Thinking about switching to an Electric car? If you’re new to the world of electric and hybrid cars, our simple guide below will help to answer all of your questions.
How does an EV work?
Energy is stored in a large battery, which drives a powerful electric motor. To charge it, simply plug it into a home charge point, or a public charger when you’re out and about, and the car will take care of the rest. The car then drives on battery power alone, there is no need to add petrol or diesel. It can even add charge to the battery while you are driving by recovering energy that would normally be lost – when braking for example.
What are the benefits of going electric?
There are many substantial benefits to owning a battery-electric car. Here are just few reasons to Stop Wondering. Start Driving.
Cheap to run
Being kind to the environment is also good for your wallet – electricity is much cheaper than petrol or diesel, so your journey should cost less than a third of what it would in a combustion-engined car.
There are no exhaust emissions from the tailpipe of an electric vehicle – in fact, it doesn’t even have a tailpipe – this is particularly helpful for improving air quality in urban areas.
Charge at home
Another major perk is home charging. Imagine waking up every day with a ‘full tank’. You can get a £500 OLEV grant to help you pay for the home charger, too.
A relaxing drive
Of course, electric cars are incredibly quiet inside, making for a relaxing atmosphere. Driving is easy, too, because electric motors produce maximum torque at all revs, so acceleration is instant.
What's it like to drive an EV?
Rather fun, actually! Electric cars are incredibly responsive because unlike combustion engines, electric motors produce maximum torque at any rpm. So you can enjoy fast, instant acceleration at any speed without worrying about gear changes – all that torque means electric cars only need one forward gear! The All-New e-Niro can surge from 0-62mph in just 7.8 seconds.
Handling can be impressive, too. Because the batteries are in the floor, electric cars have a low centre of gravity, which helps minimise body roll while making the car feel planted, providing a fun, dynamic drive. The All-New e-Niro even has a sport mode!
If efficiency is your main concern, there’s an eco mode, too. The All-New Kia e-Niro offers a driving range of 282 miles (WLTP combined cycle) on a full charge – that’s London to Newcastle! For some everyday context, the average UK commute is just 10 miles – so the average person could do more than two weeks of commuting without needing to charge once.
Most charging with an electric car is done at home. But If you want to top up on the go, there are more than 7,000 public charging locations in the UK, and most of them have multiple connectors. Plug an All-New e-Niro into a 100kW fast charger and you’ll have 80% charge in just 54 minutes – that’s enough to travel 225 miles!
How does a self-charging hybrid car work?
In terms of how you use it, a self-charging hybrid car works just like a conventional car – there is no need to plug in – simply fill up with petrol at the pumps, and off you go!
So what does hybrid mean? It’s pretty simple, along with a petrol or diesel engine, hybrid cars also have an electric motor that is powered by a small battery. The aim of the electric motor is to assist the engine and occasionally drive very short distances on battery power – as opposed to driving long distances on battery power alone as a plug-in hybrid or a battery-electric vehicle would.
The battery is charged by recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted – when slowing down for example. The battery then feeds this energy to the electric motor to help with acceleration or to drive the car at low speeds. This means lower emissions, better fuel economy and more money to spend on the things you enjoy. Great!
What are the benefits of a self-charging car?
Because the electric motor can assist with acceleration, there is less strain on the engine. This results in lower emissions. The electric motor can also take over at low speeds – in stop-start traffic in town centres for example. That means the engine doesn’t have to be running for as long, which results in cleaner air for everybody.
Reduced running cost
Using less fuel is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for your finances! Improved fuel economy means less money spent on fuel, and less time wasted at the pumps. The lower emissions also mean a reduced VED rate and lower BIK tax.
You don't need to make any changes
If you aren’t quite ready to switch to a plug-in vehicle, or don’t have the option of a home charge point, hybrid cars might be the solution you’re looking for. A hybrid car doesn’t require you to do anything different than you would do in a conventional car. The car’s clever electronics take care of how the energy is recovered and used.
How does a plug-in hybrid work?
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) works in a similar way to a self-charging hybrid– there is a petrol engine that works with an electric motor and a battery. In a plug-in hybrid, the battery is much larger than in a self-charging hybrid. This means the car is able to travel around 30 miles on battery power alone – more than enough for the UK average daily commute – but it can also call on the petrol engine for longer trips.
Like a self-charging hybrid, the battery can be charged a little while driving, but for the full benefit, you will need to plug in. Charging a PHEV should take less than three hours. Put this all together and you can enjoy miles of low-cost, all-electric driving while still having a petrol engine for those rare long distance trips. Perfect.
What are the benefits of a PHEV?
If you aren’t quite ready to go fully electric, a plug-in hybrid is the perfect compromise. You get around 30-miles of electric driving, which should be more than enough for most journeys, but you always have the petrol engine to fall back on if you’re planning a longer trip.
Zero emissions driving
Most of your driving will be on battery power, which is particularly helpful for improving air quality in urban areas.
Cheap to run
Electricity is much cheaper than petrol or diesel, so when running on battery power, your journey may cost less than a third of what it would in a combustion-engined car.
Charge at home
Home charging is a major perk. Imagine waking up every day knowing you have 30 miles of electric range. Even if you’re low on fuel, you know you’ll have plenty of range to get to a filling station. You can get a £500 OLEV grant to help you pay for the home charger, too.
How does a mild-hybrid car work?
A mild hybrid car works in a very similar way to a self-charging hybrid car, but it has a smaller battery. Because the battery is smaller, a mild hybrid cannot drive on battery power alone – unlike a self-charging hybrid in which the motor can take over at low speed or when cruising.
Instead, the petrol or diesel engine does the majority of the work and the electric motor is there to provide assistance. This means the engine doesn’t have to work as hard, which means lower emissions and increased fuel economy. The battery is charged by recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted – when slowing down for example. There is no need to plug-in a mild hybrid, simply keep it topped up with petrol or diesel as you would with a conventional car.
What are the benefits of a Mild Hybrid?
✓ Lower emissions
✓ Reduced running costs
✓ Relaxing drive
✓ You don't have to make any changes
✓ Lower initial cost
What's it like to drive a Mild Hybrid?
Almost exactly the same as a conventional car. You will notice that the engine stops more often thanks to the assistance from the electric motor. Acceleration is more immediate thanks to the added torque from the electric motor, and fuel economy is improved.
If you like the idea of a mild-hybrid car, keep a lookout for our look for Kia’s EcoDynamics+ models. Our EcoDynamics+ badge is given to cars that are fitted with Kia’s advanced mild-hybrid technology. EcoDynamics+ is currently available on Sportage, and will be added to other models in the near future.
Hybrid and electric cars are most commonly charged at home, but can be charged at work, or at thousands of public chargers, such as at supermarkets or service stations. You can find out a bit more about how each works below:
How to charge an electric car at home
In the UK, the vast majority of electric car charging is done at home. This is usually the most convenient and cost-effective way to charge. Get home, plug in, wake up with a full charge. Brilliant! To charge from home, it is best to get a home charge point installed. A dedicated home EV charger will charge your car much faster than using a three-pin plug – up to three times quicker! It’s safer, too. A home chargepoint from Pod Point – Kia’s charging partner – is weatherproof, so you can of course charge when it’s raining. The charge point is also smart, and WiFi enabled which means it can keep track of how much you have spent on charging – so you can invoice for travel costs for example. It can even save you money by charging when electricity is cheapest.
How much does it cost to install a home charge point?
Good news, there is a £500 OLEV government grant available to help with the cost of a home charge point. This means for a standard installation, our partner, Pod Point, can supply and install a home charge point from as little as £279 for a 3.6kW charger, or, for Kia customers, a special price of £300 (£359 RRP) for a 7kW charger after the grant.
In future, you will need a smart meter to take advantage of the OLEV grant. (The benefit of the government’s £500 grant towards a home charge point, you need to own your home, have off-street parking and not have claimed the grant for the vehicle.
How do I charge my car in public?
There are more than 20,000 public connectors in the UK at more than 7,000 locations, and that number is rising every day. Many public chargers can be found in town centres, supermarkets and motorway services. If you want to see where your nearest public charger is, whether it is in use and whether it is working, you can check with services such as the Zap Map app. Public chargers can vary in speed from 3kW to rapid 50kW DC chargers. Rapid DC uses different connectors – CCS (Combined Charging System) or CHAdeMO. The Kia e-Niro for example a CCS connector for rapid DC charging. It will be made clear which speeds and connectors your car is compatible with.
How do I pay for public charging?
Some public chargers are free, but many will require payment. Different chargers can be run by different networks, and each will have slightly different ways of charging. But generally, it’s as simple as having an app on your phone and selecting the charger you wish to use. Take Pod Point for example, you simply plug in your car, select the charge point you are using in the app, and you’re good to go. It’s that easy. For networks that require payment, this is usually also done through the app. Some networks used to require you to use an RFID card that would be sent in the post, but for the most part these have been replaced by smartphone apps.
How much does an EV cost?
That depends on which one you buy, but whichever you choose, there are some government incentives that make it cheaper to buy a new EV. There is a government grant for electric cars called the Plug-in Car Grant – this reduces the price of a battery electric vehicle by £3,500. So a new Kia e-Niro – WhatCar?’s Car of the Year 2019 – costs just £32,995 after the £3,500 grant. There is also a £500 homecharge grant to help you with the cost of a home charger.
Cost of electric: cheaper than you think
Here are just few reasons to Stop Wondering. Start Driving.
✓ Lower maintenance costs
✓ Tax benefits: there is none!
✓ Big savings on BiK for company car drivers
✓ Electricity is cheaper than petrol or diesel
Explore the Kia's range of Eco Cars at Snows today! Available across Basingstoke, Guildford and Newbury: