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Electric Options

Choosing which kind of electric vehicle is right for you is more complex than the simple choices of the past, when it was a petrol or diesel engine under the bonnet.

There is a wide range of options when it comes to electric power so here, we take a look at what is available and how they work.

Pure electric vehicles (BEVs)

Pure electric vehicles are totally powered by a battery which is charged from the mains. They can be charged from your mains at home, from a dedicated charger at home or office and there is the public charging network.

These are zero emission cars and offer the lowest running costs and maximum environmental benefits together with government grants for purchase.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)

These combine an electric motor with a conventional engine. Typically, the battery range is around 20-30 miles which is good for shorter runs but on a longer journey, or if the battery is depleted, the diesel or petrol engine is used.

These cars are a good stepping stone to a full electric car and can be charged in the same way as a pure electric car.

The emissions are lower than a petrol or diesel car and there is the safety net of a conventional engine for longer journeys.

Hybrid (HEVs)

These are powered by battery and either a petrol or diesel engine but cannot be plugged into the mains as they are self-charging.

The batteries are generally quite small so only expect a few miles in pure electric mode before the alternative engine takes over.

These cars will only be around until 2030 and there is a limited choice as the plug-in or pure electric models are becoming more widespread.

Mild hybrid (MHEV)

These are similar to a hybrid model because they have two power sources. However, in these models the small electric motor is used to help the petrol or diesel engine perform more economically rather than power the car, so they don't ever run with zero emissions.