THE ban on new petrol, diesel and even hybrid cars is to be accelerated by five years, to cut emissions, says Boris Johnson.

With motorists pushed into driving greener vehicles sooner, and the sale of new combustion-engine cars and vans to end in 2035, what are the practicalities of using electric cars?

 Paris Hilton posing in front of her customised $165,000 BMW i8 Roadster


Paris Hilton posing in front of her customised $165,000 BMW i8 RoadsterCredit:

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

There are three main charging speeds: slow, fast and rapid.

If using a 7kW unit – for example installed as a home charging station – this takes about three to five hours to recharge an electric vehicle, according to the RAC.

But for those in a hurry, a 22kW point will be faster, typically charging a car in one-to-two-hours, says the motoring organisation.

A much slower 3kW wallbox will “give a full charge in six to eight hours”, says What Car.

And if you’re in a real rush, rapid chargers (43-120kW) will see you moving after 20-40 minutes.

How long is takes to charge an electric car depends on the type of charging point, which is defined by the power (kW) and speed at which they charge.

In 2019, Shell launched the UK’s first high-powered 150kW EV charger on a forecourt, at Battersea Service Station in London.

It said the charger “can deliver power up to three times faster, depending on the electric vehicle model”.

 Nissan created an electric ice cream van, complete with a fridge, freezer, solar panels and soft-serve machine


Nissan created an electric ice cream van, complete with a fridge, freezer, solar panels and soft-serve machineCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

Where are the electric car charging stations in the UK?

The UK government is planning to bring forward the date of its proposed ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2035 – and for the ban to now include hybrid vehicles, both conventional and plug-in hybrids.

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But, Zap Map warns, infrastructure to keep pace with the accelerated ban is a “key issue”.

“Some areas of the UK are underserved in terms of charge points – both private and public,” it adds.

Zap-Map is a useful app that shows you the location of charging points across the UK, and the type of charger available.

EVs currently account for around 3-4 per cent of the UK new car market, it says.

Although the charging infrastructure is expanding, there will be greater load on the grid than initially expected.

There are more than 7,000 locations with a public charging point installed, providing more than 20,000 connectors.

Many electric cars also have sat nav that recognises these locations and can direct you to those within range

Businesses can provide charging points, so check with your office.

And why not consider getting a home charger installed so you can plug it in overnight?

Petrol stations also have charging points.

 Above: Zap Map provides an online tool and app to locate charging stations


Above: Zap Map provides an online tool and app to locate charging stationsCredit: Zap Map/Google

How much do electric cars cost to charge?

Running an electric car is cheaper than a petrol or diesel thanks to the cheap cost of charging up.

The cost depends on the type of vehicle you’re charging, what its battery capacity is, and where you’re topping it up – at home, work or via a public provider.

You’ll pay more at a public operator for a fast charger, for example, while slow 3kW chargers are the cheapest to use.

But it’s not simply a case of plugging in anywhere – you’ll need accounts with various operators like Chargemaster, Source London and Pod Point and Ecotricity to make sure you can access different points.

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Some of these come with a nominal yearly or monthly subscription fee and then a fixed usage rate depending on how long you charge for while others offer pay-as-you-go.

Most use an app to help you keep track of costs.

According to Pod Point, for a typical electric car with a 60kW battery, and up to 200 mile range:

  • Charging at home costs about £8.40 for a full charge
  • Work points should be free
  • Public location charging at supermarkets or car parks are often free for the duration of your visit
  • Rapid charging points, for example at motorway service stations, can cost about £6.50 for a half-hour charge

Pod Point recommends you save money at home by using tariffs like ‘Economy 7’ overnight – this would make it cost as little as 2p per mile to drive the Nissan LEAF.

 The cost of charging an electric car at work can vary between organisations


The cost of charging an electric car at work can vary between organisationsCredit: Alamy Live News

Are electric cars cheaper to run than diesel or petrol cars?

Electric vehicles “are likely to cost you less over the course of ownership.

“Electricity costs much less than petrol or diesel, and electric cars require less maintenance than an internal combustion engine,” points out EDF.

It helps too that some councils offer discounted parking for EVs, and road toll charges are lower.

Are electric cars cheaper to buy and insure?

Most electric cars carry a price premium over their traditional rivals – an e-Golf is more expensive than a diesel Golf for example.

And Tesla cars continue to be out of the reach of many.

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However, prices for mainstream motors are getting closer to petrol and diesels.

The bad news is that government grants to help buy EVs could end in the next two months, says The Times.

The paper reports that the £3,500 subsidy scheme for buyers of plug-in cars “expires at the end of March, and motor industry leaders fear that it will be ditched”.

But, some car makers are still offering scrappage trade-in incentives to “encourage owners of older vehicles to trade them in for newer, less polluting models,” reports What Car.

You can also claw back some costs by getting a £500 grant to install an EV home charging point.

When it comes to insurance, covering an electric car can be more expensive than insuring a car with a petrol or diesel engine, but this situation is changing, say experts.

What Car explains that “as electric cars become more commonplace and there is more data for the cost of repairs, so more insurers have entered the market and so costs have come down”.


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