Helpful ideas to keep you motoring

Keeping you on the road

Would you switch to an electric motor?

Electric cars used to be almost science fiction but today they are a part of life. However, not too many of us have taken the plunge and own an electric car. What would it cost you to make the electric switch and would it suit your driving? If you’re a dedicated petrol head, the answers may surprise you…

Electric cars – a growing trend

As of October 2014 there were over 13,000 electric vehicles on UK roads with 20 different models to choose from. And that number looks set to increase rapidly as the first wave of electric fleet cars come on to the market as nearly new, cutting the price for ordinary drivers.

What’s more, while electric cars are generally more expensive than their petrol counterparts, they are coming down in price all the time. For example, the hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander has broken new ground as the first vehicle not to have a premium on the price of the electric version, and the all-electric Renault Zoe now starts at an affordable £14,000.

A comprehensive car charging network

With a limited range of just 100 miles, one of the biggest concerns of drivers looking at electric cars is charging accessibility. Yet the UK electric charging network is surprisingly mature, with a charging point for every two electric cars on the road. As’s charging map shows, there are almost 3,000 charging locations across the UK, including 700 rapid charge stations that will charge your car to 80% in just half an hour.

However, there are seven different types of connectors so it is important to check the connections available at your chosen charge point to ensure that they are compatible. The Zap-Map will tell you what is available, including:

Charging your car

Slow overnight charging can be as easy as plugging into the mains, although you should always get an electrician in to check your circuits can take the punishment of regular overnight charging.

There are government grants to help you get set up, and some manufacturers will get you set up for free as part of the package when you buy your car. If you don’t have off road parking or a garage, you can even apply for a government grant to install a public charging point near your home. At public charging points, you will usually find either fast charging, which takes around three to four hours, or rapid charge, which takes as little as half an hour – ideal when you are doing your shopping or stopping for a bite to eat. Don’t use these too often though, as these rapid charges reduce the life of your battery.

So are electric cars the future?

Until the range of electric cars is extended, the answer is probably no. While most commutes are under 10 miles, your other mileage still racks up quickly with school runs and shopping trips, as your all too regular visits to the petrol station show. A hundred miles is nothing for the average family, which makes charging a far too regular chore.

That said, with petrol prices rising, and fossil fuels a limited resource, we may not have the luxury of choice for too much longer.

Please note that the vehicles mentioned in this article may not be covered under your Octagon policy. Please refer to your Policy Documents or contact Octagon on 0344 561 4615 for more information.

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