e-tron parked
Electric Car FAQs The Electric Era is here. It’s an exciting future for driving, but making the switch to an electric car attracts many questions. Here, we hope you’ll find some of the answers...

Your Guide to Electric Vehicle Jargon

What are the benefits of switching to an electric car?

For the environmentally conscious buyers, there are numerous benefits to running an electric car, the key one being that they don’t burn fossil fuels and do not emit toxic gases. That means that your local emissions are zero, so if everyone drove electric vehicles the air quality in cities would be much improved.There is an argument, though, that they aren’t totally free from emissions, because the electricity you put into it could come from a dirty source. If you’re really dedicated to saving the planet, there are energy suppliers that promise to only deliver green electricity to your house. What happens to the battery once it’s expired is also a concern – though many manufacturers now run ‘second-life’ programmes, where old car batteries are re-used for other energy storage solutions.

How do I charge an electric car?

Speaking of charging, this is the most important aspect of EV ownership, because it can make or break a positive relationship with your car. Charging is almost as simple as refuelling a regular car – just plug the charge cable into the car.

Public charge points can be a little more complicated, because there are a variety of different companies that run them, all with different apps and subscription models. However, new legislation means all new points must have contactless pay-as-you-go capabilities to take away any stress.

The ideal situation is to set yourself up with a charge point at home if possible. It won’t be as quick as most super-fast public points, but you can plug it in overnight and forget about it, leaving the house with a full ‘tank’ and peace of mind in the morning.

Charging an Electric Car

What types of Electric vehicle are there?

There are all different types of alternatively fuelled vehicles, be they all-electric, hybrid, powered by alternative means and all points in-between. Different manufacturers use different terms, making it that little bit more difficult to know exactly what they're talking about!

Here's a few acronyms to help you navigate the new electric world. Firstly the terminology for the vehicles we're more familiar with:

  • ICE - Internal combustion engine, any car that burns fuel be it petrol or diesel.
  • NICE - non-internal combustion engine; any car NOT powered by fuel.
  • De-ICE - To turn an ICE vehicle into a NICE one!
  • NEV - Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle; a small, slow electric vehicle for community use.
  • ULEV - Ultra Low Emission

Moving away from engine'd cars we see:

  • AFV - Alternatively fuelled vehicle; any vehicle NOT powered by traditional fuels.
  • EV - Electric Vehicle; does what it says on the tin!
  • MHEV - Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle; a mild hybrid cannot run on electric alone, but can assist the engine, normally seen as the start/stop function in some cars
  • ULEV - Ultra Low Emission; a car or van that emits 75g/km CO2 or less.
  • FCV or FCEV - Fuel Cell Vehicle or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle; uses a fuel cell, instead of a battery, or in combination with a battery, to power its on-board electric motor.
  • RE-EV or EREV - Range Extended Electric Vehicle; the difference from a plug-in hybrid is that the electric motor always drives the wheels, with the internal combustion engine acting as a generator to recharge the battery.
  • BEVs - Battery Electric Vehicle, powered purely by an all-electric drivetrain.
  • Hybrids or HEV - Hybrid Electric Vehicle; uses a combination of power sources, most conventionally an internal combustion engine (often referred to as an ICE) and an electric motor. The battery is charged through the braking and whilst the car is being driven.
  • PHEVs or PIV - Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle or Plug-in Vehicle; similar to a conventional hybrid but the electric motor can be charged through a mains system.
  • FCVs - Fuel Cell Vehicle, the least common of the four in the UK, an electric vehicle that uses a fuel cell instead of a battery for propulsion, most often hydrogen.

What else should I know before buying an electric vehicle?

There’s a whole host of other terms in the world of EVs, but as for key ones, there’s just a few more.

The difference between kilowatts (kW) and a kilowatt hour (kWh). A kilowatt is simply a measurement of how many watts of energy a car can develop, while a kilowatt hour is how much energy a car will use in the space of an hour.

Other Electric Services Got a question or need help with an electric vehicle? If you're looking for your next vehicle, our teams across the country will be happy to assist to help meet and exceed your requirements. Click on the link below to get in contact with your local retailer.

What electric cars are available from Swansway?

Are Electric Cars more expensive to buy?

Yes, there’s no denying that electric vehicles are more expensive than their petrol- or diesel-powered equivalents. That’s because batteries are expensive, plus much of this technology is still quite new and sold in smaller quantities, making it pricier to build. However, running costs are considerably lower on electric vehicles, so you might find that over the course of your ownership – for example, a three-year finance agreement – the higher monthly payments are offset by the lower fuel bills, making it cheaper overall.

How does electric servicing and maintenance work?


Servicing works on largely the same principle as it does on a traditional combustion engine car. However, without an engine there are so few moving parts that need changing that it’s considerably cheaper. Furthermore, because the engine regenerates energy when the car is slowing down to top up the batteries, it uses the brakes less, meaning they typically need changing less often.

Electric Car Maintenance

Should I be worried about range?


You’ll almost certainly have heard of range anxiety, which is when you’re running low on charge, unsure whether you have enough battery left to get you to a charger. This is, of course, a legitimate concern, but it is easily avoided.

The first thing to consider is your driving style. Most electric cars are capable of travelling triple-digit miles on a single charge with ease, so if your commute is less than that and you can charge at home, you should find the transition easy.

If you can’t charge at home it becomes more complicated, but if you don’t travel far each day and can find a public charger nearby once a week it could work, too. However, if you are travelling further afield, it’s worth planning ahead to incorporate charging stops into your regular breaks.