Greener Travel

Electric Vehicles FAQ

Check this page for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about electric vehicles and low-carbon driving.

Whether you're interested in specific models or want to know more about charging times, you'll find the answers here:

How much do electric vehicles cost?

Electric vehicle pricing structures vary by manufacturer. Options include outright purchase, leasing and a combination of purchasing the vehicle and leasing the battery, which means less of an outlay upfront.

Current mainstream EV list prices range from £13,650 plus around £70 per month battery hire) to £30,000.

The higher outlay of an EV should be weighed against its very low running costs (i.e. large savings in fuel and servicing costs and other financial incentives such as zero vehicle tax). Most of Scotland’s public charge points will be free until at least 2014, so you could effectively run your EV for nothing till then.

What financial incentives are there to buy an electric vehicle?

  • Receive funding towards the purchase of your car or van with a Plug-in Car Grant
  • Grants are available for a dedicated home charge point
  • Access Scotland’s network of free public charge points
  • Spend less on servicing – EVs have fewer moving parts so require less attention
  • Enjoy very low running costs – as little as 2–3p per mile

What electric vehicles are currently available?

A wide range of electric vehicles are eligible for the Plug-in Car Grant – see the list of models here. Most major car manufacturers have electric and hybrid models available or in development, so more options will become available in this year and beyond.

What is the range of a typical electric vehicle?

All EVs eligible for a grant must be able to travel at least 70 miles between charges. Current Pure-EV models typically have a range of around 100 miles depending on use.

How environmentally friendly are electric vehicles?

EVs could realise a 40% reduction in CO2 compared to the average family- sized petrol car over a full life cycle (SMMT Electric Car Guide, 2011). As more electricity is generated from renewable sources, these savings will increase further.

What’s being done to decarbonise electricity production in Scotland?

Scotland’s target for renewable sources is ambitious: to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's gross annual electricity consumption by 2020. In this context, EVs would effectively be powered with no associated CO2 emissions.

Can I use a normal domestic socket to charge an electric vehicle?

You can use a 13 amp household socket to charge an electric vehicle – but it’s advisable to use a dedicated higher capacity circuit that’s first been checked by a qualified electrician. Extension cables shouldn’t be used since they’re prone to overheating.

Check with the vehicle manufacturer before purchase to confirm the charging requirements. A specialist home charge point will enable faster, safer charging. Grants are available to help cover the cost of installing a domestic charging point on your property. Find out how to apply for yours now.

Will a ChargePlace Scotland charge point work with my charging cable?

All ChargePlace Scotland public charge points are specified as Type 2 Mode 3. To use these points, you’ll need the appropriate cable. All prospective EV buyers should specify this to their dealership prior to purchase.

How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?

The cost of charging depends on: battery size, amount of charge left in the battery prior to charging and current electricity rates. As a guide, charging an electric car from flat to full will cost from as little as £1.03 to £4.01 (SMMT Electric Car Guide, 2011). An average cost of 2–3p/mile can be expected. You can use the majority of the ChargePlace Scotland public charge points to fully charge your electric vehicle for free.

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

It depends on the vehicle and the charge point used. Charging a Pure-EV from flat to full can take around 8–10 hours using a domestic socket, but just 20–30 minutes to charge to 80% using a rapid charger. While most currently available public points are 7kW (32 amp) units, which will fully charge the majority of EVs in around 6 hours (meaning it could fully charge during your working day), ChargePlace Scotland are currently working on installation of a network of rapid charging points at key transport junctions to reduce waiting time to only 25 minutes.

Plug-in Hybrid EVs (PHEVs) take around 90–120 minutes to charge using a standard electricity supply, and Extended Range EVs (E-REVs) approximately four hours. PHEVs and E-REVs take less time to charge because of their smaller batteries.

What happens if I have a problem when charging my vehicle at a public charge point?

A helpline is available should you encounter any difficulties. Simply call Charge Your Car Limited on 0191 265 0500 for assistance. The number will also be displayed at all charge points.

How do I charge my car using a public charge point?

All charge points will display instructions for their use. To access free charging, call Charge Your Car Limited on 0191 265 0500. From Spring 2013, smartphone and app technology will be used.