electric car charger held in right hand
What is an Electric Vehicle? Wondering if an electric car is right for you? Discover more about electric cars and what makes them go.

What makes an electric car go?

All-electric vehicles (EVs) do not have an internal combustion engine therefore they do not have any requirement for liquid fuel and do not have a fuel line, or a fuel tank. They can also be known as "zero-emission" vehicles because they do not emit any exhaust fumes at all and do not even have a tailpipe!

These vehicle are powered by a large battery pack linked to an electric motor. To make them work you need to plug them in to a charging station, that you could have had installed at your home or one that you find when out and about. And then you have wait for it to "charge up" in the same way that you do for other rechargeable powered items.

There is also an "on board" charger on the vehicle which takes the energy from the charge port and converts it to power for charging the battery. And some vehicles have "regenerative" charging capability, which means that you can charge the battery whilst you are driving, depending on the way you drive the vehicle.

The purpose of the EV is to reduce emissions and to make owning and driving a vehicle as cost effective as possible, by making the most of technology advancements and improvements in efficiency and effectiveness in modern vehicles.

Second Hand Electric Cars

Electric car battery

Are electric cars safe to drive?

EVs have to adhere to the same safety regulations as conventional vehicles and if they are tested by the independent safety body EuroNCAP they undergo all the same tests as any other vehicle. The Audi e-tron and the Jaguar I-pace both have a 5 star NCAP rating.

What is Green NCAP?


Can you recharge your vehicle when you are on the move?

Yes you can, but the time it takes to charge an electric car depends on the model, how full you want the battery to be, and what kind of charger you are using. It can be less than an hour or as much as eight hours to charge an electric car fully. Some charging points, such as those at supermarkets, can be free to use. But the rapid charging points you can use at service stations usually charge for the electricity you use for a battery charge. It is possible to join a network such as Polar Plus, for which you pay a small monthly fee and then you can access many of their charging points for free.

How to use a public charging point for Electric Vehicles

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How far can you go before you need to re-charge?

Each model can be different, so you do need to choose a model that is going to suit how you like to drive. But a driver can affect how far they can go with the use of heating or air-conditioning for long periods of time. Also driving really quickly for long spells or really fast acceleration can cut down how many miles a battery will last for. Some models include re-generative braking, which captures energy that would otherwise be lost through braking and uses the motor (that continues to spin as the car slows down) as a generator to create electricity which recharges the battery and can make the battery last a bit longer. And the weather can have an impact - batteries do better in warm conditions!

Should I buy an electric car?

What are the pros of buying an electric car?

  • Low fuel consumption
  • Pure electric vehicles are tax exempt
  • Zero emissions that are harmful to the environment
  • Fewer moving parts can equate to less need for maintenance
  • Overall, research estimates that EVs work out less expensive to run over 60,000 miles
  • Batteries can be guaranteed for up to 8 years​

What are the cons of buying an electric car?

  • The way you drive your car really affects how far you can go before re-charging
  • You may struggle to find a charging point whilst out and about and if someone else is there before you, you may have to wait
  • EVs can be more expensive to insure, as there is not a lot of information about the costs of servicing and repairs
  • There can be an element of "mileage anxiety" when you worry about if you will have enough charge to make it to the net convenient charging point
peugeot e-208
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.

​Is driving an EV different to driving a conventional car?

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Yes.

Driving an electric car certainly feels different when you try it for the first time! The first thing you may notice is that it is almost silent, with engine noise only apparent when you are going fast and you get the wind and tyre sounds you are used to.

And no.

Apart from that, EVs drive in a similar way to cars you may be used to. They usually have an automatic transmission, and are therefore very easy to drive. But what is exciting about them, is that they have lots of "grunt" or "torque" from a standing start, which means that when you want to accelerate quickly, you really can feel the power and performance.

How long do electric cars last?

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There are lots of myths about electric car batteries requiring replacement after 10 years, but with care and maintenance, electric cars can often last far longer than 150,000 miles.

What is the best electric car?

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Both the Audi e-tron and Volkswagen e-Golf received a 5/5 consumer rating and a place in the Kelley Blue Book top 10 electric cars.

Best Used Electric Vehicles for every budget

Which electric car has the longest range?

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The Tesla Model S comes out on top for longest range electric car but the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron are not far behind.

Electric Cars with the Longest Ranges

Are electric cars worth it?

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Electric cars are proven to be more fuel efficient and better for the environment. Depending on your focus, there are a number of factors that make owning an electric car beneficial.

Do electric cars need servicing?

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As with any car, regular servicing will ensure that your vehicle performs well and that it is safe on the road.

How to maintain your Electric and Hybrid Car

Which electric car is cheapest?

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The Renault Twizy. But it has no passenger seat, doors or heater. Swansway has a great selection of alternatives - with doors - available with affordable finance options.

Do you have to pay road tax on electric cars?

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Road tax is based on vehicle emissions and year of registration. Pure electric vehicles are exempt from tax. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) pay reduced road tax.

Are electric cars cheaper to maintain?

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Fewer moving parts often equate to cheaper maintenance costs for electric cars because there is no need for components like oil, gaskets or spark plugs to be replaced.

How many miles does an electric car last?

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The key to electric car longevity is the battery. But these can be replaced. On average most manufacturers guarantee between 100,000 and 150,000 miles’ worth of battery life.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

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How long it takes to charge an electric car depends on the car, whether you want a full battery or nor, and the type of charging point you plug into. The range of time taken can be from under an hour to eight hours to charge an electric vehicle fully. 

Charging an Electric Car

Are electric car charging points free?

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Some public charging points, such as those at supermarkets, are free to use. Rapid charging points found at motorway service stations usually require a fee. Some companies offer a monthly subscription service that enables you to access some charging points without any additional fees charged.

Are electric cars reliable?

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Electric cars actually have fewer moving parts in the engine. Because of this they are considered a reliable option.

What electric cars are available on the Motability Scheme?

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We have Motability offers on a range of electric cars, including the Honda e and PEUGEOT e-2008.

What is regenerative braking?

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Regenerative braking captures energy that would otherwise be lost through braking and uses the motor (that continues to spin as the car slows down) as a generator to create electricity which recharges the battery. Hybrids and plug-ins tend to use regenerative braking too.