What are electric vehicles?
Electric vehicles, or EVs, are cars or vans where the petrol or diesel engine is replaced or supplemented by battery powered electric motors. There are four main types of EV:
Full EV (BEV) – A vehicle solely powered by batteries, which needs to be plugged in to be charged, e.g. Nissan Leaf, Renault Kangoo Z.E.
Plug in range extended EV (E-REV) – A vehicle powered by batteries, but with a small petrol/diesel generator fitted, that can help extend the range of the vehicle by topping up the batteries while driving e.g. Vauxhall Ampera.
Plug in hybrid (PHEV) – A vehicle which can be powered both by electric and a conventional diesel/petrol. It can both be plugged in and fuelled conventionally. The vehicle is driven by either or both engines to generate maximum efficiency, e.g. Toyota Prius Plug-in.
Conventional hybrid – In a sense, the opposite of the range extended EV, these vehicles have a conventional petrol/diesel engine and supporting electric motor e.g. Peugeot 3008 Hybrid.
For more information, please try our guide to electric vehicles.
Whilst they generally cost more to buy than a conventional vehicle, drivers benefit from a government grant of up to £4,500 per car from March 2016 and lower running costs. Fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are also exempt from the London congestion charge and become particularly cost effective for higher mileage drivers where their daily distance travelled is within the vehicles range or where charging is available at work. The range of modern electric vehicles has been increasing over recent years and the latest consumer models, such as the Renault Zoe, have a range of 250 miles on a full charge.
EVs are usually extremely quiet to drive and, thanks to producing no exhaust emission, do not contribute to local pollution levels. They cannot however be considered emission free, since generating electricity in the UK produces greenhouse gases which translate into CO2 emissions of on average 70g/km for fully electric cars.
Charge times vary from model to model but there are three options for charging electric cars either in your home or at a public charging station.
- 'Slow' points use a standard 13 amp supply (8+ hours for full charge)
- 'Fast' points use single or three-phase 32 amps supply (4-6 hours)
- 'Rapid' points provide direct current supply (typically 80% charge in 40 minutes)
It costs from around £2.20 to fully charge an EV overnight from a standard socket in your home however it is also possible to have a dedicated fast charge point installed in your home for which government grants of £500 are available. The number of public charge points is growing daily and your employer may also provide a charging point at work. There several public charging networks operating in the Surrey area. To find your nearest charging point, try one of these sites:
1. Are there any charge points in Surrey?
The County Council has been involved in a partnership which has installed 5 rapid EV chargers around the County in the following locations :
- Vines BMW in Guildford (you don't have to drive a BMW to access it)
- Hollyhedge Carpark in Cobham
- Frimley Park Hospital in Frimley x 2
- Reigate Hill car park (Just off the M25)
Further information can be found at www.energisenetwork.co.uk
The County Council has installed a further three fast EV charge points on-street in Guildford on Dapdune Rd, Poltimore Rd and Walnut Tree Close. All these points can be accessed by joining the Charge Your Car network.
2. Can I get an EV charge point installed outside my house on the street?
Not at the moment. The County Council are currently investigating the feasibility of offering residents an on-street charging scheme, however there are a number of issues to be resolved including the need to find the 25% match funding for every site. For more information please visit our EV on-street charging policy webpage.