you can expect to find mostly small hatchbacks in this price tier, although there are some exceptions. 

Entry level electric cars include models like the Mini Electric, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Up. Prices for entry level electric cars are typically £17,000 - £26,000.

Mid-range electric cars 
Maybe you’re looking for a bit more space, a higher spec and potentially a longer range. Moving into mid-range electric cars gives you extra comfort and features suited to slightly longer journeys. It also brings a wider range of options when it comes to the size and style of the car, so you can find something that’s suited to the look and lifestyle you want. 

For mid-range electric cars such as BMW i3, Renault Zoe E-Tech Electric and Hyundai Ioniq 5 prices are usually between £28,000 and £45,000.

High-end electric cars 
Ready to invest in the latest features, longest range and high-end design? Top-of-the-range electric cars offer prestige but also the practicality of faster charging and longer journeys. Expect to find executive saloons, SUVs and sports cars in this price group. 

The Tesla Model X, Audi E-Tron and Mercedes EQC are examples of high-end electric cars. Prices range from £50,000 up to £160,000 for the highest specification electric vehicles.

Choosing an electric car 

When you’re buying an electric car, you first need to think about how you’re planning to use the car. Why, how and how far you drive will all impact what you need from an electric car, and should impact your buying decision. Answering these key questions will help to narrow your search to find the right electric car for your needs.

1. How far will you be travelling in your electric car? 
A short commute or running around town each day won’t test the range of any electric car. But if your daily car use involves travelling large distances, you’ll need to choose an electric car with a range that’s going to match your lifestyle. 

2. How do you plan to charge your electric car? 
Where and how often you expect to charge your electric car might influence your choice of electric car. With different battery capacities and charging connections available, you can choose a car that fits how you plan to charge it.

Are you going to be relying on public charging points? Will you be able to charge your car at work during the day? Will you be charging overnight at home? Power NI’s EV Nightshift Tariff gives you cheaper electricity rates for overnight charging, so you can cut running costs when you add an electric car charger at home.

3. How does your driving style affect electric car range?
Just like conventional cars, the way you drive and the type of journeys you take will impact the range of your electric car. Lots of motorway driving — travelling at high speeds for long distances — and hard acceleration will reduce your electric car range more quickly than city driving.

This used to result in something called range anxiety. With longer ranges in the latest electric cars and more public charging stations available, there’s no need to be anxious. But it’s still worth choosing an electric car with a range that matches how you drive.

4. What are the costs associated with electric cars?
Budget is inevitably a key factor when choosing an electric car. This includes the cost of buying the car, which can vary from £17,000 to £160,000, as well as running costs.

Cars with bigger batteries will cost more to charge. Charging your electric car more regularly because of the distance you're travelling or the type of driving you do will also increase running costs. The costs of home charging will be added to your regular electricity bill. As we’ve mentioned, you can cut the costs by choosing an EV charging tariff with lower overnight rates.

Things to consider when buying an electric car 

Once you know which car you want and you’re ready to buy it, you can turn your attention to the practicalities of buying an electric car. Here are some of the key things to consider to help you get the best deal.

When to buy an electric vehicle 
The right time to buy an electric vehicle will depend on your budget, your lifestyle and the situation with any vehicle you currently own. Electric cars are getting more affordable all the time, and recent fluctuations in petrol and diesel prices have shown the advantages of running an EV. It’s just a case of deciding when it’s best for you to make the switch.

Second-hand and used 
If your budget doesn’t stretch to buying a new car or you don’t want to pay showroom prices, you could consider a used electric car. Keep in mind that since there are still relatively few electric vehicles on the road, the market for second-hand electric cars is very small. You might not be able to pick up a cheap runaround car as you can with petrol or diesel cars.

Electric car resale value 
The flip side of the lack of used electric cars is that electric cars tend to have a stronger resale value than conventional cars. Electric vehicles are increasingly highly sought-after and the many benefits that we’ve discussed help them to hold their value. 

Buying with your business
If you’re going to be using your electric car for business, it’s worth looking into the tax benefits of buying an electric car through your business. The additional benefits include a benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax benefit that is much more generous than if you buy a petrol, diesel or hybrid car.

Power NI electric vehicle tariff & EV charger 

When you’re ready to buy, we’re here to make charging your new electric car easier and cheaper. The Power NI branded EO Mini Pro 2 is the smallest smart home charger on the market. Get a discreet, safe and smart way to charge your electric car at home.

Once you’re ready to charge your new electric car, our EV tariffs give you cheaper night-time electricity so you can make big savings on overnight charging. We'll source the equivalent of your consumption from 100% renewable sources so you can achieve an even bigger reduction of your carbon footprint.