Do electric cars have gears? Are EVs automatic?

No, electric cars do not have gears. Electric cars are automatics.

Do electric cars pay road tax?

No, if you have a fully electric car it has zero emissions, and as such is free from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), otherwise known as road tax.

Do electric cars pay congestion charges?

No, you won’t need to pay any congestion charges. Electric cars are zero emission vehicles and therefore they are exempt from the Congestion Charge in London, or any UK city with congestion charges.

If you buy an electric car to drive in and around central London you should register it with Transport for London (TfL).

Do electric cars need an MOT?

Yes. Electric cars that are more than three years old require an annual MOT by law. However, they do not require an emissions test as part of the MOT.

Electric cars have fewer moving parts in the drive train and therefore maintenance for expensive components (e.g. the battery, electric motors etc.) is rarely needed.

Do electric cars need servicing?

Yes, electric cars need to be serviced, just like any other type of car.

The service will include tyre wear and tyre pressure check, windscreen wiper replacement, brake fluid change, and MOT (but again with few parts, repairs are unlikely or minimal compared to a standard petrol or diesel car).

Do electric cars have engines?

No, fully electric vehicles (EVs) have an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. And while standard petrol cars have hundreds of moving parts, electric cars only have one moving piece, which is the rotor.

Do electric cars use oil?

Electric cars do not require oil, which is necessary to lubricate many moving parts in a combustion engine, as EVs use an electric motor instead.

Oil changes, spark plug changes, belt changes etc. are not needed. However, in some cases oil may be used within the reduction gearbox, which may need to be changed over the car’s lifespan.

Do electric cars have gearboxes?

Electric vehicles do not have gearboxes i.e. they do not feature a multi-speed gearbox like conventional petrol or diesel vehicles do. Instead, they have just one gear. This is because they can achieve much higher revs than a standard fuel engine.

Do electric cars have exhausts?

No. Electric cars do not produce any emissions and therefore do not need an exhaust or tail pipe.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Based on driving an average of 9,000 miles a year, an electric car will cost about £500 – £800 a year to charge (£500 for a small electric car, such as a Renault Zoe, up to £800 for a large electric SUV like the Audi e-tron).

Or a simpler way of putting it is that it costs about 6p per mile to charge an electric car from home. Or slightly more for larger cars. Though some owners have been able to get much lower cost per mile (e.g. 2,3, or 4p). However, with electricity costs going up, this may vary or increase.

Zap Map says that the average price to charge your electric car is currently 5p per mile, which compares to between 15-25p per mile for petrol or diesel cars.

If you use a public charger, it’s more expensive than home charging and costs about 8p per mile (or more for larger cars). Read ‘A guide to public charging stations’ here.

Or, if you have solar panels at home (once installation is paid for) then it can cost you nothing to charge your electric car! Read ‘Solar panel installation companies UK 2022’ here, for who to ask for a quote.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from 0-100%, with a 7kW home charging point.

However, most drivers top up the charge rather than waiting for their battery fully, and it’s also best for battery conditioning to usually keep your range between 20% and 80%. Therefore, charging times are usually much faster. For example, with many electric cars you can add up to 100 miles of range in around 30/35 minutes with a 50kW rapid charger.

Charging at home using an installed wallbox (the best way to do it, see our best wallbox guides here) gives you anywhere between 10 and 30 miles of extra range per hour, but this varies depending on your local grid, type of wallbox, and the model of electric car you have (e.g. Tesla Model 3 can charge at home at up to 40 miles per hour).

Charging using public points can vary. The most common outputs for public charging are 7kW, which will give you 20 to 30 miles of range per hour. However, some points are 22kW, which means a quicker charge. While fast charging points are around 50kW, which can charge most EVs from 0-80% in less than an hour. There are even some 150kW public charge points, which means that if your electric car take handle rapid charging (newer models generally) that its much quicker.

How long do electric car batteries last?

Under current estimates, most electric car batteries will last somewhere between 10-20 years before they need to be replaced, and more likely to be towards 20 years.

Most new electric car batteries enjoy warranties of around eight years and 100,000 miles. And battery degradation in electric car batteries is very slow, and results in very minimal degradation over a lifecycle (unlike mobile phones, for example).

Read our guide on electric car batteries here.

How much are electric cars? How much do electric cars cost?

The average cost to buy an electric car in the UK is around £44,000, but prices range vastly from £17,350 up to £138,826, or even more.

Premium cars such as Tesla, Porsche, Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes can set you back £80k on average (though this also varies widely depending on brand and model) while a non-premium EV costs £27k on average.

The top 10 cheapest electric cars in the UK cost between £17k and £27k, you can find out more in our guide on the cheapest electric cars available in the UK.

Why are electric cars so expensive?

Electric cars are more expensive than conventional petrol or diesel cars because EV batteries are very expensive to make (using more expensive materials etc.).

However, the cost of electric cars have come down, and this is only expected to continue as the industry shifts to electric, and manufacturing becomes cheaper for electric cars and EV batteries.

When thinking about the higher cost of electric cars, you should also factor in the lower running costs, which mean that total cost of ownership (over 7 years say) can mean it works out cheaper to buy an electric car, if you do more than around 12,000 miles a year.

Electric cars cost several thousand pounds more than their petrol or diesel counterparts, but this premium can pay for itself over years of ownership due to the cheaper running costs, even with with increases in electricity costs, as petrol costs have risen too, and therefore the ratio of running costs savings remains roughly the same for electric cars. And of course you also don’t spend on road tax, and will pay less on servicing.

The higher cost of an electric car also becomes more negligible if you choose to buy on lease, meaning a higher monthly payment, offset by a much lower monthly running cost payment. Again, in most cases the potential for saving is about whether you drive more than 12,000 miles or so a year. If you drive a lot each week, then the running cost savings really do add up.

Read our guide ‘How to budget for an electric car’, or look through your buying options here to find out what’s right for you…

Are there enough public chargers for all the EV drivers who will need them?

Right now, the UK has over 30,000 public charging points, with two thirds of these as fast or rapid chargers. (You can find public charge points using our UK charge point map here.) This current amount is not enough for the nation to switch to electric cars, however the situation is improving on a daily basis, and will vastly improve in the next year or so, as more rapid and ultra-rapid chargers will be fitted, which will make the possibility of congestion at charge points much less likely.

The UK government announced recently to expand the number of public charge points ten-fold by 2030, to 300,000.

It’s also worth remembering that most people charge almost exclusively at home, in order to do local commutes (up to 250 miles say) and only need to use charge points for long distance trips where a stop-off for a top-up is required, which takes half an hour or less with faster public chargers available.

What if I am not able to charge at home?

65% of households in the UK are able to offer off-street parking and thus home charging. However, that leaves eight million households without access to home charging, including many people living in flats.

Local authorities are beginning to install more on-street chargers to cater to people who cannot charge at home. While it’s also possible to charge at work, in the local area, at a local supermarket, or a local charging hub.

Landlords of flats and apartments are now being offered grants to install chargers too. So while it’s best to have off-street parking and home charging, if you’re thinking of switching to electric driving, more is being done for those who can’t charge at home, and there are options available and improving every day.

How can I find the electric car that’s right for me?

Use our EV finder tool here, that will ask about your budget, needs, and preferences, and you’ll get a bespoke list of options that are right for you. On each model page you can find out more about each electric or hybrid car, and get a quote or book a test drive with us.