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18 May 2020
Jamie Gibbs Alice Campion

How can I make an EV affordable?

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plugging in an EV

Electric vehicles have a big price tag attached to them, but there are a few different ways you can make them more affordable.

One of the main debates around electric vehicles (EVs) is the initial cost.

Most are in excess of £17,000, without the battery. With that included, you’re looking at a similar price to a deposit on a house.

But it’s a worthwhile investment. After all, the car ban is looming ever closer and low emission zones are popping up in cities across the UK.

It’s clear that the pressure is on to reduce our carbon emissions, starting with our driving habits.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the cost of EVs and some tips on making them more affordable.

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Will the government give me money towards an EV?

Yes, the government offers a grant towards electric vehicles. The maximum is £3,000.

Usually this is factored into the price displayed on the dealer’s website. Always check the small print though.

Read more: Why an electric car could be right for you

Can I buy a used electric car?

Yes, but again this depends on your budget. Even used EVs can fetch at least £6,000. This is because the only thing that really depreciates is the battery.

If you find a used model that you like, check the original charging range. If it’s lower than specified at the dealers, you might have to get a new battery.

Although most dealerships are currently shut, some specialise in used EVs like Drive Green.

Some vehicle manufacturers also offer “Approved used” electric vehicles too. You can usually find these on the main menu on the manufacturer’s website.

Read more: Paying to pollute: new Low Emission Zones for 2020

Is the battery included?

This depends on your dealer; some include the battery with the price, others don’t.

This is because there are a couple of different ways you can pay for it, either through leasing or buying the battery outright.

Whether you buy or lease depends on your budget. But buying a battery can cost around £5,000 - depending on the type of battery.

Leasing one can make the overall price much more appealing, as it’s only a monthly payment.

Read more: The real cost of EV ownership

What is battery leasing?

This is an ongoing payment for your car’s battery. But unlike a phone or a car on finance, you won’t own the battery after you stop paying the lease.

The useful thing about leasing is that if the battery begins to depreciate, the leasing company will send you a new one.

To give a rough idea of cost, here are some battery leasing costs for some popular EV’s:

Renault Zoe 22 kW*

Miles per year <4500  <6000   <7500  <9000 <10500  <12000  <13500  <15000 
Cost per month  £49  £59  £69  £79  £89  £99  £109  £119

Renault Zoe 40 kW*

Miles per year <4500   <6000 <7500  <9000   <10500 <unlimited 
Cost per month  £59  £69  £79  £89  £99  £110

Nissan leaf flex 24 kW*

Miles per year  <7500 <9000   <10500 <12000 
Cost per month  £70  £77  £85  £93

 (*kW is a unit of electric power. This figure relates to how many units of electric power the battery stores. The higher the kW, the higher the range.)

EVs for under 20K

There’s no doubt about it - EVs are a big investment. Here are some of the cheapest models if you’re looking to invest:

SEAT Mii Electric

The SEAT Mii Electric retails at £19,800. This is with the government grant included.

It’s a four door, with a good range of 160 miles per charge.

It’s also got heated seats, cruise control and rear parking sensors. 

Read the full vehicle specification online

Skoda CITIGOe iV

One of the cheaper on the list, the CITIGOe retails at £17,455.

At full charge it has a 125-mile range. You can also set the car’s temperature before you set foot in it via an app. 

Read the full vehicle specification online

Renault Twizy

The cheapest and smallest in the list, but a great choice for a first EV. Prices start from £10,690.

It’s a two-seater and has a modest range of 62 miles at full charge. 

Read the full vehicle specification online

smart EQ fortwo coupé

Designed for city life, The smart EQ fortwo coupé retails at £17,350 with a 60-mile range.

Smart is also offering a free BP chargemaster wall-box worth £499.

If you don’t want that, they’re offering free signup to a public charging network group called Polar Plus. This is worth £149. 

Read the full vehicle specification online

smart EQ forfour

For £435 more you could get a four-door smart EQ for £17,785. Again, with a 60-mile range.

The offers for the smart fortwo couple apply to this model too. 

Read the full vehicle specification online

Scrappage schemes

Scrappage schemes are useful if you’re looking to trade in your old vehicle and get something new.

The dealer will usually scrap your old car and then put some money towards one of the cars included in the deal. Depending on the dealer, this can be up to £4,000.

Some of the deals are specifically tailored to vehicles with low emissions. Which is a good option if an EV isn’t right for you at the moment.

Here are some of the best schemes for EVs and less-polluting vehicles:

Hyundai

Hyundai is offering up to 3k off their hybrid IONIQ. This brings the price down to around £20,000. You could also make some decent savings on their low emissions range too. 

More details on the Hyundai scrappage scheme

Kia

Kia is offering £2,500 off some of their low emissions vehicles. They’ve also included their Niro PHEV and Niro self-charging hybrid in the scheme. 

More details on the Kia scrappage scheme

Mazda

Mazda is running a scheme exclusively for low emissions vehicles.

You can trade your car in and get up to £4,000 off certain models with emissions below 161 g/km. 

More details on the Mazda scrappage scheme

MG

MG is offering up to £2,000 off their petrol and diesel models.

They’re also offering £3,500 off their MG ZS EV which will bring it down to around 22K. 

More details on the MG scrappage scheme

Renault

If you’re after a popular Renault ZOE, this scrappage scheme could work for you.

The scheme offers up to £3,000 off some of their new models too. 

More details on the Renault scrappage scheme

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