Choosing an EV – when you have your own driveway or garage

Choosing an EV – when you have your own driveway or garage

Posted by

The EV Team

January 2021

Those drivers with their own driveway, or a garage attached to their property, are in pole position to begin the successful transition to an EV (electric vehicle).

One of the barriers to EV adoption is seen as the charging infrastructure. However, with a drive or garage, you can install a charge point at your home and enjoy convenient and inexpensive electricity to charge your vehicle.

But first, let’s start with the choice of vehicle.

There’s a great range of electric vehicles on the market today, running the whole range from city superminis such as the Renault Zoe and Vauxhall e-Corsa to large seven-seaters, such as the spectacular gull-winged Tesla Model Y.

So in that range is a car for you. But ask yourself some honest questions: what do you need the car for? What sort of journeys do you make on a regular basis? And what sort of range will you need?

Most electric cars today have a range in excess of 200 miles, which is enough for the majority of journeys. The latest report from the Department for Transport National Travel Survey suggests the downward trend in mileage seen since 2002 is continuing to fall with the average mileage being 7400 miles per annum – or 142 miles a week, which is well within the range of most EVs.

So think carefully about what you need in terms of range. Simply because a particular car has an outstanding range, it doesn’t mean you need it when your average journey never exceeds 100 miles.

But what if I need to go further than my range?

If you need to make journeys that exceed your range, a little more planning is required than a petrol or diesel car.

You can use a website and app (available on Android and iOS) called Zap-Map that lists all the electric chargers in the UK. It also has a route planner so that you can plot your drive via any required charging point.

If your vehicle has a manufacturer-fit satellite navigation system that may also be linked to electric charging points that will plot you a course based on distance and battery charge and any requirement to top up the battery.

Have you considered the company car tax benefits of an EV?

If you decided a while back that the company car was not for you because of the levels of benefit in kind company car taxation that you were paying, then it could be a good opportunity to reassess that position.

The same is true for small business owners in limited companies. Prior to the April 2020 taxation changes, it was more tax-efficient to run a car personally and claim tax free Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAPs) for business use. Now it is more tax advantageous to drive a company car, as long as it’s an EV.

For example, in the current 2 tax year, up to and including the tax year 2024/25, electric vehicles are taxed at 2% of their P11D – in other words, there is no company car tax to pay.

For example, over a three-year lease period starting now, a 20% tax paying driver of a Renault Zoe would expect to pay £196 over three years; a 40% tax paying driver choosing a Volvo XC40 would expect to pay £637 over the same period.

Electric cars are cheaper to run

Even if you are not a company car driver who will benefit from the advantageous benefit in kind taxation, you will still benefit from greatly reduced running costs.

Electric cars cost about 4p per mile to charge and run whereas a petrol car costs around 10p per mile for fuel – over just 5000 miles that’s a difference of £300.

But there are additional savings, such as the cost of maintenance. Because electric cars have far fewer parts there is less to go wrong or require attention during the car’s lifecycle with you. For example, regenerative braking helps slow an electric car down without you requiring to use the brakes, so there is less wear on the brake pads.

However, you will need to budget for replacement tyres since the greater amount of immediate torque going through the driven wheels when you accelerate will create wear as will the additional weight of the battery. Nevertheless, Go Ultra Low says the maintenance costs are 70% lower than a combustion engine car.

Applying for the Plug-in Car Grant for your lease car

The Plug-in Car Grant is worth up to £1,500 or 35% of the purchase price and is applicable for zero-emission cars up to a value of £32,000 RRP.

The good news here is that you do not need to do this. The grant reduction is included in the monthly rental of your electric car lease and is actually applied for by the supplying dealer.

You can see the vehicles that qualify for the grant at the government’s Low-emission vehicles eligible for a plug-in grant page.

Ordering a home smart charger

Although it is possible to charge an electric vehicle via a three-pin plug socket this is not advisable except in an emergency. The 13amp domestic electricity circuit is not designed to take such loads continuously. It would also take a long time to charge your car’s battery.

It is much more practical to use a home charger that can affix to the outside of a wall within range of your vehicle.

What sort of home charger should I use?

There are three levels of domestic home charger:

  • 3.5kW – this will charge 1.6x faster than a domestic three-pin socket
  • 7kW – this will charge 3x faster than a domestic three-pin socket
  • 20kW – this will charge 10x faster than a domestic three-pin socket

It is simple to work out how quickly your battery will be charged simply by dividing the capacity of your battery by the output of your charger. So if, for example, we take the BMW i3 with its 42kWh battery it would take the following length of time to be fully charged.

Time to charge a BMW i3 42kWh on standard chargers
  • 3.5kW – 11-12 hours
  • 7kW – 6 hours
  • 20kW – 2 hours +

Our recommendation would be a 7kW charger. This provides a quick enough charge to be able to have your car fully ready the next morning after an overnight charge, or you can quickly top up the battery if you need to.

While a 20kW charger sounds ideal, your house will require a three-phase electricity supply to enable this type of charger to be installed.

Tethered or untethered?

When you are considering a home charger you will normally be offered the choice of a tethered charger or an untethered charger.

A tethered charge is where a cable is attached to the charger and you simply unwind it from its housing and plug it into your car’s connector.

An untethered charger comes with no cable – you just use the charging cable supplied with your car and plug it into the connector in your car and the charging connector.

Grants for a home charger

The OZEV (Office for Zero Emission Vehicle) previously offered a grant for installing a homecharger. However the grant is now only available to people living in rented properties or flats with dedicated off-street parking. In addition, applications have been suspended for the Energy Saving Trust grant that was previously available to Scottish residents.

Changing electricity supplier

It is worth considering whether it is worth changing your electricity supply to make the most of off-peak energy tariffs depending on when you charge your car.

Home chargers usually come with an app that allows you to schedule your charging requirements to make the most of cheaper energy tariffs. You may also like to consider the benefits of switching to a green electricity supplier to match your new green car.

The website Go Ultra Low has useful information on energy suppliers that would suit electric vehicle usage, particularly those with off-peak tariffs.

Finally, enjoy the EV driving experience!

Once your new electric lease car has been delivered you can start to enjoy the benefits of driving electric.

The key things you will notice is the silence at take-off and then just a slight humming sound when you are on the road. They are also very quick when you want them to be, while you will also notice the additional braking assistance provided by regenerative braking.

But otherwise, it is like driving a normal car – except with zero emissions.

Case studies

Jill Sidebottom
  • Drives a Tesla Model 3
  • Has own driveway
  • Enjoying the tax savings

Jill Sidebottom is the commercial manager at Fleet Alliance. Jill works remotely from the Glasgow headquarters of Fleet Alliance and is based in her Manchester home.

Jill decided that she would swap from diesel SUV to electric saloon and is now in a leased Tesla Model 3 Long Range as her company car. So what made her make the change?

“I began my journey into an EV by looking at a like-for-like replacement for my then-current car, which was a Range Rover Evoque diesel. But the benefit in kind tax looked extortionate.

“So the tax was a key factor behind alternative options and since Fleet Alliance was moving towards an electric-only fleet policy, I decided to take a look at the Tesla as a prominent alternative.

“My job involves a lot of driving to meet suppliers around the country, although Milton Keynes seems to be the hot spot, and part of the Tesla’s appeal was access to the Tesla rapid charger network.”

This range anxiety was a key issue for Jill. She explains why: “Previously I could jump in my car whether for work or pleasure – often I’d go to visit friends in Wales, for example – and range didn’t come into it. I’d simply find a fuel station and fill up when needed. But how would this work with an electric car? It was a real concern of mine.

“But I have to say the reality is pretty much the same, except you do have to plan things a little more. So I have pre-planned routes around when I will need to recharge the battery.

“And there have been the odd issues. I visited one dealership that said it had a charger only to arrive and find it wasn’t working. And then one day when I went to visit my mother I hadn’t given the Tesla enough charge and when I got to my mum’s I couldn’t charge it there. But having said that, I’ve never been stranded without charge. At least not yet!”

Jill says she has been absolutely delighted by the car – “it’s a great car to drive and it saves me money,” explains Jill. “I can’t see where the downsides are!”

Pod Point home charger installed

As Jill has a driveway, she had an untethered 7kWh charger fixed to the side of the house.

“I had been talking to Pod Point because we are starting to use them as suppliers for Fleet Alliance customers, so it was good to test the process. And I have to say it was a really easy and simple process to have it installed.”

At the time, Jill benefited from a grant of £500 which was available at the time towards the installation cost of the home charger, paying, in the end, £395 for the charge point.

“The way I looked at it,” Jill says, “was that it represented a month’s tax saving. When my benefit in kind tax dropped to 0% in April I was then in a positive position.”

The Tesla is now charged up overnight but Jill says there has been no significant increase in her electricity bills.

“When I was travelling for fuel I looked at forecourts for the best fuel prices; now it’s the same with electricity for the tariffs. I have since changed my provider to Bulb which has lowered my utility costs.”

Jill says that anyone considering an EV should not hold back.

“You have to be slightly careful in car parks because people cannot hear you coming, but otherwise I’d say go for it 100%. The range of electric vehicles is growing all the time, and the overall savings are considerable – plus of course, you are helping save the planet. I would not move away from an electric car now.”

David Blackmore
  • Drives a Jaguar I-PACE
  • Has own driveway
  • Costs £75 per month to charge at home

David is the commercial director at Fleet Alliance and has always enjoyed performance cars. He decided on a Jaguar I-PACE to replace his former company car, an Audi S7.

“When it came to replacing my Audi I was convinced I had to go electric,” explains David. “It was already clear that electric was the future and I very much wanted to be part of that future. But at the time – late 2018 – the choice of executive electric cars was fairly limited, so the I-PACE worked for me in terms of specification and lease rental at the time.”

Like most prospective EV drivers, David was primarily concerned with real-world range. “Could the Jaguar achieve the stated 292 mileage range when I’m driving the car day-to-day? The answer is that the range is quite a bit lower, particularly in the winter months, although I do live south-west of Glasgow near the coast and given the often poor weather conditions, this clearly has an impact on battery range.

“But other than a few issues with over-the-air software updates the car has really been a great choice.”

Home charger installation

As Pod Point are the home charger partners with Fleet Alliance, David had a 7kw tethered home charger installed to the side of the house. “It was so easy and simple to install,” says David, “and I benefited from both the UK government grant of what was then £500 towards the installation cost and the top up from Scotland’s Energy Saving Trust so the cost to me was zero”.

David says that with his current mileage he charges the car about eight times per month. “I’ve costed this out at approximately £75.00 per month but then given the fuel bill on my Audi S7 was £80 per week in petrol that’s a significant saving!” He adds: “Plus of course I’m now paying 0% benefit in kind company car tax.

“The car is a brilliant drive with the acceleration being the best feature for me! It’s well-equipped, comfortable to drive and handles really well.”

What advice would David give to someone considering an EV?

If anyone is slightly apprehensive about the move to an EV, David says that he would encourage them to talk to a current EV driver.

“It’s important to get real-world information from a driver so you can make an informed choice on whether an EV would be right for you. I would also highly recommend taking a test drive to experience how well they drive – because they drive really, really well!”


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