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Frequently asked questions

  • What is a battery electric vehicle?

    A battery electric vehicle or electric vehicle (BEV or EV) is a vehicle that does not have a internal combustion engine (ICE) but instead uses an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery. Once the energy in the battery has been used it can be recharged by plugging it in to a suitable power supply.

  • What is a plug-in hybrid?

    A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) has a petrol or diesel engine but it also has a rechargeable battery which can be used to power the vehicle. The battery is smaller than the one found in a battery electric vehicle so the number of miles travelled on the battery alone is much shorter. Once the battery is depleted the conventional engine takes over to power the vehicle until the battery can be recharged.

  • What is an extended range electric vehicle?

    An extended range electric vehicle has an electric motor which is always powered by a rechargeable battery. The battery can be charged by plugging it in to a suitable power supply, the same as a battery electric vehicle. This technology also has a small combustion engine which does not directly power the wheels, like a plug-in hybrid, but is there to charge the battery and performs as an on-board generator.

  • Is driving an electric vehicle different to driving an internal combustion engine vehicle?

    Electric vehicles are quiet at low speed, if you are used to an automatic gearbox then they are no different to drive. One noticeable difference is that the torque (driving force) is much higher than conventional vehicles at lower speed, which means electric vehicles have a fast acceleration from a standstill. Electric vehicle drivers also need to be aware that at low speeds pedestrians and cyclists will not hear them so drivers need to be a little more cautious in urban areas.

  • What are they like to drive?

    Electric vehicles are great to drive. They’re high performance vehicles which are powerful and smooth. Our experience has been that once a driver tries electric they don’t want to look back.

  • How far can a typical electric vehicle travel on a single charge?

    Most battery electric vehicles have a real-world range of around 80 - 180 miles although some premium models can achieve up to 300 miles or more depending on how they are used.

    Depending on the model and how they are used, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are able to drive 15 - 40 miles using the battery in electric only mode. However, when the internal combustion engine is used in conjunction with the battery electric mode, a plug-in hybrid vehicle has a combined range exceeding 300 miles before they need to be refuelled.

    Extended range electric vehicles offer between 30 - 100 miles on electric and then call on a small internal combustion engine to extend the range to 200 - 300 miles.

  • How can I get more range out of my electric vehicle?

    It is possible to maximise your electric vehicles range by preconditioning the vehicle before your journey whilst it is still plugged in being charged. Once underway turning off electrical appliances such as air conditioning, heating etc. can help extend the range. Moderating your driving style to be gentler on the throttle while accelerating, and coming off the throttle earlier to make the most of the car’s regenerative braking capabilities and topping up the battery’s charge also has a positive impact on range.

  • What if my electric vehicle runs out of electric?

    It’s second nature to pop into a petrol station when you’re running a bit low, so switching to electric driving does take a change of mindset. By making sure that drivers understand the need to plan journeys, that they plug-in at base when they can and that they are provided with knowledge of the extensive public network, they should never be in a position where they run out completely. However, if the worst happens, manufacturers offer roadside assistance to get you to the nearest charge point.

  • How long will the battery last?

    So far, we’ve seen little sign of any battery degradation in electric cars however it is still an area of concern for drivers. Nissan recently examined data from the last five years of LEAF models – equating to more than 35,000 cars. Their data showed that only three units in total (or 0.01% of cars sold) were no longer fit for purpose. There are also examples of taxi companies who have now passed the 100,000 mile mark in their Nissan LEAF with not a single bar of battery life lost.

    To further increase consumer confidence, manufacturers have warranted the batteries for as long as five years.

  • Isn’t generating electricity as bad for the environment?

    Electric vehicles emit zero tailpipe emissions, in comparison to the UK’s average car tailpipe emissions figure = 120gCO2/mile (SMMT 2016 data). Figures for UK grid average electricity generation used to power a representative 30 kW Nissan Leaf delivering 4.7miles/kWh, equate to 80gCO2/mile, giving a 33% reduction against the UK average. And that’s without considering the emissions produced by refining oil and transporting petrol and diesel to the pumps to power conventional vehicles.

  • Can I leave my vehicles on charge overnight?

    Yes. Once the car is fully charged, it will automatically stop taking further electricity meaning that you only pay for the electricity you use.

  • Can I charge two vehicles at the same time?

    Yes, it is possible to charge two vehicles on one double-headed charger. Depending on the power available to the charger, charge times may vary.

  • Does frequent rapid charging have an impact on battery life?

    The battery management system (BMS) in an electric vehicle controls the rate at which a battery is charged, which allows the electric vehicle manufacturer to offer high mileage guarantees on battery life. Rapid charging takes the battery to 80% of capacity to maintain this battery life. Research has now shown that frequent rapid charging has none of the negative effects on battery life feared at the early stages of electric vehicle roll out.

  • Why the variation in time it takes to charge a car?

    Charging speeds will depend on a number of things. It will depend firstly on the battery size in the car but also the size of the car’s on-board charger. For example, a Nissan Leaf with a 3.3kW on-board charger will only draw a maximum of 3.3kW, even if the fast charger is 7kW or 22kW. Timings also depend on the amount of power available to the charge point.

    On average a car will take anything from 2 – 4 hours however our vehicle and charging partners will help you understand charging times based on the specific vehicle models and charging infrastructure that you choose.

  • Can a charger be installed inside a garage / depot?

    Yes. A charger can be installed both inside and outside to suit your parking needs.

  • Is it possible to break down the electricity costs for just charging our cars?

    A dedicated meter could be installed at the charger to help you to do this.