Naturally, the first questions that pop into people’s minds when thinking about electric vehicles are issues surrounding charging:
- How long can electric vehicles go between charges?
- How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?
- Where can I charge my electric vehicle?
- How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?
Starting from the top:
How Long Will An Electric Vehicle Last Between Charges?
There’s no solid answer we can give you for this one, unfortunately. It depends heavily on the type of vehicle, the model and your driving style.
You can max out the range of your electric vehicles by:
- Driving at a steady speed
- Removing roof racks or excess weight from the vehicle
- Minimising use of heating, aircon and other features
Currently, the best performing electric cars can run for 300-400 miles on a single charge, which is roughly equivalent to how far a tank full of petrol would get you. The average across all vehicles is 193 miles.
Tesla’s Model S still has the longest range – but if you’re not looking to spend upwards of £70,000 on a luxury car for business use, here are a few more budget-friendly options with decent ranges.
- Hyundai Kona Electric: 300 miles (£25,000)
- Kia e-Nero: 282 miles (£26,800)
- Tesla Model 3: 263 miles (£42,500)
- Mercedes-Benz EQC: 255 miles (£65,000)
- Nissan Leaf e+: 239 miles (£35,900)
- Hyundai IONIQ: 193 miles (£23,000)
Electric vans have a range of around 90-120 miles. The electric lorry space is an interesting one. Current operators (for example Volta Truck) state that their vehicles have a similar range to electric vans. This may or may not change with the arrival of the Tesla Semi.
Theoretically, these trucks will have an impressive driving range of 300-500 miles on a single charge – but with none on the roads yet and production delayed until 2021 due to issues with battery production, the jury’s out on everyday performance.
Where Can I Charge My Electric Vehicle?
There are three main areas where you can charge your electric vehicle:
- Home charging point
- Work charging point
- Public charging point
If you use your business vehicle to get to and from work – or if you run your business from home – it’s sensible to install a home charging point. This usually costs a one-off fee of around £800.
Some workplaces have chargers installed where employees can charge their vehicles for free. There are financial incentives for doing so (read about them here) . If you’re operating a business fleet of electric vehicles that stays in a depot overnight, workplace charging is essential.
If you’re out and about you have the option of using public charging points.
These are more expensive than home charging – and not all of them will be compatible with your vehicle, so it’s important to understand:
- Which type of charging points your vehicle works with
- Whether your vehicle is compatible with ultra-rapid chargers
This sounds more daunting than it really is. There are currently over 35,000 charge point connectors in the UK across 13,000 different locations, so there are now more public places to charge than there are petrol stations.
Your vehicle won’t be compatible with all of these, but with this level of coverage (and counting) it’s likely you won’t be pressed for charging points.
Charging points do, however, tend to be less visible than petrol stations. Tools like ZapMap are invaluable in helping you quickly identify compatible charging points along your route, so you’re never caught short on longer journeys.
How Much Does It Cost To Charge an Electric Vehicle?
This will depend to some extent on the battery size of your vehicle and where you charge it, but the RAC provides some reliable estimates here.
The good news is that electric vehicles are generally much cheaper to run than their petrol equivalents.
To charge an electric car at home, you’d be looking at around £5 per charge. A public rapid charger increases the cost to around £7-£10. You might also be able to charge your car for free at a work charging point.
Wherever you charge your vehicle, you’ll find that you can make major savings compared to petrol vehicles. A full tank of petrol costs upwards of £40 a go – travelling the same distance on a publicly-charged battery (assuming £10 spend) is a saving of 75% of fuel costs.
How Long Does It Take To Charge an Electric Vehicle?
Whether you’re a remote sales rep, delivery driver or tradesman, speed is often of the essence when you’re on the road. Recharging your battery will take longer than filling up a tank of petrol, but you may be surprised at how quickly you can get the job done.
A good rough estimate for an electric car on an ultra-rapid public charger is 20-30 minutes – time to stretch your legs, rest your eyes and refresh yourself before continuing on longer journeys.
Specific models may fall on either side of this depending on the charging network you use and which chargers your vehicle is compatible with. Older electric van models in particular tend to lack high-speed charging capability – in some cases you’re looking at two to three hours per charge.