What to know about buying an EV
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and go into the world of EV ownership. There’s more choice out there than ever before and, understandably, this might make you feel a little flustered. Where do you even start? What are the main things you need to look for? All this might seem daunting at first. It shouldn’t be, though. Here are the top five things you should look at when buying an EV for the first time.
The claimed range is one of the most important things you need to know when you’re shopping for an EV. Battery capacity can vary massively between different cars depending on what they’ve been designed for. Some have a range of a couple of hundred miles, while others can go for more than 400 miles on a single charge.
How much range you need really depends on how you want to use the car. If you regularly travel several hundred miles in a day, or can’t charge your car every day, you’re best opting for as much range as possible. If you do mainly shorter journeys and you’re able to charge the car at home, you might only need around 200 miles of range or even less on a single charge.
Battery capacity is closely linked to range. A bigger battery capacity almost always equals more range. The only exception to this is with high-performance models, such as the performance branded Teslas, where they don’t have as much range as the non-performance equivalents with the same battery capacity. This is because the more powerful motors take more charge out of the battery pack over time.
Typical electric cars will come with around 40-60kWh battery capacity, while premium, larger or performance models will boast 70-90kWh – or even more. You can think of battery capacity like your fuel tank size, a bigger tank or battery can take on more fuel, typically allowing it to go further between charges.
Something that’s no doubt going to become really important as public chargers become more and more common is the charging rate. Rapid charging, which can charge a car in around 30 minutes are an increasingly common sight at public chargepoints. And, thanks to advances via electric motorsport, flash charging could be around the corner with cars charged in as little as five minutes. Not every EV is able to utilise faster charging methods, though. A lot of electric cars on the market aren’t enabled for rapid chargers so it’s worth checking if you anticipate lots of charging on longer journeys, or if you don’t have a home chargepoint.
Getting the right charging rate for your needs means you won’t end up hanging around service stations! You’ll also have a good head start as rapid chargers become more widely available.
Single or dual motor? FWD, RWD or AWD?
Just like in an internal combustion-engined car, electric cars have a variety of different ways the power can be transferred to the road. They can either send the power to the front or rear wheels through a single motor setup or to all four wheels through a dual motor setup. As they use two motors instead of one, dual-motor AWD (all-wheel drive) cars tend to be quite a bit more powerful than their single motor counterparts.
If you want a high-performance EV, or one with seriously great traction in slippery conditions, a dual-motor AWD model is the one to go for. If either of those things are not of prime importance, you could end up saving a fair bit of money by just choosing a single motor car instead.
One issue with going for a single-motor car over a dual-motor one is you may end up being stuck with a lower battery capacity. This means that you could end up having a lower range than the dual motor equivalent. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with all of them. The single motor version of the Polestar 2, to name just one example, can be optioned with the largest battery capacity available. This means that you won’t get a big hit in range by going for the single motor version.
Consider how you’ll use it
A very important (but often overlooked) part of considering what EV you want to buy is how you’ll use it. It all comes back to charging. If you’re lucky enough to have a driveway, you’ll be able to easily charge your car overnight. This means, you’ll always have a full battery and can therefore opt for lower battery capacity and less range – unless you’re regularly driving hundreds of miles a day. Of course, you can also rent-out your chargepoint through Bookmycharge when it’s not in use helping out other EV drivers and making some money too.
For those who don’t have a driveway, charging could be something you do just once a week. If you fall into this camp, or you do lots of driving. Hunting out larger capacity, faster charging, longer range electric vehicles could be the way to go.
Important note: as with your internal combustion engine car’s claimed mpg (miles per gallon) figure, electric vehicle range will vary considerably depending on how a car is driven. If you’re heavy-footed, or travel at high speed for extended periods, you can expect less than the stated range. The good thing is, wherever you are in the country, there’s a Bookmycharge host to help you charge up easily and cost effectively.
Important note 2: The ability to used fast or rapid charging won’t affect your car’s ability to charge at home. Even the fastest home charging systems will still work with cars that don’t have the ability to use rapid charging, as they tend to run at only a marginally faster speed than what you’d get from a 230V outlet.