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July 23

The EV Toolkit (Guide Before You Buy)

EV Toolkit - Guide before you buy header

The age of the electric vehicle is finally here! With more and more EVs on the road, it's a great time to think about making the switch. But do you know your BEV from your PHEV? How about your Type 1 from Type 2 AC connector? If you do, you might want to check out some of our more technical guides in the Community area - if not, we have got you covered.

Electric vehicles - and the EV vocabulary - can seem a bit technical at first glance. So with that in mind, we've assembled a one-stop guide to EV essentials.

Let's get plugged in...

Is an electric vehicle right for me?

visual of zapman in car

As long as you hold a full driver's licence, yes! 

The progression of electric vehicles has been one of lightning-fast momentum and success. Commonplace questions from 10 years ago like ‘Will my battery last if I drive to work?’ have since been replaced with ‘How many compatible chargers are near me?’. The answer is a lot. Need to see it to believe it? Take a look at the Electroverse map.

Due to the UK’s 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles and a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, the future is electric. Buying and leasing an EV is no longer exclusive to those living in cities or those with a short commute time; the EV experience has revolutionised to suit all. 

With access to over 500,000 charging points on Octopus Electroverse, owning an EV has never been simpler. Learn about Electroverse here.


Cosmic Fact!

For anyone with an automatic-only licence, don’t worry about limited choice. As EVs are built without a gearbox, you’ll be able to drive any EV model that you want.

Want to learn more about single-gear drive? Check out our blog: How do EVs work?

What are the benefits of owning an electric vehicle?

To put it simply, many! From financial incentives to environmental impact, the benefits are totted up day by day. 

Government plug-in grants can knock off up to £1500 on eligible vehicles, while schemes like the Electric Vehicle Homecharge could save you up to £350 on installation costs of home charge points. Check the eligibility criteria here

Zero-emission vehicles are exempt from road tax (until 2025), and hybrid vehicles priced under £40,000 pay a reduced rate. 

And if you live or work in London, you will be happy to learn that the exemptions are plenty. The most noteworthy: no congestion charge for vehicles that emit less than 75g/km of CO2 (compared to £15 daily), eligibility for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (£80 - £160 penalty otherwise), and heavily subsidised parking in most boroughs. 

visual of zapman holding bag of money

To learn about additional benefits, read our blog: Why EVs are worth the switch or What are the advantages of electric cars?

Are electric vehicles better for the environment than diesel or petrol?

visual of earth looking happy

The best question of all. Yes, yes, yes. The planet is far happier plugged-in.

While manufacturing emissions move toward net zero, it is promising to see that this does not massively negate an electric vehicle's lifetime emission. A report published by BloombergNEF estimates around a 70% decrease in lifetime CO2 emissions for an EV produced in 2020 and used for 250,000 km (compared to the equivalent petrol/diesel car). To put that into a more ‘WOW, that's a crazy amount’ context, it's the equivalent of spending 236 hours in a plane or how much carbon it would take 20,507 trees to absorb in a year. 

We know. That is a crazy amount. 

But ‘What about the national grid?!’. It's a good question, and fortunately, there is a lot of work underway to relieve some of the pressure. Vehicle-to-grid charging is an excellent example where your vehicle could act as a giant battery to power your home. Essentially, your EV can be used as a battery pack, letting you sell stored battery charge back to the grid when energy demand is peaking. Pretty awesome, right? 

Learn more about vehicle-to-grid charging here.

How much does an electric vehicle cost to run?

Now, to get down to brass tacks. We're not going to show you an endless list of car model prices - that wouldn't be too helpful, would it? Instead, we're going to break down the average cost of running an electric vehicle. The really great news is that throughout the life of an EV, running costs will be less than that of a petrol or diesel vehicle. 

Much like topping up with fuel, charging rates can vary depending on the charging provider and the charging speed. However, this won't impact the rates you'll receive on Electroverse. We simply pass through the rate the network charges us; without any additional cost and with a discount where possible! 

In early 2022, the average charging cost for someone driving an MG ZS Electric (via Electroverse and home charging) was £22.64 per month. For someone driving an MG ZS, the average fuel cost goes up to £103 per month. That could be an extra £964 a year to spend on fun things like books, games, the cinema, and even premium cat toys. The opportunities are endless. 

Learn more about Electroverse charging rates and tariffs from within the app.

Learn more about home charging rates and tariffs here.

Until 2025, road tax for EVs priced under £40,000 costs a whopping £0 per year (compared to the £141 UK average), and servicing an EV is also cheaper due to fewer parts - in other words, there is less to check and less to wear out. 

All in all, good news, right?

To learn more, check out our article: What are the advantages of electric cars?

What’s the average mileage of an electric vehicle?

visual of sunny and winter zapman standing side by side

An excellent question, and to answer, we'll need to keep the seasons in mind. Oh yes, summer and winter temperatures matter. This is for the simple fact that colder months affect battery performance, meaning slightly less mileage. 

In the UK, there's a wide range of EV mileage on offer. The Tesla Model S Long Range peaks between 370 miles (summer) and 275 miles (winter), while the Mazda MX-30 dips between 105 miles (summer) and 90 miles (winter). But with the Tesla Model S estimated at £83,980 and the average UK journey (in 2020) totalling 19 miles, there's a lot of scope from which to choose your EV. 

On average, electric cars in the UK - excluding Tesla - have a range of 174 miles (200 miles in summer, 148 miles in winter). If we include Tesla models the average range increases to 193 miles (222 miles in summer, 164 miles in winter). 174 miles is the equivalent of driving from Brighton to Norwich or from Liverpool to Newcastle upon Tyne. That's a lot of driving. 

Want to see which EVs are available via Octopus Electric Vehicles? Check out the complete list here.

Where can I charge my electric vehicle?

At home, on the street, on the go. Pretty much anywhere! 

To find your nearest public charger check out the Electroverse map. The map will show you chargers that work with - and without - the Electrocard. Sign up for the magic card here!

How much does it cost to install an electric charger at home?

Having an electric charger installed at home can be a great addition to your EV experience. You'll be able to plug in at times that work for you (be it 2 am or 2 pm), ensuring your car is always juiced up and ready to drive. Best of all, smart charge points mean you can charge when electricity is cheapest and greenest.

Depending on the type of home charger you're having installed, prices start from £549.

Octopus Electric Vehicles offer free charger and installation with both their salary sacrifice package and their ultimate EV package.

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

How long is a piece of string? While we'd love to give you a clear-cut answer, we would need to know which electric vehicle model you own, your state of charge, how much charge you'd like to have, and which type of charger you'd use. Not so simple, eh?

Most drivers wouldn't want their electric vehicle to get down to zero before topping up, but let's assume that you need a full charge on a Nissan Leaf (40 kWh battery). If you were using a 7 kW charging point (typical for most home and workplace chargers) a full charge would take around 6 hours. However, if you use a 43 - 50 kW rapid charger, it could take as little as an hour. 

As mentioned, most EV drivers top up as they go (similar to topping up at a fuel station). The average driver using Electroverse topped up 18 kWh in about 40 minutes per charge. To put that into real-life context, an 18 kWh charge in a Nissan Leaf would mean you could drive around 54 miles before needing to charge again. That would get you from Ramsgate to Hastings, with extra charge to spare. Might be time to start planning that seaside jolly after all.

What affects the performance of an EV battery?

We've already mentioned cold temperatures, but what else could lead to less charge?

How fast you drive. Heavy acceleration and high speeds deplete battery charge faster (as it would use more fuel). So unless you’re driving in the F1 Grand Prix, the smoother you drive, the further you'll go. 

Functions inside the car can also impact performance. While radio, lights and windscreen wipers have little-to-no effect on battery performance, air-conditioning and heating can. So if you like your car to resemble Furnace Creek or the depths of Siberia, we recommend getting the temperature just right while connected to a charger.

Weight. Now, we're not here to judge - most of us are still carrying Christmas kilos from 4 years ago - but the heavier your car, the more energy it needs to move. Thankfully, unless your payload is uncommonly heavy, you shouldn't notice too much change in your battery charge.

Battery age. It's true, like most rechargeable batteries, performance does diminish after time, but please don't compare an EV battery to the likes of a mobile phone. EV batteries are hardy and car manufacturers are willing to guarantee it, typically for around eight years or 100,000 miles. And to further put your mind at ease, studies have shown that as tech progresses, more and more EVs outlast their 8-year guarantee. We’ll raise a glass to that! 

Do you have an EV life hack for preserving battery? Want to share? Submit your hack to the 'EV Life Hack' page here.

I'm not the most tech-savvy person - how will Electroverse help me?

We're glad you asked. Learning new tech can be challenging, and until recently, EV drivers were forced to carry multiple cards and install multiple apps to access different charging point operators (e.g. IONITY, Osprey, ESB Energy). This meant that every EV driver was carrying around 4 - 5 charging cards at one time. Nightmare, right?

Enter Electroverse.

We’re building the largest and most accessible charging network: hundreds of thousands of chargers, an all-powerful Electrocard card to access them, and one single bill. You don't even need to be an Octopus Energy customer to use it.

Our app simplifies the process even further. Once downloaded, you'll be able to access your charging history, manage your Electrocard card, and discover compatible chargers near you. Magic, right? You can download it for free on the Play Store and App Store whenever you're ready - until then, you can continue to manage your card and search the map from your web browser. 

And if you’re ever having trouble with an Electrocard or the app, just reach out to us at, we’d love to hear from you!

visual of zapman sharing EJ card

Feeling enlightened, or do you think something was missing? Let us know by sharing your feedback.

Interested in learning more? Head over to our Electroverse Community area for more electrifying content.